climate change and NEPA
Will the new NEPA provisions speed approval of urgently needed projects?
In terms of the energy transition, the most important question about the recent NEPA amendments is whether they streamline permitting for transmission projects. The answer is complicated. We can divide transmission projects into two groups. The first group consists of transmission projects where federal involvement is limited to specific segments, such as stream crossings requiring …CONTINUE READING
Will the permitting sections of the debt ceiling bill undermine environmental reviews?
Prior to the release of the text of the debt ceiling bill Sunday night, press reports had mentioned only a couple of provisions relating to environmental impact statements. It turns out there’s a lot more. The bill would make numerous changes in the statute governing impact statements, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). …CONTINUE READING
No, the Court didn’t eliminate EPA’s ability to fight climate change.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the West Virginia case left many people with the impression that it eliminated the government’s power to regulate carbon emissions. There are quite a number of areas of climate law that the Supreme Court has left untouched. Here’s the EPA authority the Court hasn’t touched: EPA’s jurisdiction over greenhouse gases. …CONTINUE READING
Trump tried to keep climate change out of environmental impact statements. Biden was right to scotch that effort.
Yesterday, the White House undid an effort by the Trump Administration to undermine the use of environmental impact statements. The pre-Trump rules had been in effect since 1978. Restoring the 1978 version was the right thing to do. The Trump’s rules arbitrarily limited the scope of the environmental effects that EPA can consider. Their goal …CONTINUE READING
Cases were few, but one judge was years ahead of her time.
In an earlier post, I tried to figure out when the legal academy first discovered climate changes. As it turns out, it was almost a decade later when the federal courts took notice. Those first climate change cases shed light on how new issues get litigated and how courts respond to new science. My research …CONTINUE READING
Following closely on the heels of Ann’s argument concerning the flaws of the Keystone XL DEIS came a NYT story from John Broder with an interesting suggestion: if the administration approves the pipeline, then it should do something else in order to advance the battle against climate change: [C]ould some kind of deal be in …CONTINUE READING
The Council on Environmental Quality has issued a draft guidance to agencies on treatment of greenhouse gases. The key point is that emissions exceeding 25,000 tons per year of CO2 will be considered a “significant environmental impact” and require preparation of an environmental impact statement. Overall, of course, this is a huge step forward. One …CONTINUE READING