Committee Spotlights CEQ's Failures and Systemic Overreach
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 14, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing examining systemic government overreach at the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) issued the following statement in response:
“Like most other federal agencies, Joe Biden has weaponized the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to implement his radical agenda by deliberately increasing the regulatory burden on American businesses and attacking domestic energy development. Today’s hearing examined the systemic overreach at CEQ and exposed their willful disregard for Congress and all Americans."
CEQ was established as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), one of several environmental laws passed in the early 1970s. Housed within the Executive Office of the President, CEQ has historically been tasked with overseeing agency compliance with NEPA.
President Joe Biden has transformed the once small CEQ staff from their core mission of ensuring compliance with NEPA into a legion of frontline warriors for implementing radical social change and eco-justice initiatives across the federal government.
From 2019 to 2023, CEQ's baseline budget grew from $2.89 million to approximately $4.67 million, an increase of roughly 63 percent in four years. CEQ received an unprecedented $62.5 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to support its radical agenda. Furthermore, CEQ staff has almost doubled in recent years, with environmentalist activists claiming that CEQ should continue to increase staff.
The recent NEPA Phase Two Proposed Rulemaking issued by CEQ ignores significant NEPA reforms of the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act—specifically those aimed at reducing the scope of NEPA reviews—and undercuts the White House's agreement with Congress, which included the first permitting reforms enacted in nearly 40 years that would simplify and streamline the federal permitting process.
Under Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), the House Committee on Natural Resources has worked tirelessly to hold CEQ accountable for its overreach. To date, the committee has held two hearings explicitly focused on the overreach at CEQ, sent questions for the record that went unanswered by the agency for months and initiated multiple investigations into CEQ’s unprecedented expansion of power under the Biden administration. Today's hearing further holds CEQ and the Biden administration accountable for their grotesque administrative overreach and willful disregard for our nation's laws.
CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory was invited to testify but declined to appear or send a designee to testify on behalf of the agency. This is yet another moment in which Mallory, and CEQ as a whole, has ignored a co-equal branch of government.Learn more here.
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