The Biden administration is replacing the Obama-era emissions policy withdrawn by Trump

The Biden administration on Friday issued new guidelines for including greenhouse gas emissions in federal agencies’ environmental assessments, replacing Obama-era guidelines that were withdrawn by the Trump administration.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) guidance follows a rule of April’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It also updates the Obama-era guidance to reflect updated climate science.

The updated guidance also instructs agencies to apply a “ground rule” whereby more impactful projects are subject to more in-depth analysis.

“Disclosure and reduction of emissions will ensure we build sustainable, resilient infrastructure for the 21st century and beyond,” CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory said in a statement. “These updated guidelines will provide greater certainty and predictability for green infrastructure projects, help grow our clean energy economy, and help meet President Biden’s climate and infrastructure goals.”

Climate advocates called the guidance an improvement and an important step forward, but said it should be a first step for further action.

Evergreen co-founder and senior adviser Sam Ricketts called the initial Obama-era guidance “pretty weak” even before the Trump administration withdrew it. The new guidelines, he said, make “significant improvements” in the way federal agencies account for climate impacts.

“It also includes some innovations in how government agencies can streamline projects that actually reduce climate pollution and think about how NEPA could be streamlined for clean energy projects or projects that actually present climate solutions,” he said.

However, Ricketts said that not only could the guidance provide more comprehensive guidance for authorities, “this is just guidance for authorities, which is vital, but it’s not really a requirement that they use this guidance and consider climate impacts as part of a.” really evaluate project.”

Environmentalists, he said, hope to see the results of more concrete NEPA regulations from CEQ in the near future.

“Guidelines are only as effective as they are used by agencies on projects in actual legal processes,” he said. “And so it will be on the administration to make sure that happens.” The Biden administration is replacing the Obama-era emissions policy withdrawn by Trump

Sarah Y. Kim

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