top of page

US to Speed Up Approvals for Green Infrastructure

The White House has unveiled new guidance on how federal agencies should evaluate greenhouse gas emissions from proposed infrastructure projects, including renewable energy systems.

The White House, Washington D.C.

The guidelines from the Council for Environmental Quality are intended to provide greater clarity on how climate pollution should factor into assessments carried out under the National Environmental Policy Act, one of the U.S.’s bedrock environmental laws. Enacted in 1970, the act requires federal agencies to consider major infrastructure projects’ impact to land, water, and air before approving them. In 2020, the Trump administration issued a rule that freed agencies from considering climate change in their impact assessments, but, thankfully, the Biden administration has already restored the climate requirements of the law.

For projects like highways, power plants, and transmission lines, the new guidelines say agencies should reduce greenhouse gas emissions “to the greatest extent possible.” However, for clean-energy infrastructure like offshore wind, the new guidelines advise they forgo detailed analysis of greenhouse gas emissions because any associated climate pollution is relatively minor and short-term. The aim is to make the permitting process faster for renewables compared to more polluting project proposals, which would warrant more in-depth emissions analyses.

The guidelines also encourage agencies to engage with communities that would be affected by proposed infrastructure projects and incorporate environmental justice considerations into their climate-related analyses.



bottom of page