CEQ Calls on Public, Federal Community to Nominate Pilot Projects to Improve the Efficiency of NEPA Environmental Reviews
WASHINGTON – The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) today asked the public and Federal agencies to nominate projects that use innovative approaches to increase the efficiency of environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As part of CEQ's efforts to modernize and reinvigorate Federal agency implementation of NEPA and encourage innovation, public engagement, and transparency, CEQ will track and publicize the progress of the selected pilot projects to identify and promote more efficient ways to do effective environmental reviews that can be replicated across the Federal Government.
"To leverage the insight and ingenuity of people across America, we're inviting the public to nominate projects that exemplify the best in efficient and effective environmental reviews," said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. "For decades, NEPA has helped us protect the health of American communities and the natural resources that fuel our economy. This pilot program is the latest step to ensure we are continually striving to live up to NEPA's goals of transparent, effective government decision making that engages the public."
Enacted in 1970 with bipartisan support, NEPA harmonizes the country’s economic and environmental aspirations and emphasizes public involvement in government actions affecting the environment. Through President Obama's Open Government Directive, the Administration has created an unprecedented level of transparency, accountability, and public participation in government. Rooted in the spirit of open government, CEQ's NEPA pilot program engages the public to help make government more efficient and accountable. CEQ is announcing the pilot program during Sunshine Week, when people and organizations across the country reflect on the importance of openness in government.
CEQ is calling for nominations of pilot projects that propose replicable efficiency improvements to any aspect of the NEPA process, including:
- Simplifying data gathering, scoping, and public review and comment.
- Reducing paperwork and shortening timelines.
- Using information technology to improve efficiency.
- Improving public engagement.
Federal agencies and the public may nominate proposed projects, as well as projects that are being implemented or already have been implemented. CEQ will track project implementation and advocate that agencies incorporate these best practices and lessons learned into new or revised NEPA procedures.
CEQ will accept nominations at http://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/nepa/nepa-pilot-project until June 15, 2011, and will post all of the nominations online. In consultation with a panel of agency NEPA experts, CEQ will select up to five pilot projects based on their potential to reduce the costs and time needed to complete the NEPA process; ensure rigorous environmental protection; improve the quality and transparency of agency decision-making; and yield replicable best practices or procedural innovations that can be applied to other projects.
For more information about NEPA and the NEPA pilot project program, please visit obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/ceq.