Treatment of Greenhouse Gases Under the National Environmental Policy Act

Treatment of Greenhouse Gases Under the National Environmental Policy Act

   By Jeffrey A. Thaler and Dustin T. Till; General Editor Bradley M. Marten


Given the absence of comprehensive, economy-wide regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its state-level counterparts have been on the frontline of the climate change fight. Indeed, the issue of when and how project proponents must evaluate a project’s contribution to climate change and the impacts of climate change on a project has been a topic in NEPA litigation for over 20 years and likely will be even more so for the foreseeable future. This pamphlet summarizes and analyzes (1) the manner in which NEPA, state-level environmental review statutes, and then the reviewing courts have grappled with the issue of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, in often inconsistent fashion, and (2) the implications for future project reviews and litigation.


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Jeffrey A. Thaler is a senior member of the Energy and Environmental Practice and Litigation Practice Groups at Bernstein Shur. He focuses his environmental and energy practice on the areas of permitting, regulatory compliance, enforcement, and litigation.


Dustin T. Till is a senior associate at Marten Law’s Portland, Oregon office, where his practice focuses on energy and environmental litigation. He has successfully represented clients in a broad range of energy and environmental matters. Dustin provides expert commentary on global warming litigation, legislation, and regulation for LexisNexis.

Bradley M. Marten, founder and Managing Partner of Marten Law PLLC, is consistently ranked by his peers as one of the nation's top environmental lawyers. He is a Regent of the American College of Environmental Lawyers and Chairs its Policy Committee. He is listed as a top environmental lawyer in the Best Lawyers in America, Chambers, and the International Who's Who of Environmental Lawyers, and been recognized in many other publications for his work in the environmental law field over a 25 year career. Brad represents both corporate and public clients in matters touching on most of the major environmental and energy practice areas. He is the General Editor for the LexisNexis Global Climate Change Special Pamphlet Series.