National Environmental Policy Act

Federal environmental requirements and regulations have been relaxed (or are proposed to be relaxed) since President Trump was elected, but those environmental regulatory changes have not yet realized benefits for renewable energy and transmission project permitting.

As mainstream media sources like the New York Times have reported, the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken environmental laws has been somewhat substantial; to date, 67 environmental actions have been targeted by the administration, including 33 that already have been overturned, 24 with rollbacks in progress, and 10 regulations in limbo. However, most of those regulatory changes are unrelated to transmission or renewable energy project permitting. And even those regulatory changes that are loosely related to permitting haven’t yet impacted the speed with which permits are issued by federal agencies (or state agencies with delegated authority to implement federal programs), or the number of permits issued (versus denied). However, the key here is that the impacts haven’t been realized yet; permit processing efficiency and issuance are likely to improve as time goes on, particularly since some of the changes are directly intended to speed up permitting.
Continue Reading Trump Administration Actions to Relax Environmental Regulations Should Eventually Benefit Renewable Energy and Transmission Project Permitting

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Fulfilling repeated campaign pledges to roll back the Obama administration’s climate change initiatives, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order yesterday targeting key Obama-era regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and emission standards for the oil and gas industry. The executive order states that it is in the interest of the nation to promote development of energy resources “while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.” The multi-faceted approach taken by the order makes it clear that this Administration views any regulation of climate change or carbon pollution as “unnecessary.” 
Continue Reading Trump’s Executive Order Takes a Multi-Faceted Approach to Eliminating Climate Change Regulation

Wind Turbines Row_Energy_166108490Both the House and the Senate are considering a proposed law, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015, to streamline permitting for renewable energy development projects on public land. Hearings were held by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on S.1407 on June 9, and by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on an identical bill, H.R. 2663, on July 13.
Continue Reading Proposed Law Would Create Opportunities for Renewable Energy Development on Public Lands