President Joe BidenThe White House on Friday issued new guidance for federal agencies to assess greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts when reviewing proposed infrastructure projects.

updated guidance The White House Council on Environmental Quality reversed a major industry-friendly Trump-era move by the administration Repairs The National Environmental Policy Act, one of the country’s foundational environmental laws. It complements a White House rule last year that required federal agencies to once again evaluate all climate Environmental impact when reviewing pipelines, power plants, airports and other projects.

Nepa Reviews »Quantification of proposed works should be done. [greenhouse gas] emissions, place GHG emissions in the appropriate context and disclose relevant GHG emissions and relevant climate impacts, and identify alternatives and mitigation measures to avoid or reduce GHG emissions,” reads the new guidance.

CEQ President Brenda Mallory said in a statement that the guidelines “Make sure we’re building sustainable, resilient infrastructure for 21scheduled tribe century and beyond.

Since 1970, NEPA has protected the air, water, and land by requiring federal regulators to conduct detailed environmental assessments of major infrastructure projects. In 2020, the Trump administration finalized the first major update to the law in more than four decades, part of a broader administration effort to fast-track energy projects and other developments. As well as allowing agencies to ignore climate impacts, the rewrite largely left the public out of the environmental review process. Critics condemned the rollback attack on environmental justiceBecause low-income people and communities of color are often the ones most affected by large-scale infrastructure projects.

The new White House Council recommendations replace and build on 2016 guidance from the Obama administration that was rescinded shortly after the Trump administration took office. In addition to prioritizing greenhouse gas emissions in the environmental review process, federal agencies are required to “identify any communities with environmental justice concerns” and “to consider impacts from proposed actions that may potentially result from climate change.” associated hazards such as storm surge”, heat waves, droughts, floods and sea level changes.

The guidance also distinguishes between renewable energy projects and carbon-intensive infrastructure, instructing regulators to “apply the rule of reason when determining the appropriate depth of analysis”.

“Absent exceptional circumstances, the relatively modest and short-term GHG emissions associated with the construction of some renewable energy projects, such as utility-scale solar and offshore wind, should not warrant a detailed analysis of lifetime GHG emissions,” it reads.

The White House directive comes after a sweeping permissive reform package led by Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) repeatedly failed to garner enough support in the Senate.

Environmental groups applauded the new NEPA guidance. Abigail Dillon, President of EarthJustice, called him “A huge accomplishment for frontline communities fighting to make their voices heard across the country” and “a must for federal agencies leading the way on our path to a just, zero-emissions future.”

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