Draft National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 30097-30099 [2019-13576]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 123 / Wednesday, June 26, 2019 / Notices Accordingly, the Commission is revising the total burden hours related to Regulation 1.52 included in this collection. The Commission previously estimated the entire burden hours for DCMs as SROs associated with Regulation 1.52 as 50 hours per respondent. The revised scope of the third-party evaluation report should slightly reduce personnel hours needed to coordinate obtaining the report, although most of the burden hours included in this collection are associated with other aspects of the financial surveillance program requirements. Therefore, the Commission is revising the estimate of the burden hours associated with Regulation 1.52 to be 49 hours per respondent. Additionally, the Commission notes that the number of registered, active DCMs has decreased from 15 to 14. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. On April 3, 2019 the Commission published in the Federal Register notice of the proposed extension of this information collection and provided 60 days for public comment on the proposed extension, 84 FR 13008 (‘‘60-Day Notice’’). The Commission did not receive any relevant comments on the 60-Day Notice. Burden Statement: The Commission is revising its estimate of the burden for this collection.2 The respondent burden for this collection is estimated to be as follows: Respondents/Affected Entities: Designated Contract Markets and Selfregulatory Organizations. Estimated Number of Respondents: 14. Estimated Average Burden Hours per Respondent: 49. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 686. Frequency of Collection: Various. The amended regulations require no new startup or operations and maintenance costs. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES (Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) 2 There are three Information Collection’s (ICs) that fall within OMB Control No. 3038–0052. The changes in the final rules adopted herein only pertain to IC: Enhancing Protections Afforded Customers and Customer Funds Held by Futures Commission Merchants and Derivatives Clearing Organizations and relate only to amendments to Regulation 1.52, which has been reduced by 1 burden hour per respondent. Additionally, the number of respondents has decreased from 15 to 14. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:47 Jun 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 Dated: June 21, 2019. Christopher Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Commission. [FR Doc. 2019–13606 Filed 6–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6351–01–P COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY [Docket No. CEQ–2019–0002] RIN 0331–ZA03 Draft National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). ACTION: Draft guidance; request for comment. AGENCY: The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is publishing draft guidance on how National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and documentation should address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This Draft National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, if finalized, would replace the final guidance CEQ issued on August 1, 2016, titled ‘‘Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews,’’ which was withdrawn effective April 5, 2017 for further consideration pursuant to Executive Order 13783 of March 28, 2017, ‘‘Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.’’ DATES: Comments should be submitted on or before July 26, 2019. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number CEQ–2019–0002 through the Federal eRulemaking portal at https:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from https:// www.regulations.gov. CEQ may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (e.g., audio, video) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. Comments may also be submitted by mail. Send your comments to: Council SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 30097 on Environmental Quality, 730 Jackson Place, NW, Washington, DC 20503, Attn: Docket No. CEQ–2019–0002. The draft guidance is also available on the CEQ websites at https:// www.whitehouse.gov/ceq/initiatives/ and www.nepa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward A. Boling, Associate Director for the National Environmental Policy Act, Council on Environmental Quality, 730 Jackson Place, NW, Washington, DC 20503. Telephone: (202) 395–5750. