Climate Guidance for NEPA Reviews

The Environmental Policy Initiative is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following

Why it Matters

This guidance provided standardized guidance for assessing the greenhouse gas footprint of “major federal actions” reviewed under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Agencies can use this information to make decisions that reduce the climate impact of projects.

Current Status

President Trump revoked the climate guidance in his Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. Nonetheless, at least one draft environmental review since the Executive Order has included climate impact of a projects greenhouse gas emissions.

History

On February 18, 2010 the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed guidance to agencies for considering greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in NEPA reviews.

In December, 2014 CEQ updated its proposal for climate change NEPA guidance.

On August 1, 2016 CEQ finalized Guidance on the Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in NEPA Reviews.

Trump Era

On March 28, 2017 President Trump signed an Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth which directed CEQ to rescind its final climate guidance.

On August 15, 2017 Trump signed an Executive Order that shortens the time for environmental reviews of large federally-funded infrastructure projects. This order also revoked President Obama’s Executive Order 13690, which had required federal agencies to consider sea level rise and flood projections when considering agency actions, including federal funding of infrastructure.

For more information

For more on the history of this rule see its entry in the Columbia University Sabin Center for Climate Change Law’s database. Also see Sabin’s Climate Deregulation Tracker for additional updates.

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