CEQ Codifies Solar Permitting Reforms, Creating a Win-Win for Clean Energy & the Environment

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[Last week], the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released final rules making important amendments to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and implementing the 2023 Financial Responsibility Act.

Over the last three years the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) submitted numerous comments to CEQ on the reforms needed to improve the permitting process for renewable energy projects on public lands.

Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on the developments:

“We are pleased to see that the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implemented many of SEIA’s common-sense suggestions to both protect the environment and make it easier to build clean energy projects on public land.

“These rules implement both time and page limits for environmental reviews and authorize the agencies to take a more collaborative approach to the permitting process. CEQ also codified a long overdue Congressional directive to consider environmental justice during these reviews, helping to advance the solar and storage industry’s efforts to center equity and justice in energy policymaking decisions.

“The rules should also prevent lengthy reviews for lower impact infrastructure projects, freeing up valuable agency resources. This will make it faster to build a variety of projects on federal lands from solar and storage facilities to new carbon capture ventures.

“The solar and storage industry has already demonstrated that we can both balance conversation efforts and meet the administration’s goal to site 25 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy on public lands by 2025. We believe the new rules will allow us to permit the next 25 GW even faster without sacrificing our shared public lands, a win-win for both the solar and storage industry and the environment.”

Press release from the Solar Energy Industries Association®.

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