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Draft National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions I. Introduction The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) provides this draft guidance memorandum 1 to assist Federal agencies in their consideration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 2 when evaluating proposed major Federal actions in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., and the CEQ Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA, 40 CFR parts 1500–1508 (‘‘CEQ Regulations’’). The purpose of this draft guidance is to facilitate compliance with NEPA by Federal agencies conducting reviews of proposed major Federal actions.3 II. Draft Guidance NEPA requires that Federal agencies study the environmental impacts of major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C). NEPA is a procedural statute that serves the twin purposes of ensuring that agencies consider the environmental consequences of their proposed actions and inform the public about their decision-making process. Agencies 1 This draft guidance is not a rule or regulation, and the recommendations it contains may not apply to a particular situation based upon the individual facts and circumstances. This guidance does not change or substitute for any statutes, regulations, or any other legally binding requirement and is not legally enforceable. CEQ’s regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA are available on www.nepa.gov. This guidance does not, and cannot, expand the range of Federal agency actions that are subject to NEPA. 2 For purposes of this draft guidance, CEQ defines GHGs as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). 3 This draft guidance is intended to replace CEQ’s August 2016 ‘‘Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews’’ (81 FR 51866, Aug. 5, 2016), which was withdrawn pursuant to Executive Order 13783 on April 5, 2017 (82 FR 16576). E:\FR\FM\26JNN1.SGM 26JNN1 30098 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 123 / Wednesday, June 26, 2019 / Notices should analyze reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences of major Federal actions, but should not consider those that are remote or speculative. 40 CFR 1508.8. A. Consideration of GHG Emissions in NEPA Analyses jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Under CEQ regulations and the ‘‘rule of reason’’ that bounds all NEPA analysis, impacts of a proposed action should be discussed in proportion to their significance, and there should only be brief discussion of issues that are not significant.4 As with all NEPA analyses, the rule of reason permits agencies to use their expertise and experience to decide how and to what degree to analyze particular effects. Agencies preparing NEPA analyses need not give greater consideration to potential effects from GHG emissions than to other potential effects on the human environment. A projection of a proposed action’s direct and reasonably foreseeable indirect GHG emissions may be used as a proxy for assessing potential climate effects. Direct effects are caused by the action and occur at the same time or place. 40 CFR 1508.8(a). Indirect effects are caused by the action and are later in time or farther removed in distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable. 40 CFR 1508.8(b). Following the rule of reason, agencies should assess effects when a sufficiently close causal relationship exists between the proposed action and the effect. A ‘‘but for’’ causal relationship is not sufficient. Agencies should attempt to quantify a proposed action’s projected direct and reasonably foreseeable indirect GHG emissions when the amount of those emissions is substantial enough to warrant quantification, and when it is practicable to quantify them using available data and GHG quantification tools.5 Agencies should consider whether quantifying a proposed action’s projected reasonably foreseeable GHG emissions would be practicable and whether quantification would be overly speculative. If an agency concludes that quantification would not be practicable 4 See 40 CFR 1500.1(b) (‘‘Most important, NEPA documents must concentrate on the issues that are truly significant to the action in question, rather than amassing needless detail.’’); 40 CFR 1502.2(b) (‘‘Impacts shall be discussed in proportion to their significance.’’); 40 CFR 1502.15 (‘‘Data and analyses in a statement shall be commensurate with the importance of the impact . . .’’); 40 CFR 1508.27 (defining ‘‘significantly’’). 5 For a listing of available GHG accounting methods and tools that agencies may consider using in their NEPA reviews see CEQ’s Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tools web page (https://ceq.doe.gov/ guidance/ghg-accounting-tools.html). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:47 Jun 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 or would be overly speculative, it should explain its decision. Where GHG inventory information is available, an agency may also reference local, regional, national, or sector-wide emission estimates to provide context for understanding the relative magnitude of a proposed action’s GHG emissions. This approach, together with a qualitative summary discussion of the effects of GHG emissions based on an appropriate literature review, allows an agency to present the environmental impacts of a proposed action in clear terms and with sufficient information to make a reasoned choice among the alternatives. Such a discussion satisfies NEPA’s requirement that agencies analyze the cumulative effects of a proposed action because the potential effects of GHG emissions are inherently a global cumulative effect. Therefore, a separate cumulative effects analysis is not required. When an agency determines that the tools, methods, or data inputs necessary to quantify a proposed action’s GHG emissions are not reasonably available, or it otherwise would not be practicable, the agency should include a qualitative analysis and explain its basis for determining that quantification is not warranted. Agencies are not required to quantify effects where information necessary for quantification is unavailable, not of high quality, or the complexity of identifying emissions would make quantification overly speculative. 