National Environmental Policy Act

News & Analysis as of

Environmental Impact Analysis — The Impact of a Project on the Environment or the Impact of the Environment on a Project?

Traditionally, environmental impact analysis, under NEPA and state analogs, has focused on the impacts that a proposed project may have on the environment. In Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental...more

Sea level rise and coastal LNG terminals

Should federal agencies consider climate change and sea-level rise as they review the environmental impacts of liquefied natural gas terminals? Yes, according to letters recently filed with the Federal Energy...more

If They Could Be All You Wanted: The FCC Gets Serious About Small Cells

Say what you will about inside-the-Beltway leadership vacuums, political gridlock and the indecipherable output from the grey, grinding gears of our government agencies, but once in a while Washington actually gets it right. ...more

Two petitions filed seeking Supreme Court review of Ninth Circuit decision in Delta smelt case

Recently, two separate petitions were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority v. Jewell, a case involving a challenge to the biological...more

BLM Issues Proposed Rule to Establish Competitive Leasing for Renewable Energy Projects on Public Lands

On September 30, 2014, the Bureau of Land Management issued a proposed rule that would establish competitive processes, terms, and conditions, including rental and bonding requirements, for solar and wind energy development...more

District of Arizona Rethinks NEPA’s Zone of Interests in Light of Recent Supreme Court Opinion on “Prudential” Standing

On September 30, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona (Campbell, D.J.) issued an order in Yount v. Salazar, Nos. 11-8171 et al., 2014 WL 4904423 (D. Ariz. Sept. 30, 2014). As part of this order,...more

California Oil and Gas Update: In-depth look at the California BLM's fracking decision

Oil and gas lease sales on public lands set to resume in 2015 based upon independent fracking report - On August 28, 2014 the California State Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signaled its intent to...more

Three NEPA Practices That Should Go the Way of Voting on Tuesdays

...national elections are still held on Tuesdays early in November and it appears to be stuck that way, even at the expense of broader citizen engagement. NEPA practice follows this same trend, often at the expense of...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - September 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: House GOP bill would speed up environmental reviews: KPCC - Sep 9: As negotiations over compromise drought legislation flounder in Congress, House Republicans are pursuing an alternative...more

The Future of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Exports under the Department of Energy’s Revised Review Process

During the last two years, we have seen the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) pick up the pace in granting conditional authorizations for companies to export liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) to countries that do not have a Free...more

Energy & Environment Update - August 2014 #3

In This Issue: - Extenders Déjà Vu: Fate of Expired Clean Energy Tax Provisions Closely Tied to Election - Congress - Administration - Department of Commerce - Department of Energy -...more

Lost Opportunity On US LNG Exports

IN A MOVE THAT COULD SIGNIFICANTLY SHAKE UP THE GLOBAL LNG MARKET, THE US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY RECENTLY ANNOUNCED SEVERAL DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING NATURAL GAS EXPORTS, INCLUDING A PROPOSED RULE CHANGE FOR REVIEWING APPLICATIONS...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

Federal Agencies Need to Address “Controversial” Social Cost of Carbon in NEPA Cost-Benefit Analysis

A federal district court in Colorado recently issued a decision faulting federal agencies for failing to calculate the social cost of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the basis that such a calculation was not feasible. The...more

D.C. Circuit Rules that FERC May Not Segment Its Evaluation of the Environmental Impact of Related Natural Gas Pipeline...

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion holding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it segmented its evaluation of the...more

Fish and Wildlife Announces In-Depth Review of Eagle Management Policy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it intended to conduct either a NEPA environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS) concerning its bald and golden eagle management...more

More Pipeline Development Projects: What America Needs

National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) challenges to pipeline projects and other natural gas infrastructure have become a commonplace tool in recent years for environmental groups seeking to defeat or delay midstream...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Review Eagle Permit Rules

On Friday, June 20, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) announced its plans to engage the public in a review of how permits are issued for the non-purposeful take of bald and golden eagles under the Bald and...more

Tennessee Gas Decision: Oil & Gas Implications

On June 6, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled that the FERC violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by improperly "segmenting" its NEPA analysis of a four-part upgrade to Tennessee Gas...more

D.C. Circuit to FERC: Environmental Review of “Related” Pipeline Expansion Projects Must Consider Cumulative Effects, Even After...

On June 6, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, that could significantly impact efforts to expand...more

Massachusetts Environmental and Land Use Alert

Boston Colleges Take Brownfields Tax Credit Fight to Court - Three Boston-area colleges sued the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in August claiming that “clarifying” changes made to the Massachusetts Brownfields Tax...more

Nossaman Partner Provides Expertise to NCHRP's Second Volume Addressing Management of NEPA-Related Risks in Project Delivery

The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (“TRB”) has released its second volume of guidance addressing risks in project delivery, including risks associated with the National Environmental Policy Act...more

D.C. Circuit Court Requires FERC To Consolidate its NEPA Review of Nominally Separate Interstate Gas Pipeline Projects

On June 6, 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion holding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acted improperly in separately analyzing the environmental impacts of several nominally separate...more

DOE Proposes "Environment First" Prioritization for LNG Export Review

On May 29, 2014, the Department of Energy proposed a new approach to conducting its reviews of proposed projects to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-FTA countries. The new approach could slow the approval process at...more

DOE proposes major changes to LNG export rules, comments due July 21

The US Department of Energy is proposing to change its rules and procedures for reviewing applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the US (non-FTA...more

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