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Why This Matters: Since no one pipeline or oil and gas well “causes” climate change, this rollback is designed to speed the development of many energy projects according to experts. E&E News reported that the White House memo justifies the new rule saying it will “modernize and clarify the CEQ regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews.”If that were true and the administration could be trusted to update and strengthen the review process, it might be a welcome change. There is a need to incorporate more robust data and analysis using new technology into the environmental review process — and even to speed it up when it comes to environmentally beneficial projects such as offshore wind development. But we will be creating more problems for our kids and grandkids if we abandon NEPA principles and fail to fully account for, and minimize and mitigate, the environmental and climate impacts of government actions.
Industry Driven Changes
These changes come at the best of industry groups who, according to E&E News, wrote the White House in November seeking to weaken NEPA “in a manner that strengthens our economy and enhances environmental stewardship.” The proposal will:
Establish two-year time limits for environmental impact statements and one-year limits for the watered-down environmental assessments;
Strengthen the lead agency role and requiring senior agency officials to “timely resolve disputes that may result in delays.”
Provide direction regarding the “threshold consideration” of whether NEPA applies;
Require that public comments be “specific” and “timely submitted;”
Clarify definitions such as “major federal action” to ensure they do not include projects with minimal federal funding or involvement;
Clarify that “reasonable alternatives must be technically and economically feasible;” and
Allow companies to conduct their own environmental review “under the supervision of an agency,” the draft memo states.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have hit a three-million-year high, according to a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report published yesterday. Despite a brief dip in emissions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall trend of increasing emissions continues, indicating last year’s dip had little to no impact on […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A report in the Dasgupta Review shows that by using a fiscal lens to view Earth’s growing biodiversity loss, we can see how it links to economic development. By viewing nature as an asset like “produced capital (roads, buildings and factories)” or “human capital (health, knowledge and skills)” — […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer While coal use is a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions, another industry is set to outpace it: plastic. A new report from Bennington College and Beyond Plastics estimates the plastic industry emits over 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, the equivalent of 116 coal-fired power plants. […]
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