New guidelines released this week by the Biden administration direct federal agencies to prioritize greenhouse gas emissions and other climate effects associated with reviews of energy and other infrastructure projects, but they also dispense with reviews of renewable energy projects from including comprehensive analysis of their emissions impacts.
The new guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality said agencies reviewing renewable energy projects under the National Environmental Policy Act “should generally quantify projected GHG emission reductions” but they may apply “the rule of reason when determining the appropriate depth of analysis.”
Renewable energy projects effectively deserve a pass in their reviews because they would be expected to result in net GHG emission reductions or no net GHG increase, the guidance said.
However, project reviews for traditional fossil fuel projects would be held to a higher standard, requiring analysis of “reasonably foreseeable direct and indirect GHG emissions.”
Also this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a proposal to tighten air quality standards regulating soot pollution, a move that could add to regulatory requirements for coal-fired power plants.
The proposal would reduce allowable levels of fine particle pollution to a range of 9-10 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter; current standards at 12 micrograms per cubic meter “does not protect public health with an adequate margin of safety,” the EPA said.
Authore – Abhi bhardwaj