40 CFR 1502.22. A qualitative analysis may rely on sectorspecific descriptions of the GHG emissions for the category of Federal action that is the subject of the NEPA analysis. Agencies need not undertake new research or analysis of potential climate effects and may rely on available information and relevant scientific literature. In their NEPA analyses, agencies should consider reasonable alternatives to the proposed action and discuss the short- and long-term effects and benefits of those alternatives. 40 CFR 1502.14 and 1508.9(b). NEPA does not require agencies to adopt mitigation measures. However, comparing alternatives based on potential effects due to GHG emissions, along with other potential effects and economic and technical considerations, can help agencies differentiate among alternatives. 40 CFR 1502.14 and 1502.16(e). Consideration of effects on the quality of the human environment due to GHG emissions does not require agencies to expand the range of Federal agency actions subject to NEPA or develop new NEPA implementing procedures. As required by CEQ regulations, agencies PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 shall conduct NEPA analyses based on current scientific information and methods to the extent reasonably available and practicable. 40 CFR 1500.1(b), 1502.22, and 1502.24. In preparing their NEPA analyses, agencies can incorporate by reference preexisting plans, inventories, reviews, assessments, and research whenever appropriate. Agencies may also use programmatic analyses, programmatic approaches, and tiering to address emission considerations (including GHG emissions) that are relevant to the stage of decisionmaking for the proposed action. B. Considerations Relating to the Affected Environment Analyses under NEPA should include a description of the affected environment to provide a basis for comparing the current and the reasonably foreseeable future state of the environment as affected by the proposed action and its reasonable alternatives. When relevant, agencies should consider whether the proposed action would be affected by foreseeable changes to the affected environment under a reasonable scenario. In accordance with NEPA’s rule of reason and standards for obtaining information regarding reasonably foreseeable effects on the human environment, agencies need not undertake new research or analysis of potential changes to the affected environment in the proposed action area and may summarize and incorporate by reference appropriate scientific literature. 40 CFR 1502.21 and 1502.24. C. Use of Cost-Benefit Analyses NEPA and CEQ’s implementing regulations do not require agencies to monetize costs and benefits of a proposed action. CEQ regulations provide that agencies need not weigh the merits and drawbacks of particular alternatives in a monetary cost-benefit analysis. 40 CFR 1502.23.6 For this reason, an agency need not weigh the effects of the various alternatives in NEPA in a monetary cost-benefit analysis using any monetized Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) estimates and related documents (collectively referred 6 Section 1502.23 of the CEQ regulations also provides that monetary cost-benefit analysis ‘‘should not be [used] when there are important qualitative considerations.’’ E:\FR\FM\26JNN1.SGM 26JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 123 / Wednesday, June 26, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES to as ‘‘SCC estimates’’),7 or other similar cost metrics.8 Further, the SCC estimates were developed for rulemaking purposes to assist agencies in evaluating the costs and benefits of regulatory actions, and were not intended for socio-economic analysis under NEPA or decisionmaking on individual actions, including project-level decisions. If an agency does consider costs and benefits that are relevant to the choice among environmentally different alternatives for a proposed action, such as in a rulemaking, the agency should incorporate by reference or append such analyses to the environmental impact statement as an aid in evaluating the environmental consequences. 40 CFR 1502.21 and 1502.23. When using a monetary cost-benefit analysis, just as with tools to quantify emissions, the agency should disclose the assumptions and levels of uncertainty associated with such analysis. Finally, CEQ’s regulations require consideration of ‘‘effects,’’ including ‘‘ecological . . ., aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social, or health, whether direct, indirect, or cumulative.’’ 40 CFR 1508.8(b). There may be some effects that are more capable of monetization or quantification, such as employment or other socio-economic impacts, and that the agency may determine are useful to include in its NEPA review. Monetization or quantification of some aspects of an agency’s analysis does not require that all effects, including potential effects of 7 In February of 2010, the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (IWG) published a ‘‘Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis—Under Executive Order 12866.’’ These documents were updated a number of times. See ‘‘Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis (May 2013);’’ ‘‘Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis (November 2013);’’ ‘‘Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis (July 2015);’’ ‘‘Addendum to the Technical Support Document for Social Cost of Carbon: Application of the Methodology to Estimate the Social Cost of Methane and the Social Cost of Nitrous Oxide (August 2016);’’ and ‘‘Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis (August 2016).’’ 8 Pursuant to Executive Order 13783 of March 28, 2017, titled ‘‘Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,’’ the IWG was disbanded, and the estimates were directed to be withdrawn as no longer representing government policy. 82 FR 16093, Mar. 31, 2017. Agencies were directed to ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that any such estimates are consistent with the guidance contained in the OMB Circular A–4 of September 17, 2003, which was issued following peer review and public comment and has been widely accepted as reflecting the best practices for conducting costbenefit analyses for rulemakings. Any such analysis should focus on the impacts that accrue to citizens and residents of the United States. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:47 Jun 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 GHG emissions, be monetized or quantified. Where an agency decides to quantify some effects but not others, the agency should explain the choices it has made in its analysis. III. OMB Review Consistent with OMB’s ‘‘Agency Good Guidance Practices’’ (72 FR 3432, Jan. 25, 2007), the draft guidance document was submitted to OMB for review. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4332, 4342, 4344 and 40 CFR parts 1500, 1501, 1502, 1503, 1505, 1506, 1507, and 1508) Mary B. Neumayr, Chairman. [FR Doc. 2019–13576 Filed 6–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3225–F9–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD–2019–OS–0018] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, DoD. ACTION: 30-Day information collection notice. AGENCY: The Department of Defense has submitted to OMB for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act. DATES: Consideration will be given to all comments received by July 26, 2019. ADDRESSES: Comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be emailed to Ms. Jasmeet Seehra, DoD Desk Officer, at oira_submission@ omb.eop.gov. Please identify the proposed information collection by DoD Desk Officer, Docket ID number, and title of the information collection. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Angela James, 571–372–7574, or whs.mc-alex.esd.mbx.dd-dodinformation-collections@mail.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Department of Defense Consent to Conduct Installation Records Checks (IRC); DD Form 3058; OMB Control Number 0704–XXXX. Type of Request: New collection. Number of Respondents: 14,000. Responses per Respondent: 1. Annual Responses: 14,000. Average Burden per Response: 10 minutes. Annual Burden Hours: 2,333. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 30099 Needs and Uses: The information collection requirement is necessary as part of a criminal history background investigation on individual working, volunteering or residing on military installations who come into regular, recurring contact with children under the age of 18 years. The query of records from the installation the Family Advocacy Central Registry and military law enforcement records and the Defense Central Index of Investigations (DCII) will assist the department in obtaining or maintaining an employment suitability or fitness determination for those individuals working with children on military installations. Programs impacted are referenced within the 34 U.S.C. 20351 (Crime Control Act of 1990) and include impacted individuals such as employees, DoD contractors, providers, adults residing in a family child care home, volunteers, and others with regular recurring contact with children. Affected Public: Individuals or households. Frequency: As required. Respondent’s Obligation: Voluntary. OMB Desk Officer: Ms. Jasmeet Seehra. You may also submit comments and recommendations, identified by Docket ID number and title, by the following method: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, Docket ID number, and title for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the internet at http:// www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information. DoD Clearance Officer: Ms. Angela James. Requests for copies of the information collection proposal should be sent to Ms. James at whs.mc-alex.esd.mbx.dddod-information-collections@mail.mil. Dated: June 21, 2019. Shelly E. Finke, Alternate OSD Federal Register, Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. [FR Doc. 2019–13628 Filed 6–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–P E:\FR\FM\26JNN1.SGM 26JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 123 (Wednesday, June 26, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30097-30099]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-13576]


