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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