White House: Agencies Should Weigh GHG Emissions in NEPA Reviews
March 3, 2010
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced on February 18 that it is proposing a number of steps to modernize and reinvigorate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including the consideration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change impacts when evaluating proposed projects and actions. NEPA provides the framework for nearly all environmental reviews performed by federal agencies, and it applies to federal projects and actions, projects located on federal lands, and projects over which the federal government has jurisdiction. The CEQ's draft guidance proposes that any project resulting in GHG emissions equivalent to 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide or more per year should undergo a quantitative analysis of its environmental impacts. Specifically, agencies should consider potential measure or reasonable alternatives to reduce GHG emissions. The guidance also instructs agencies how to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions. The draft guidance does not apply to land and resource management actions. The CEQ published a notice of the draft guidance documents in the Federal Register on February 23 and will accept public comments through May 24. See the CEQ press release, the draft guidance on climate change and GHG emissions (PDF 102 KB), and the Federal Register notice. Download Adobe Reader.