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From left Marcella Burke (Partner), Nikesh Jindal (Partner), and Cason Hewgley IV (Associate), of King & Spalding LLP. (Courtesy Photos).

On July 16, President Donald Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) published the long-awaited final rule revising the implementing regulations for the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). 85 Fed. Reg. 43,304 (July 16, 2020). NEPA requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impact of major federal actions, which include permitting for energy projects on federal land. Pipeline projects, solar and wind farms, oil and gas development, and other infrastructure projects must go through the lengthy NEPA permitting process before construction can begin. This process takes 4.7 years on average and can exceed seven years in some cases, and critics say these lengthy delays unnecessarily stymie construction and development and diminish America’s ability to compete in the global energy market.

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