Special Topics in Environmental Management

Climate Change Now a Big Part of NEPA Reviews

A little more than 3 years after President Obama introduced his national action climate plan in a speech at Georgetown University, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has released final guidance on how federal departments and agencies should consider greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the effects of climate change in reviews conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The administration has been aggressive in implementing the president’s plan as evidenced by several major actions, including the United States signing the Paris Climate Agreement. At least 55 countries must ratify the agreement before it becomes international law; President Obama is expected to implement ratification through an Executive Order before leaving office.

While issuance of the CEQ guidance may not prompt breaking news coverage, the document will have a significant impact on a wide range of federal actions, including project funding, rulemaking, permitting, and land and resource management decisions.

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