Major Protections Introduced For U.S Environmental Laws
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the foundation of all environmental laws in the U.S., and the Biden administration has taken significant steps to reestablish its full powers.
Under Trump, significant portions of it were eliminated, and that made NEPA a lot less powerful, making any hope for climate justice very difficult to achieve. And the reason this is so important is all tied to the current budget and infrastructure debates.
With the federal government working on the budget reconciliation bill, there is a lot of pressure to secure investment for green energy and other environmental protections. What NEPA will do is establish a framework under which such investments can take place.
CleanTechnica has reported some details that highlight how this could deliver meaningful changes.
“The requirement that federal agencies evaluate all environmental impacts of their permitting decisions — direct, indirect, and cumulative effects. This includes climate change. It’s a big deal.”
The NEPA regulations also bring one other important concept, and that is a floor, rather than a ceiling, for environmental standards. It seems like any ceilings that ever come through regulations end up being lifted.
NEPA also enforces that new projects that impact the environment look at what’s best for the community and not just what’s best for the applicants.
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