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New rules proposed to consider climate change under the National Enviornmental Policy Act

By Juliet Eilperin

The Obama administration announced (pdf) Thursday that it has drafted rules (pdf) that would require federal government to take climate change into consideration for the first time when judging actions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

NEPA, a 40-year old law, requires the federal government to evaluate the environmental impact of any activity it takes part in or sanctions, whether it's providing funds for a highway or allowing snowmobile riders into Yellowstone National Park.

While the implications of the draft guidance could have serious implications for the construction industry and other businesses, the Council on Environmental Quality made it clear it would seek to limit its impact. "The draft guidance does not apply to land and resource management actions and does not propose to regulate greenhouse gases," CEQ said in a statement.

Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the move represented an attempt to modernize the landmark federal law. "Our country has been strengthened by the open, accountable, informed and citizen-involved decision-making structure created by NEPA," Sutley said. "We are committed to making NEPA workable and effective, and believe that these changes will contribute significantly to both goals."

According to the statement, any proposed activity would have to emit the equivalent of 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide "to trigger a quantitative analysis."

Michael Smith, a senior manager at the environmental consulting group ICF International said the guidance will be "enormously useful to federal agencies.There has a been a tremendous amount of uncertainty and confusion on whether and how to address climate change in environmental analyses conducted under NEPA [and] deal with the challenge of adapting to a changing climate."


Juliet Eilperin

 |  February 18, 2010; 2:45 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Another reason to vote these clowns out. The kiddies have taken over the nursery school.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 19, 2010 10:09 AM
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Should the government consider the costs of its legislation? Will commuters have to a pay a per mile carbon tax? Will electricity users have to pay a per KW hour carbon tax? Will the steel industry have to relocate in Asia?

The average sea level rise over the past 20,000 years has been greater than the present rise in sea level.

Coal use is increasing worldwide.

Posted by: rainsong | February 19, 2010 9:02 AM
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