I didn’t see any others in the bill other than the four below that relate to forest and federal lands activities. However, that’s not to say that this list is complete.
Sec 40806 CE for Fuel Breaks
Establishes a Categorical Exclusion for fuel breaks up to 1,000 feet in width, not more than 3,000 acres of treatments and located primarily in — the wildland-urban interface or a public drinking water source area; if located outside the wildland-urban interface or a public drinking water source area, an area within Condition Class 2 or 3 in Fire Regime Group I, II, or III that contains very high wildfire hazard potential; or an insect or disease area designated by the Secretary concerned as of the date of enactment of this Act.
As we’ve discussed, as a veteran of developing administrative Categorical Exclusions (and seeing them lost in court cases for reasons that seemed a bit random to me), I’m a fan of legislated ones. I didn’t find the definition of “public drinking water source area” in the bill, but perhaps it’s an EPA term?
Sec 40807 Emergency Actions
Establishes a new statutory tool (separate from and in addition to the agency’s administrative emergency situation determination process) that authorizes the Secretary to determine that an emergency situation exists on National Forest System lands and allows treatment to be carried out pursuant to the Secretary’s emergency situation determination. If the Secretary determines that an authorized emergency action requires an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement the Secretary shall study, develop, and describe only—(A) the proposed agency action; and (B) the alternative of no action. Requires the opportunity for public comment during the preparation of both environmental assessments and environmental impact statements for authorized emergency actions. Actions under this section are not subject to the objection process and a court shall not enjoin an authorized emergency action under this section if the court determines that the plaintiff is unable to demonstrate that the claim of the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits.
I haven’t really understood the ins and outs of ESD’s in the first place, so I don’t know how this “new statutory tool” would relate, perhaps someone else can explain? It seems like it would streamline any required EA or EIS by requiring only one alternative and no objections. I also don’t know about the test for enjoining and how different that is from current practice.
Here are some more infrastructure-y tweaks:
Transportation Projects. Sec 11311. Efficient Implementation of NEPA for Federal Land Management Projects.
Allows Federal land management agencies to adopt environmental review documents prepared by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) for certain transportation projects if the document addresses all areas of analysis required by the land management agency. Allows Federal land management agencies to use environmental documents previously prepared by FHA for projects addressing the same or substantially the same action. Under certain circumstances, allows Federal land management agencies to use Categorical Exclusions established by the FHA.
Critical Minerals .
Requires BLM and Forest Service to complete the Federal permitting and review processes with maximum efficiency and effectiveness while supporting economic growth. Requires DOI and USDA to provide a report that identifies measures that would increase the timeliness of permitting activities for the exploration of domestic critical minerals (among other requirements). After submission of the report, DOI and USDA are required to develop and publish a performance metric for evaluating progress to expedite permitting for exploration.
(this doesn’t itself tweak NEPA practices, but could potentially lead to some recommended tweaks in the future; similar to the Wildfire Commission.)