September 5, 2013 @ 12:15 pm – 1:30 pm
Holland & Hart
222 Main Street
Climate change can impact a project directly, as when sea level rise threatens a coastal transportation project, or influence the environmental impact of a project, as when climate change is projected to further decrease or degrade a species’ habitat. How should (or must) these climate adaptation considerations be addressed during environmental review processes? In 2010, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released Draft NEPA Guidance on Consideration of the Effects of Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The draft climate guidance addresses many aspects of adaptation review , including instructing agencies how to determine which climate change impacts warrant consideration, cautioning agencies to respect the “rule of reason” when deciding the appropriate emphasis and level of detail to devote to the assessment of the impacts of climate change, and directing that climate change impacts should be incorporated into the reasonably foreseeable future condition of the affected environment. Many questions remain, however, about how to incorporate projected climate change impacts into environmental review. This talk reviews agency guidance, case law, and select environmental review documents prepared pursuant to NEPA to better understand how climate change impacts should (or must) be addressed in environmental review.