Law360 quoted Cynthia Taub in a January 9 article titled "Trump Climate Change Review Rollback a Boon for Pipelines." The article discusses how new pipeline projects could get off the ground more quickly under a Trump administration plan to eliminate the assessment of broader climate change impacts from environmental vetting for future oil and gas infrastructure. The White House proposed streamlining the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) evaluation process for projects like pipelines in part by eliminating the review of "cumulative effects," a term that can include a range of issues like climate change.
Taub, who leads Steptoe's NEPA permitting and litigation practice, tells Law360 that because NEPA's actual language is brief and its provisions are driven more by regulation than the statute's text, the Trump administration has a lot of power to make revisions.
"The statute basically says [you've] got to do the study and it has got to consider alternatives, but it doesn't say anything about cumulative impacts. It doesn't say anything about, obviously, climate change. So there is lots of room for [the Council on Environmental Quality] to really redo what NEPA is all about," Taub says.
The full article can be read at Law360 (subscription required).