December 18, 2014

Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change Applauds Administration’s New NEPA Guidance

Washington, D.C. – Today the White House Council on Environmental Quality reissued its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Guidance on Consideration of the Effects of Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.  Under the proposed guidance, federal agencies would assess greenhouse gas emissions associated with proposed federal actions that are subject to NEPA review.

Last year, the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change encouraged the Administration to finalize its NEPA guidance as part of a set of recommendations about how best to implement the President’s Climate Action Plan.  In a white paper issued to the Department of Interior the Task Force wrote, “Estimating the greenhouse gas effects of projects undergoing NEPA review will help the federal government and public understand the full range of impacts associated with energy development on federal lands.” 

Today the Task Force’s members are applauding the reissuance and once again calling for the guidance to be finalized.

“This is a big step forward.  Agency heads and the public will now be informed about the climate consequences of federal decisions,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman.  “This is another milestone in implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan.”

“The effects of climate change on our communities and on public health is serious, and should always be considered when we evaluate major federal projects,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.  “I thank the White House for issuing this proposed guidance today, and I hope it will be finalized and implemented in the near future.”

“The National Environmental Protection Act is one of our nation’s most important policy tools for ensuring the protection, maintenance, and enhancement of our environment,” said incoming Bicameral Task Force Co-Chair Congressman Chris Van Hollen.  “As we accelerate our efforts to meet the world’s growing climate challenge, it’s critical that an analysis of greenhouse gas impacts become a standard feature of NEPA review.  Today’s proposed guidance from the White House in this area is most welcome.”

“Public health and our economic security are intertwined with how we address the very real threats from climate change. The federal government should continue to be a leader in setting standards for reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Considering scientific research before proceeding with federal projects, is the right thing to do,” said Sen. Ben Cardin.

“As America enters into a New Energy Renaissance, it is important to make sure that we have in place safeguards that will protect our land, air, and water,” said Rep. Bobby L. Rush.  “I continue to applaud the White House for the steps that it is taking to ensure a safe and clean environmental future for generations to come.”

“If you accept modern science, you cannot deny that climate change is happening.  It’s already affecting our communities and will have extremely serious impacts going forward,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer.  “It’s critically important that the federal government consider greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts of federal projects as part of a larger strategy to address climate change. I applaud the draft plan released today and look forward to its future implementation.”

The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, founded in January 2013, focuses on drawing congressional and public attention to climate change and developing effective policy responses to this urgent challenge.  The current co-chairs are Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. Bobby L. Rush, Sen. Ben Cardin, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and Sen. Ed Markey.  Rep. Van Hollen is an incoming co-chair, taking Rep. Waxman’s place starting in January.


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