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
Trump Administration proposes drastic revisions to regulations that implement bedrock environmental law
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is one of the most important statutes for public lands management in the United States, even though it actually is not specific to public lands. NEPA requires federal agencies to analyze and publicly disclose the significant environmental impacts of proposed agency actions, consider alternatives to those proposals, and seek …CONTINUE READING
Trump’s NEPA proposal flunks Torts as well as Environmental Science 101.
Last week’s NEPA proposal bars agencies from considering many of the harms their actions will produce, such as climate change. These restrictions profoundly misunderstand the nature of environmental problems and are based on the flimsiest of legal foundations. Specifically, the proposal tells agencies they do not need to consider environmental “effects if they are remote …CONTINUE READING
Trump thinks he can tell courts how to interpret NEPA. He’s wrong.
White House has just released its proposed revisions to the rules about environmental impact statements. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) simply does not have the kind of power that it is trying to arrogate to itself. The proposal is marked by hubris about the government’s ability to control how the courts apply the …CONTINUE READING
Trump is proposing big changes to CEQ regs. But they may not matter.
The Trump Administration is trying to gut the current White House rules on environmental impact statements. Some people view this move as a death blow to an important environmental tool. Here’s what Trump is trying to do and why it may not matter as much as people fear. As to what Trump & Co. are …CONTINUE READING
NEPA turns 50 today. Its passage was the beginning of modern environmental law.
Welcome to 2020. Before we start worrying about the year ahead, it’s worth taking a look backward. Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, usually called NEPA for short. When he signed NEPA into law, President Nixon said: “It is particularly fitting that my first official act in …CONTINUE READING
Celebrating NEPA: America’s Most Transformative, Overarching & Catalytic Environmental Law
On a snowy New Year’s Day in 1970–50 years ago today–then-President Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA’s passage marked the beginning of America’s modern environmental law era. It was followed by Congressional passage of a series of other federal environmental laws over the next decade–major statutes that to this day …CONTINUE READING
Could mega-adaptation projects in Antarctica slow the rise of global sea levels?
As the planet warms over the coming centuries, glacial melt in Greenland and Antarctica will lead to significant sea level rise. This phenomenon threatens to flood coastal cities, submerge island nations, and displace hundreds of millions of people. Coastal adaptation projects underway give us a glimpse into how we will respond to this future. Some …CONTINUE READING
Forest Service proposes revisions to NEPA regulations to increase exemptions for logging and other projects
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has long been a lightning rod for debates over public land management. NEPA requires federal agencies to fully analyze and publicly disclose the environmental impacts of proposed major federal actions that significantly affect the environment, including analysis of a reasonable range of alternatives and a response to public comments. …CONTINUE READING