Final guidance from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for the first time will require federal agencies to consider the potential impact of construction projects on climate change.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impact of proposed projects. The CEQ guidelines, published in the Aug. 5 Federal Register, extend the NEPA process to include a review of potential impacts on climate change.

The White House says the guidelines will enable federal agencies to more fully understand the potential climate impacts of all proposed federal actions and, if necessary, compare alternatives or consider steps to mitigate the projects’ impacts on climate change.

Environmental groups praised the new guidance, saying it is consistent with NEPA’s goals. Critics, however, say the new guidance could further delay an already lengthy environmental review process and, further, could lead to lawsuits.