NEPA

Downstream Emissions

A new court ruling could doom the Trump Administration’s ANWR plan.

A Ninth Circuit ruling yesterday overturned approval of offshore drilling in the Arctic. The ruling may directly impact the Trump Administration’s plans for oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). By requiring agencies to consider emissions when fossil fuels are ultimately burned, the Court of Appeal’s decision may also change the way that …

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Some of the Things Federal Agencies Can Do to Address Climate Change

Current federal law provides many ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even without a friendly senate

As the likelihood grows that the United States will have a new president who will preside over a divided government, and various policy think tanks line up to offer suggestions for effective action on various important issues, it seems like the right time to shine a light once again on a series of reports issued …

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Enforcing NEPA’s Forgotten Mandate

The courts have failed to enforce a core requirement of NEPA. That leaves the White House.

The Democrats have adopted an ambitious platform for environmental protection, full of innovative legislative initiatives.  Here’s another idea Biden and Harris should consider, making use of the oldest of the modern environmental statutes. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is best known for requiring environmental impact statements. While they have enforced that requirement, the courts …

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Trump’s Latest Deregulatory Ploy: Emergency Waivers

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 …

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NEPA, emergencies and executive power

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 …

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Public Lands Watch: Revisions to NEPA regulations

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 …

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Misunderstanding the Law of Causation

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 …

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Pride Goeth Before a Fall

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 …

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A Paper Tiger?

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 …

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Happy Birthday, NEPA!

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 …

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