Skip Navigation
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
Home | Careers | Press Room | Opinions | Español | Other Languages | Contact Us

August 27, 2019


Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general in filing a comment letter opposing the Council of Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) draft guidance on consideration of greenhouse gas emissions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

In the comment letter, Raoul and the coalition assert that the CEQ’s draft guidance encourages agencies to violate the NEPA, is arbitrary and capricious, and should be withdrawn. The NEPA serves as the cornerstone of the United States’ environmental regulatory framework and requires agencies to consider environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change, as part of their decision-making process. Nearly every federal action requires compliance with the NEPA.

“This draft guidance moves our nation in the wrong direction when it comes to combatting climate change, and jeopardizes our environment and our economy,” Raoul said. “It irresponsibly ignores scientific evidence and creates new legal risks for projects subject to the NEPA. I will continue to fight any attempt to undermine or change policies that help address the devastating effects of climate change.”

Raoul and the coalition outline a number of concerns in the letter, including that the draft guidance:

  • Unlawfully and arbitrarily ignores the growing body of scientific evidence pointing to the threats of climate change, and the contribution of greenhouse gas emissions to this threat.
  • Subverts the purpose and requirement of the NEPA to promote informed decision-making, by disregarding climate change, the most pressing environmental issue of our time.
  • Fails to clarify how agencies should consider indirect greenhouse gas emissions, including upstream or downstream emissions caused by projects such as pipelines and mining.
  • Includes vague and undefined terms that would allow agencies to unlawfully cast aside their obligations under the NEPA, and that conflict with the straightforward language of the previous guidance.
  • Unlawfully suggests that agencies may meet the NEPA requirements by comparing projects’ greenhouse gas emissions to other estimates, and providing a qualitative summary discussion, which is insufficient.
  • Supports an unbalanced approach to cost-benefit analysis by allowing agencies to exclude the costs or quantities of climate impacts.
  • Discourages the consideration of required mitigation methods as well as the exploration of reasonable alternatives to reduce climate change.
  • Fails to consider coordination and consistency between the NEPA and state environmental analysis.

Joining Raoul in submitting the comments are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columba, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.


Return to August 2019 Press Releases

go to top of page

© 2020 Illinois Attorney General HomePrivacy Policy Contact Us