Jonathan Jay, National Director discussed on The Takeaway

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

To make it more Jonathan Jay's green is the national director of let the next out reach for Elizabeth Warren Jonathan thanks for joining us thanks so much for having me both January first March fifty years since the passage of the national environmental policy act legislation established the broad framework to ensure the federal government takes into account the environmental impact of federally funded projects but on the laws anniversary president trump wasn't in a celebratory mood instead he released a statement arguing that the actors complex difficult to navigate and leads to high costs and delays the administration has proposed changes to the act were federal agencies would no longer have to take climate change into account when planning for future infrastructure projects joining me now is Lisa freedman a reporter on the climate desk at the New York times Lisa welcome to the take away thanks for having me so it sounds like a pretty major change to this role is it it's a pretty major change to a pretty major law not a lot of people know who need time it's not as as well known as you know the Endangered Species Act of the clean air act but if you've ever had port built in your town or a road widened or eighty type line going through your community you know need that because this is the law that requires an environmental review an environmental assessment of it every major federal project how is climate change factored into the environmental review process now for infrastructure projects and if that's removed what would that mean there's actually a number of changes that are going to be released later today let me back up and say that that the regulation itself we're told it's not going to use the words climate change what it's going to say is that agencies do not have to consider what's known as the cumulative effects or or in packs of new infrastructure and in recent years courts have interpreted that to mean the government needs to study whether this project will itself in men or or lead to a significant increase of greenhouse gas emissions which will help to warm the planet into the atmosphere on the other hand it also requires that agencies study whether a project will be threatened by climate change to be clear this is a proposed change to the act what has to happen next need a is the law itself it can only be changed by Congress what the administration is proposing are changes to the regulations that guide the implementation of the law this is a proposed regulation change there will probably be a a sixty day where the public can comment and the White House is certainly looking to put out a final rule before the election it'll be tight but it you know it folks seem to think that can be can be done after that it it really is going to be lawsuits city so it's going to be a long road there's a question of whether this will hold up in court it will certainly be challenged but once these rules are finalized later at the end of the year it will go into effect and less it is successfully challenged Disney but actually have any enforcement mac Ms in terms of how it informs the public or actually prevents bad things from happening in the environment yes to the first part noted the second under nepa a project can the Horton the environments but what nepa requires is that the public be informed that a project may harm the environment and it outlines various options agencies are required to offer various options for how we will proceed with the project from the lowest impact to the highest it could choose a route that significantly impact the environment but what Nita does is ensure that the public knows what's happening why does the trump administration want to change this rule it's been very controversial for a very long time neat that has been used by environmental groups to challenge projects time and time again the administration when they unveiled their proposal will point to projects that have taken many many years to be completed because of the need to process you know in many many conservatives have have complained that this process is long and bureaucratic and arduous and stifles economic development over the years you found that you know are middle groups has agreed that needs that can often be cumbersome they argue that it ultimately though fundamentally safeguards wildlife their habitat and broadly the you know the environment and.

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