Environmental regulation of infrastructure projects continues to rollback
There have been many changes to environmental regulation impacting infrastructure development since President Trump took office. The Harvard Law School Environmental Law Program is tracking these regulatory rollbacks. This website contains great background information on the regulations and status.
There are two actions in particular that have implications on how we evaluate environmental impacts for infrastructure projects. The first being a change to climate guidance for National Environmental Policy Act review and the second regarding the definition of Waters of the U.S.
The March 2017 Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth rescinded certain energy and climate-related presidential and regulatory actions, including the Council of Environmental Quality’s Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews. This means that NEPA documents now being prepared are not including mention of climate change.
Presidential Executive Order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the “Waters of the United States” Rule includes directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review the Waters of the US definition included in the 2015 Clean Water Act Rule. Until this gets resolved, definition of the Waters of the US remains in flux causing uncertainty.
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