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NEPA Phase 2 Final Rule: Significant Changes Expanding Agency Review; Impact on Federal Project Planning and Permitting

EA and EIS Streamlining, Categorical Exclusions, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Focus, Procedural Changes, and More

A live 90-minute CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, June 28, 2024

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will guide practitioners through the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Phase 2 final rule. The panel will discuss the final rule's requirements and examine how the rule streamlines the NEPA review process in some ways while expanding the scope of the process in others. The panel will discuss the final rule's impact on federal project planning and permitting and offer best practices for compliance.


The CEQ recently issued the NEPA Phase 2 final rule, effective July 1, 2024, that completes a multiphase expansive rulemaking process initiated by CEQ in 2021. While the CEQ's stated goal is to improve implementation of the NEPA and enhance the efficiency of the federal project and permitting environmental review process, certain requirements increase its scope and complexity.

Areas where the rule may improve process efficiency include: (1) a one-year time limit to complete environmental assessments (EA) and two years to complete environmental impact statements (EIS); (2) a 75-page limit for EAs and a 150-page limit for EISs; and (3) the narrowing of the scope of review with a revised definition of "major federal action" to allow more projects to be excluded from NEPA review, and the allowance of agencies to develop categorical exclusions of activities not requiring an EIS.

However, other of the final rule's requirements increase the scope of the review process. For example, the new rule requires agencies to analyze the impact of a proposed action on climate change and on "communities with environmental justice concerns" and, where appropriate, to incorporate mitigation measures to reduce such impact. The final rule also revises the definition of "human environment" to remove focus on the United States, implying a global focus of review; and requires agencies to consider potential global, national, regional, or local contexts when determining whether a proposed action's effects are significant.

Listen as our expert panel guides practitioners through the NEPA Phase 2 final rule's expansive requirements. The panel will discuss how the final rule differs from the proposed rule and the impact certain expansive requirements will have on federal project planning and permitting. The panel will also offer best practices for compliance.



  1. Introduction: history of the final rule
  2. NEPA Phase 2 final rule
    1. Streamlining the NEPA review process
      1. EAs and EISs
      2. Categorical exclusions
      3. Other changes
    2. Making the NEPA review process more complex
      1. Climate change
      2. Environmental justice
      3. Significant effects: global, national, regional, and local context
      4. Increased public engagement
      5. Other changes
    3. Procedural changes
  3. Compliance timeline
  4. Best practices for compliance


The panel will review these and other important considerations:

  • How does the final rule differ from the proposed rule?
  • How does the final rule streamline the NEPA review process?
  • How does the final rule increase the scope and complexity of NEPA reviews?
  • What are best practices for navigating the final rule's requirements?


Whitfield, Peter
Peter Whitfield

Sidley Austin

Mr. Whitfield assists his clients with environmental issues prior to, during, and after project development and...  |  Read More

Additional faculty
to be announced.
Attend on July 23

Early Discount (through 06/28/24)

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Early Discount (through 06/28/24)

You may pre-order a recording to listen at your convenience. Recordings are available 48 hours after the webinar. Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

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