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Climate Change and US Energy Infrastructure

According to a recent GAO report ( http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660558.pdf ), US energy infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to a number of different climate change impact effects, increasing the risk of disruptions of energy critical for US economic growth and operation, such as: • Resource...

Toronto Trees: $7B In Health and Environment

Toronto trees are worth an estimated $7 Billion, or about $700 per tree, according to a June 9, 2014, report from TD Economics . Toronto trees provide residents with over $80 million, or about $8 per tree, of environmental benefits and savings a year, as they are a critical factor in environmental conditions...

Alaska District Court Considers “Reverse Environmental Impact” in Issuance of Section 404 Permit

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA) requires federal agencies to prepare environmental impact statements (EISs) for all “major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.”[1] This includes the issuance of federal permits. Even after an EIS...

Clean Power Plan Proposal Includes Incentives For States To Focus On Controversial Nuclear Energy

There has been a lot of discussion and press around the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan , which is intended to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plants by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA proposed this plan on June 2nd under its Clean Air Act §111(d) authority, which “requires...

Judge Endorses Use of the Social Cost of Carbon in NEPA Analysis

In 2010, the U.S. government formed an interagency working group of scientific and economic experts to develop an estimate of the social cost of carbon (SCC). The SCC puts a dollar figure on the damages done or damages avoided for possible scenarios resulting in discrete amounts of carbon dioxide emission...

New Data on Open Burning of World’s Garbage

By E. Lynn Grayson Unregulated trash burning around the globe is pumping far more pollution into the atmosphere than shown by official records. A new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimates that more than 40 percent of the world's garbage is burned in such fires...

Council on Environmental Quality Declares That Climate Change is Already Covered in Environmental Impact Review, and No New Regulations Needed

By Michael B. Gerrard The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), signed into law by President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970, was the first U.S. environmental statute of the modern era. It requires the preparation of environmental impact statements (EISs) for major federal actions that may...

SCCCL and Lamont-Doherty Release New Collaborative Working Paper on “Scientific and Legal Integrity in Advancing a Land-Degradation Neutral World”

It is no secret that the fight against desertification isn’t going well. In the two decades since the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification came into force, desertification has worsened considerably. Many within the desertification community and beyond are calling for a fresh approach...

California Appellate Court Holds that Regional Planning Agency Must Examine the Long-Term Impacts of Its Transportation Plan on Reduction of Greenhouse Gases

By: Daniel P. Selmi*, Visiting Scholar, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Fritz B. Burns Professor of Law, Loyola Law School In an emphatic opinion, a state appellate court has invalidated the environmental impact report for the first “sustainable communities strategy” prepared...

CEQ’s Revised Draft Guidance on Addressing Climate Change under NEPA: Federal Agencies Should Analyze Both GHG Emissions and Impacts of Climate Change on Proposed Action

On December 24, 2014, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released Revised Draft Guidance on how federal agencies should evaluate GHG emissions and the impacts of climate change when conducting reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).[1] The revised guidance is significantly...

World Bank Sells Record $91M of Green Bonds Tied to “Ethical” Companies

By E. Lynn Grayson The World Bank sold $91 million in green bonds tied to an index of "ethical" companies – its largest offering of green bonds linked to an equity index and the first offered to individual investors. Green bonds were created to increase funding by accessing the...

The 2014 California Environmental Legislative Recap: An Election Year Drought

By Mr. Gary A. Lucks Get the latest expert analysis on California's new environmental and land use laws. This article summarizes legislation passed during the 2014-2015 California Legislative Session, including bills addressing water supply, hazardous waste, solid waste, cimate change, air...

New U.S. Treasury Paper Builds on Momentum for Public-Private Partnerships to Address Public Infrastructure Shortfalls

By Alexander J. Bandza , Associate, Jenner & Block The problem of aging public infrastructure in the U.S. and around the world is well recognized. For example, U.S. businesses pay $27 billion in additional freight costs because of the poor conditions of roads and other transportation infrastructure...

Democratic Senators Introduce Carbon Tax Bill

On Wednesday, June 10, two Democratic Senators (Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Brian Schatz of Hawaii) introduced a bill that would impose a carbon tax of $45 per ton of carbon emissions. For other greenhouse gases, the bill imposes a carbon dioxide equivalent fee. The sponsors claim that the...

Pope Francis On Environmental Law

By Michael B. Gerrard The remarkable Encyclical Letter issued last month by Pope Francis could be read as a primer on the importance and idealized operation of many of our environmental laws. The headings below are mine; the text is from the Vatican. National Environmental Policy Act 183...

FERC’s Reaction to CEQ’s Greenhouse Gas Guidance: For Now, Business as Usual

On June 23, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an Order Denying Rehearing, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this order: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], of its earlier April 6, 2015 order, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this order: lexis.com | Lexis Advance...

EPA Releases Study Stressing Economic Benefits of Climate Change Mitigation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a report, “ Climate Change in the U.S. – Benefits of Global Action ,” detailing the findings of the EPA’s Climate Change Impacts and Risk Analysis (CIRA) study, a peer reviewed project that seeks to assess climate change risk...

WA Court Affirms Best Available Climate Science As Basis For Emissions Reduction Goals

One year ago, eight young climate activists (ranging from 9 to 14 years old) petitioned Washington State’s Department of Ecology (“the Department”) to adopt and implement stricter greenhouse gas emissions regulations based on the most current and best available climate science. When...

Demand-Side Energy Efficiency in the Final Clean Power Plan

By Jessica Wentz, Associate Director and Postdoctoral Fellow President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have unveiled the final version of the Clean Power Plan —the nation’s first ever federal regulatory standards to address carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions from existing...

The Pope’s Environmental Economics

Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home includes a section about the economics of carbon mitigation. Although a small part of the encyclical—one paragraph out of 246—the pope’s economic prescription received extensive coverage from top newspapers...

Model Protocols for Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on the Built Environment under NEPA and State Equivalents

The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law is releasing a set of model protocols for assessing the impacts of climate change on the built environment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and state equivalents. The protocols are intended for use in environmental reviews of proposed buildings...

U.S Crackdown on Ivory Trade – Implications for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed an amendment to the African Elephant Rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act, which would enforce stricter regulations on the United States ivory trade. If finalized, the rule would prohibit sale or offer for sale of ivory and sport-hunted...

New EPA Report: Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action

A new EPA report, Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action , estimates the physical and monetary benefits to the U.S. of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The report summarizes results from the Climate Change Impacts and Risks Analysis (CIRA) project, a peer-reviewed study...

Proposed Rules Seek to Cut Methane Emissions at Landfills

By Ethan R. Ware , Partner, Williams Mullen EPA has issued a proposed rule and a supplemental proposal to a July 14, 2015 proposed rule that are designed to achieve additional reductions of landfill gas (LFG) and its components, including methane, by lowering the emissions threshold at which emission...

Sabin Center Files Comments on Alaska LNG Project

By Justin Gundlach, Climate Law Fellow The Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project is enormous. It is designed to link natural gas drilling operations on the North Slope of Alaska to liquefaction facilities in Nikiski (south of Anchorage) via an 800-mile pipeline. The Natural Gas Act assigns the...