CEQ Releases Final Principles and Guidelines

On December 17th, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released final interagency principles and guidelines for federal investments in water resources projects. In conjunction with the release, CEQ published a blog post authored by Lynda Hoffman titled "Supporting Water Projects Communities Want" which highlighted a channel modification project for the Blue River in Kansas City, Missouri. The project used habitat-friendly environmental features that helped provide flood protection while saving over $20 million in avoided project costs.

The latest move by CEQ is the final administrative step of a 5 year process. The rules are set to take effect within 180 days of release, however it's not clear if that timetable begins with the announcement (December 17) or when the final proposed rules are printed in the Federal Register.

Despite their release, the fate of the principles and guidelines implementation remains uncertain due to congressional opposition and recent passage of the Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act (Public Law 113-235). The legislative package, which provides government funding through fiscal year 2015, contains language that prohibits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the guidelines.