The enactment of NEPA 2.0 presents a golden opportunity for the agency.
In the recent debt ceiling law, Congress extensively revamped NEPA, the law governing environmental impact statements. An obscure White House agency, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), will have the first opportunity to shape the interpretation of the new language. Much of the language in the new law is poorly drafted or vague, making CEQ’s …CONTINUE READING
Newsom’s infrastructure package makes a big change for California species protection
Last week, the Newsom administration announced a budget trailer bill package it said was designed to facilitate the deployment of historic federal infrastructure funding for climate-friendly projects. The package consists of 11 separate trailer bills, dealing with a variety of topics ranging from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to state contracting rules. Unsurprisingly, the …CONTINUE READING
If we need to build lots of things fast to address climate and housing crises, how will we do that?
There’s been a lot of buzz about this column by Ezra Klein in the New York Times. Klein’s basic argument: We need to do a lot of infrastructure and other development projects to make the world a better place. For example, we’ll need to build power lines and renewable projects to address climate change. But …CONTINUE READING
The US takes a major step forward on the path to carbon neutrality.
Late Friday, the House passed Biden’s infrastructure bill. As the Washington Post aptly observed, the bill is the biggest climate legislation to ever move through Congress. It also attracted key support from some Republicans, which was essential to passing it in both houses of Congress. Biden is pushing for an even bigger companion bill, but …CONTINUE READING
Biden has set up a lot of future actions. But he’s already got some notches on his belt.
Tomorrow marks Biden’s first 100 days in office. He’s appointed a great climate team and is negotiating an infrastructure bill that focuses on climate change. With luck, those actions will produce major environmental gains down the road. There are also some solid gains in the form of actions that have already come to fruition. Here’s …CONTINUE READING
Shaky legal authority, poor analysis, dubious benefits. What else is new?
In an Executive Order issued last Thursday, Trump told agencies to use emergency waivers to avoid environmental safeguards. The order is legally shaky and unlikely to accomplish much. Still, it provided a nice photo op. Maybe he should have signed it in front of a church. I’ll talk later about the specifics, but first I’d …CONTINUE READING
Once more we need to ask, can Trump do what he claims to be doing?
Late Thursday, the White House issued another in a seemingly endless series of administrative orders. Under the typically overblown title “EO on Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities,” it was touted by the President’s team as a way to speed infrastructure permitting and another step …CONTINUE READING
It’s easy to put off long-term problems when there’s a crisis. Much too easy, actually.
Long-term problems get short shrift in a crisis. That’s true of infrastructure repair; it’s also true of climate change. Like deferred maintenance, climate change just gets bigger the longer it’s put off. I often see the fruits of deferred maintenance on the Berkeley campus. Building conditions are a huge problem at Berkeley. Whenever there’s a …CONTINUE READING
Developments from a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change
Today, the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing entitled “Building a 100 Percent Clean Economy: Solutions For Planes, Trains and Everything Beyond Automobiles.” As the title suggests, the Subcommittee’s hearing sought to probe opportunities to decarbonize the transportation sector while focusing on modes of …CONTINUE READING
You’ve heard it before but it’s still true: U.S. infrastructure is a mess.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Critical U.S. infrastructure is dilapidated and unsafe. Regulation is week, and enforcement is weaker. Everyone agrees on the need for action, and climate change will only make the problem worse. but no one seems to do anything about it. Sadly, this has become a familiar story. Take …CONTINUE READING