April 3, 2013

Guidelines for considering climate change - coming soon

President Obama is preparing to tell federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways. The standards, which constitute guidance for agencies and not new regulations, are set to be issued in the coming weeks, said lawyers briefed by administration officials.

For example, Ambre Energy Ltd. is seeking a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to build a coal export facility at the Port of Morrow in Oregon. Under existing rules, officials weighing approval would consider whether ships in the port would foul the water or generate air pollution locally.

The Environmental Protection Agency and activist groups say that review should be broadened to account for the greenhouse gases emitted when exported coal is burned in power plants in Asia.

Similar analyses could be made for the oil sands that would be transported in Trans­Canada Corp.'s Keystone XL pipeline and leases to drill for oil, gas and coal on federal lands, such as those for Arch Coal Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp. [Boston Globe]
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