“Trump Aims to Reel in Climate Reviews While Courts Say Otherwise”

“The Trump administration’s plan to speed up project reviews for pipelines, mines, highways, and other infrastructure would scale back how agencies consider climate change in the process—running counter to a stack of legal precedent that’s been growing for years.

The Council on Environmental Quality’s Jan. 9 proposal to accelerate National Environmental Policy Act reviews says the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department, and other agencies should limit their analysis to impacts that have a “close causal relationship” with the proposed government action at issue. The draft also directs agencies to halt their practice of studying cumulative impacts: a project’s broader effects when considered alongside other existing and anticipated development.

If finalized, the new regulations could reduce but not eliminate climate considerations in NEPA reviews. That cuts against a fast-growing set of court decisions that say agencies must do more to study the planet-warming impacts of their decisions.

“You can’t unwrite those cases,” said Christy Goldfuss, who led CEQ during the Obama administration.”

Ellen M. Gilmer and Stephen Lee report for Bloomberg Environment January 9, 2020.

SEE ALSO:

“Democrats, Greens Blast Trump Rollback Of Major Environmental Law” (The Hill)

“Trump Has Kneecapped Another Environmental Safeguard. Could That Spur Expanded Uranium Mining in South Texas?” (Texas Observer)

“Trump's Latest Rollback Would Ruin an ‘International Treasure'” (Earther)

“Utah Officials Praise Trump’s Rollback of NEPA” (Salt Lake Tribune)

“Bipartisan Lawmakers Attempt To Drum Up Opposition To Proposed Changes Of Environmental Law” (The Hill)

“Trump Moves to Gut Landmark Environmental Law” (MSNBC/Chris Hayes)

“Courts: NEPA Overhaul Won't Be ‘Overnight Game Changer'” (EnergyWire)

“Democrats Promise Action Against Trump NEPA Overhaul” (E&E Daily)

“NEPA Rewrite Could Thwart Climate Fight Against Drilling” (EnergyWire)