Obama to Expand NEPA Reviews to Consider Climate Change

It what would be a significant policy shift that could impact major projects that are subject to federal oversight, the Obama administration is expected to guide all federal agencies to consider the impact on global warming in their NEPA reviews.

"President Barack Obama is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways," reports Mark Drajem. "The result could be significant delays for natural gas- export facilities, ports for coal sales to Asia, and even new forest roads, industry lobbyists warn."

'“It’s got us very freaked out,' said Ross Eisenberg, vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington-based group that represents 11,000 companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Southern Co. (SO) The standards, which constitute guidance for agencies and not new regulations, are set to be issued in the coming weeks, according to lawyers briefed by administration officials."

"The new standards will be 'a major shakeup in how agencies conduct NEPA' reviews, said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco."

"The White House is looking at requiring consideration of both the increase in greenhouse gases and a project’s vulnerability to flooding, drought or other extreme weather that might result from global warming, according to an initial proposal it issued in 2010," explains Drajem. "Those full reports would be required for projects with 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions or more per year, the equivalent of burning about 100 rail cars of coal."

Full Story: Obama Will Use Nixon-Era Law to Fight Climate Change

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