March 2, 2010 Bills Would Bar Consideration of Climate Change Impacts under NEPA

By Jennifer Cassel

On April 20, 2010, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced a bill which would prohibit agencies from taking climate change impacts into account when conducting environmental impact evaluations under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).  Specifically, under Inhofe’s NEPA Certainty Act (S. 3230), “compliance with [NEPA] shall not include consideration of—(1) the greenhouse gas emissions, or any climate change effects of those emissions, of a proposed action and alternative actions; or (2) the relationship of climate change effects to a proposed action or alternatives, including the relationship to proposal design, environmental impacts, mitigation, and adaptation measures.” The bill, co-sponsored by 6 other Republican Senators, also includes a “declaration” that NEPA “should not be used to document, predict, or mitigate the climate effects of specific Federal actions.” The NEPA Certainty Act was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on April 20, 2010. 

S. 3230 is available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:s3230is.txt.pdf

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change

March 1, 2010 February 2010 Update: Climate Change

By Gabrielle Sigel and Jennifer L. Cassel

Federal Legislative Developments

  • Obama Requests Increased Funding for Climate Change

    On February 1, 2010, President Obama sent to Congress a budget request for fiscal year 2011 in which he requested increased funding for climate change measures even as he decreased his overall budget request. 

    Some of the items listed in the President’s budget request include: $54.5 billion for Dept of Energy loan guarantees for clean energy technologies; $21 million for EPA to implement the mandatory greenhouse gas (“GHG”) reporting rule; $56 million for EPA and State climate change programs, including $25 million to be used to assist EPA and the States to incorporate GHG emission restrictions into Clean Air Act (“CAA”) permitting, $5 million to develop best available control technology (“BACT”) for GHG emission limits in CAA permits, and $7 million to develop new source performance standards for certain sources that produce GHG emissions; $7 million to fund carbon capture and sequestration (“CCS”) projects and $545 million to fund research of CCS technologies; $6 million for EPA to implement GHG emission standards for vehicles; and $2.6 billion to fund research related to climate change.  Unlike his budget request for FY 2010, President Obama does not request funding to implement a cap-and-trade program in FY 2011.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Water

PEOPLE: Gabrielle Sigel

February 10, 2010 January 2010 Update: Climate Change

By Gabrielle Sigel and Jennifer L. Cassel

Federal Legislative Developments

  • Obama Calls for Comprehensive Energy and Climate Bill in Address to Nation

    On January 27, 2010, in his first State of the Union address, President Obama reiterated his desire to see a comprehensive energy and climate bill adopted in the coming year. In his speech, Obama tied such legislation to job creation, providing examples of “green jobs” and emphasizing that, “to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives.” Among the programs Obama espoused are the construction of new, “safe, clean” nuclear power plants; “continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies,” and the passage of a “comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.” While Obama did not mention the words “cap and trade” in his speech, he supported his plea for climate legislation by stating that “providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future—because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.” Obama also indicated that he would be willing to make “tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development,” but only as one component of his energy plan for the country.

 

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change

PEOPLE: Gabrielle Sigel

January 13, 2010 A green economy: What lawyers need to know

Grayson PhotoBy E. Lynn Grayson

A media buzz surrounds the politically charged concept of developing a green economy by investing in initiatives that are good for the environment and financially beneficial for business.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change