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COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

[Docket No. CEQ-2019-0002]
RIN 0331-ZA03


Draft National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration 
of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

AGENCY: Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

ACTION: Draft guidance; request for comment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is publishing draft 
guidance on how National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and 
documentation should address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This Draft 
National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration of 
Greenhouse Gas Emissions, if finalized, would replace the final 
guidance CEQ issued on August 1, 2016, titled ``Final Guidance for 
Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas 
Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental 
Policy Act Reviews,'' which was withdrawn effective April 5, 2017 for 
further consideration pursuant to Executive Order 13783 of March 28, 
2017, ``Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.''

DATES: Comments should be submitted on or before July 26, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification 
(ID) number CEQ-2019-0002 through the Federal eRulemaking portal at 
https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for 
submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or 
removed from https://www.regulations.gov. CEQ may publish any comment 
received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any 
information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) 
or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. 
Multimedia submissions (e.g., audio, video) must be accompanied by a 
written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment 
and should include discussion of all points you wish to make.
    Comments may also be submitted by mail. Send your comments to: 
Council on Environmental Quality, 730 Jackson Place, NW, Washington, DC 
20503, Attn: Docket No. CEQ-2019-0002.
    The draft guidance is also available on the CEQ websites at https://www.whitehouse.gov/ceq/initiatives/ and www.nepa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward A. Boling, Associate Director 
for the National Environmental Policy Act, Council on Environmental 
Quality, 730 Jackson Place, NW, Washington, DC 20503. Telephone: (202) 
395-5750.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Draft National Environmental Policy Act Guidance on Consideration of 
Greenhouse Gas Emissions

I. Introduction

    The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) provides this draft 
guidance memorandum \1\ to assist Federal agencies in their 
consideration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions \2\ when evaluating 
proposed major Federal actions in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., and the CEQ 
Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA, 40 CFR 
parts 1500-1508 (``CEQ Regulations''). The purpose of this draft 
guidance is to facilitate compliance with NEPA by Federal agencies 
conducting reviews of proposed major Federal actions.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ This draft guidance is not a rule or regulation, and the 
recommendations it contains may not apply to a particular situation 
based upon the individual facts and circumstances. This guidance 
does not change or substitute for any statutes, regulations, or any 
other legally binding requirement and is not legally enforceable. 
CEQ's regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA are 
available on www.nepa.gov. This guidance does not, and cannot, 
expand the range of Federal agency actions that are subject to NEPA.
    \2\ For purposes of this draft guidance, CEQ defines GHGs as 
carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous 
oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons 
(PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen 
trifluoride (NF3).
    \3\ This draft guidance is intended to replace CEQ's August 2016 
``Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on 
Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate 
Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews'' (81 FR 51866, 
Aug. 5, 2016), which was withdrawn pursuant to Executive Order 13783 
on April 5, 2017 (82 FR 16576).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Draft Guidance

    NEPA requires that Federal agencies study the environmental impacts 
of major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the 
human environment. 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C). NEPA is a procedural statute 
that serves the twin purposes of ensuring that agencies consider the 
environmental consequences of their proposed actions and inform the 
public about their decision-making process. Agencies

[[Page 30098]]

should analyze reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences of 
major Federal actions, but should not consider those that are remote or 
speculative. 40 CFR 1508.8.

