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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 Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer Japan’s efforts to fight climate change is “hindered” by the influential business lobby Keidanren, Aaron Sheldrick reported for Reuters yesterday. As Sheldrick explained, the powerful lobby is “dominated by energy-intensive sectors that represent less than 10% of the economy, resulting in national policies that favor coal and are hindering […]
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer Climate change is, of course, a global phenomenon, but out of the contiguous United States, the Northeast is experiencing it particularly severely. As Kate Olson recently reported in Civil Eats, farmers in Maine are “struggl[ing]” with this “new, harsher climate reality” that includes even more deeply unpredictable weather events […]
by Julia Pyper, host and producer of Political Climate John Podesta has had a long and distinguished career in American politics. The veteran Democrat official recalls a time when Members of Congress were open to working across the political aisle, the debate was healthy and the resulting policies were less prone to repeal. But today […]
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