Tag Archive for 'Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)'

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*   Recall The February 11, 2019, Executive Order on “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence (AI).”  The EO directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create a plan for Federal engagement in the development of technical standards and related tools in support of “reliable, robust, and trustworthy systems that use AI technologies.” Last week the Department of Commerce published a notice requesting information to help NIST understand the “current state, plans, challenges, and opportunities” regarding the development and availability of AI technical standards and related tools, as well as priority areas for federal involvement in AI standards-related activities. NIST will consult with Federal agencies, the private sector, academia, non-governmental entities, and other stakeholders with interest in and expertise relating to AI. Comments due by May 31.
*  The Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued instructions to Federal agencies for meeting energy and environmental performance requirements “in a manner that increases efficiency, optimizes performance, eliminates unnecessary use of resources, and protects the environment.”  This is required under Executive Order 13834, ‘‘Efficient Federal Operations,’’ signed by President Trump on May 17, 2018. The purpose of the EO is to direct agencies on the management of Federal facilities, vehicles, and operations to achieve statutory requirements while prioritizing actions to reduce waste, cut costs, and enhance the resilience of Federal infrastructure and operations for the effective accomplishment of agency missions.   The Implementing Instructions are available at https://www.sustainability.gov/ resources.html.  About 23 agencies are listed as “Principal and Contributing Agencies.”
*   Here’s an optimistic study: The Federal Aviation Administration will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to assess the potential impacts of the “proposed LaGuardia Airport (LGA) Access Improvement Project and its enabling projects and connected actions (the proposed action).”  The project would provide for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) to construct an elevated automated people mover (APM) to provide direct access between LGA and two existing transit stations at Mets-Willets Point.  Right now, LGA is accessible only by road – really one big road, Grand Central Parkway. FAA writes that “passengers and employees face increasing and unreliable travel times and traffic congestion on off-Airport roadways.” The people-mover would provide air passengers and employees with a “time-certain option” for LGA access and permit the Port Authority to provide adequate employee parking for the geographically constrained airport.  You likely know this but some may find it surprising: FAA says there may be Native American tribes with a historical interest in the area.  Imagine trying to reshape those boundaries and spaces reflective of, what, maybe 1673…?  Comments due by June 17.
Tom Ewing

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Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*   The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced in June that it is considering updating certain regulations.  CEQ writes that it has issued numerous guidance documents during the past 40 years but it has substantively amended its regulations just once – in 1986 (uh, that’s only 32 years ago).  CEQ is looking for comments on twenty core questions dealing with process and programmatic scope; yes, there are sub-parts within some questions.  This starts an important dialogue, directly linked to President Trump’s efforts at regulatory streamlining.  Consider the first question: “Should CEQ’s NEPA regulations be revised to ensure that environmental reviews and authorization decisions involving multiple agencies are conducted in a manner that is concurrent, synchronized, timely, and efficient, and if so, how?”  The “how” is the hard part, right…?  If you have that figured out make sure you send in your comments by July 20 (don’t be surprised if that deadline is extended).

* The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC), chaired by the National Science Foundation, is seeking public comments on newly revised Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic.  This revised document updates a 1990 document, but with a slightly different name, Principles for the Conduct of Research in the Arctic. The revised draft provides guidelines for the “equitable conduct of research” and it is meant to better align research with U.S. Arctic policy.  The draft results from work by an IARPC “Principles Revision Working Group;” changes are based on a “comprehensive literature review and seeking and receiving diverse input from Alaska Natives, Federal and State and local agency representatives, and researchers.” The Working Group will issue a final version after reviewing public comments, which are due September 4.

*   Big Gubmint’s creeping back in…!  A check on Federal Register pages at the end of second quarter shows – an increase compared to a year ago.  Here are the numbers: Total FR pages at the end of June 2018 – 30829.  One year ago, the end of June 2017, total pages were 30719.  That’s 110 more pages of some great reading…!

Tom Ewing
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513-379-5526 voice/text
www.regulatoryclarity.com