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Westerman Inquires Into CEQ's Rulemaking Overreach

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 31, 2022 -

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) sent a letter to Council for Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory, inquiring into the council's potential overreach of congressional authority and lack of proper rulemaking. In part, Westerman wrote:

"The Council for Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) proposals impact the decision-making processes at agencies within the House Committee on Natural Resources’ jurisdiction. As a result, significant concerns are raised about CEQ’s decisions leading agencies to exceed their congressional authority.

"To begin with, CEQ opted to return to a cumbersome National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulatory regime, rather than embrace the streamlining efforts implemented by the Trump administration. Committee Republicans adamantly opposed CEQ’s reversal of the 2020 NEPA updates. The Biden administration’s insistence on returning to a status quo that supports weaponization of the NEPA process and associated litigation will continue to delay critical energy projects, at a time when our nation should be pursuing energy independence...

"Additionally, CEQ continues to pursue the implementation of the vaguely defined 'America the Beautiful Challenge.' This rebranding of the '30 by 30' initiative – the Biden administration’s goal of preserving 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030 – raises serious questions about CEQ’s authority to fund this program. Despite inquiries from Committee Republicans, CEQ has failed to provide the statutory authorizations relied upon to facilitate the America the Beautiful Challenge’s initial $440 million expenditure, the sources of federal funds that will support the new initiative, nor how those funds will be expended."

Read the full letter here.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-225-2761

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