A. Consideration of GHG Emissions in NEPA Analyses

    Under CEQ regulations and the ``rule of reason'' that bounds all 
NEPA analysis, impacts of a proposed action should be discussed in 
proportion to their significance, and there should only be brief 
discussion of issues that are not significant.\4\ As with all NEPA 
analyses, the rule of reason permits agencies to use their expertise 
and experience to decide how and to what degree to analyze particular 
effects. Agencies preparing NEPA analyses need not give greater 
consideration to potential effects from GHG emissions than to other 
potential effects on the human environment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ See 40 CFR 1500.1(b) (``Most important, NEPA documents must 
concentrate on the issues that are truly significant to the action 
in question, rather than amassing needless detail.''); 40 CFR 
1502.2(b) (``Impacts shall be discussed in proportion to their 
significance.''); 40 CFR 1502.15 (``Data and analyses in a statement 
shall be commensurate with the importance of the impact . . .''); 40 
CFR 1508.27 (defining ``significantly'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A projection of a proposed action's direct and reasonably 
foreseeable indirect GHG emissions may be used as a proxy for assessing 
potential climate effects. Direct effects are caused by the action and 
occur at the same time or place. 40 CFR 1508.8(a). Indirect effects are 
caused by the action and are later in time or farther removed in 
distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable. 40 CFR 1508.8(b). 
Following the rule of reason, agencies should assess effects when a 
sufficiently close causal relationship exists between the proposed 
action and the effect. A ``but for'' causal relationship is not 
sufficient.
    Agencies should attempt to quantify a proposed action's projected 
direct and reasonably foreseeable indirect GHG emissions when the 
amount of those emissions is substantial enough to warrant 
quantification, and when it is practicable to quantify them using 
available data and GHG quantification tools.\5\ Agencies should 
consider whether quantifying a proposed action's projected reasonably 
foreseeable GHG emissions would be practicable and whether 
quantification would be overly speculative. If an agency concludes that 
quantification would not be practicable or would be overly speculative, 
it should explain its decision.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ For a listing of available GHG accounting methods and tools 
that agencies may consider using in their NEPA reviews see CEQ's 
Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tools web page (https://ceq.doe.gov/guidance/ghg-accounting-tools.html).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Where GHG inventory information is available, an agency may also 
reference local, regional, national, or sector-wide emission estimates 
to provide context for understanding the relative magnitude of a 
proposed action's GHG emissions. This approach, together with a 
qualitative summary discussion of the effects of GHG emissions based on 
an appropriate literature review, allows an agency to present the 
environmental impacts of a proposed action in clear terms and with 
sufficient information to make a reasoned choice among the 
alternatives. Such a discussion satisfies NEPA's requirement that 
agencies analyze the cumulative effects of a proposed action because 
the potential effects of GHG emissions are inherently a global 
cumulative effect. Therefore, a separate cumulative effects analysis is 
not required.
    When an agency determines that the tools, methods, or data inputs 
necessary to quantify a proposed action's GHG emissions are not 
reasonably available, or it otherwise would not be practicable, the 
agency should include a qualitative analysis and explain its basis for 
determining that quantification is not warranted. Agencies are not 
required to quantify effects where information necessary for 
quantification is unavailable, not of high quality, or the complexity 
of identifying emissions would make quantification overly speculative. 
40 CFR 1502.22. A qualitative analysis may rely on sector-specific 
descriptions of the GHG emissions for the category of Federal action 
that is the subject of the NEPA analysis. Agencies need not undertake 
new research or analysis of potential climate effects and may rely on 
available information and relevant scientific literature.
    In their NEPA analyses, agencies should consider reasonable 
alternatives to the proposed action and discuss the short- and long-
term effects and benefits of those alternatives. 40 CFR 1502.14 and 
1508.9(b). NEPA does not require agencies to adopt mitigation measures. 
However, comparing alternatives based on potential effects due to GHG 
emissions, along with other potential effects and economic and 
technical considerations, can help agencies differentiate among 
alternatives. 40 CFR 1502.14 and 1502.16(e).
    Consideration of effects on the quality of the human environment 
due to GHG emissions does not require agencies to expand the range of 
Federal agency actions subject to NEPA or develop new NEPA implementing 
procedures. As required by CEQ regulations, agencies shall conduct NEPA 
analyses based on current scientific information and methods to the 
extent reasonably available and practicable. 40 CFR 1500.1(b), 1502.22, 
and 1502.24. In preparing their NEPA analyses, agencies can incorporate 
by reference pre-existing plans, inventories, reviews, assessments, and 
research whenever appropriate. Agencies may also use programmatic 
analyses, programmatic approaches, and tiering to address emission 
considerations (including GHG emissions) that are relevant to the stage 
of decisionmaking for the proposed action.

B. Considerations Relating to the Affected Environment

    Analyses under NEPA should include a description of the affected 
environment to provide a basis for comparing the current and the 
reasonably foreseeable future state of the environment as affected by 
the proposed action and its reasonable alternatives. When relevant, 
agencies should consider whether the proposed action would be affected 
by foreseeable changes to the affected environment under a reasonable 
scenario. In accordance with NEPA's rule of reason and standards for 
obtaining information regarding reasonably foreseeable effects on the 
human environment, agencies need not undertake new research or analysis 
of potential changes to the affected environment in the proposed action 
area and may summarize and incorporate by reference appropriate 
scientific literature. 40 CFR 1502.21 and 1502.24.

C. Use of Cost-Benefit Analyses

    NEPA and CEQ's implementing regulations do not require agencies to 
monetize costs and benefits of a proposed action. CEQ regulations 
provide that agencies need not weigh the merits and drawbacks of 
particular alternatives in a monetary cost-benefit analysis. 40 CFR 
1502.23.\6\ For this reason, an agency need not weigh the effects of 
the various alternatives in NEPA in a monetary cost-benefit analysis 
using any monetized Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) estimates and related 
documents (collectively referred

[[Page 30099]]

to as ``SCC estimates''),\7\ or other similar cost metrics.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Section 1502.23 of the CEQ regulations also provides that 
monetary cost-benefit analysis ``should not be [used] when there are 
important qualitative considerations.''
    \7\ In February of 2010, the Interagency Working Group on the 
Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (IWG) published a ``Technical 
Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact 
Analysis--Under Executive Order 12866.'' These documents were 
updated a number of times. See ``Technical Update of the Social Cost 
of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis (May 2013);'' ``Technical 
Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis 
(November 2013);'' ``Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon 
for Regulatory Impact Analysis (July 2015);'' ``Addendum to the 
Technical Support Document for Social Cost of Carbon: Application of 
the Methodology to Estimate the Social Cost of Methane and the 
Social Cost of Nitrous Oxide (August 2016);'' and ``Technical Update 
of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis (August 
2016).''
    \8\ Pursuant to Executive Order 13783 of March 28, 2017, titled 
``Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,'' the IWG was 
disbanded, and the estimates were directed to be withdrawn as no 
longer representing government policy. 82 FR 16093, Mar. 31, 2017. 
Agencies were directed to ensure, to the extent permitted by law, 
that any such estimates are consistent with the guidance contained 
in the OMB Circular A-4 of September 17, 2003, which was issued 
following peer review and public comment and has been widely 
accepted as reflecting the best practices for conducting cost-
benefit analyses for rulemakings. Any such analysis should focus on 
the impacts that accrue to citizens and residents of the United 
States.
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    Further, the SCC estimates were developed for rulemaking purposes 
to assist agencies in evaluating the costs and benefits of regulatory 
actions, and were not intended for socio-economic analysis under NEPA 
or decision-making on individual actions, including project-level 
decisions. If an agency does consider costs and benefits that are 
relevant to the choice among environmentally different alternatives for 
a proposed action, such as in a rulemaking, the agency should 
incorporate by reference or append such analyses to the environmental 
impact statement as an aid in evaluating the environmental 
consequences. 40 CFR 1502.21 and 1502.23. When using a monetary cost-
benefit analysis, just as with tools to quantify emissions, the agency 
should disclose the assumptions and levels of uncertainty associated 
with such analysis.
    Finally, CEQ's regulations require consideration of ``effects,'' 
including ``ecological . . ., aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, 
social, or health, whether direct, indirect, or cumulative.'' 40 CFR 
1508.8(b). There may be some effects that are more capable of 
monetization or quantification, such as employment or other socio-
economic impacts, and that the agency may determine are useful to 
include in its NEPA review. Monetization or quantification of some 
aspects of an agency's analysis does not require that all effects, 
including potential effects of GHG emissions, be monetized or 
quantified. Where an agency decides to quantify some effects but not 
others, the agency should explain the choices it has made in its 
analysis.

III. OMB Review

    Consistent with OMB's ``Agency Good Guidance Practices'' (72 FR 
3432, Jan. 25, 2007), the draft guidance document was submitted to OMB 
for review.

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4332, 4342, 4344 and 40 CFR parts 1500, 1501, 
1502, 1503, 1505, 1506, 1507, and 1508)

Mary B. Neumayr,
Chairman.
[FR Doc. 2019-13576 Filed 6-25-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3225-F9-P