In this presentation, Jessica Wentz, Associate Director for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, explores emerging legal questions related to how practicing attorneys and federal agencies should account for climate change in environmental review documents prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Specifically, her course focuses on two areas of legal uncertainty and controversy that are currently being litigated in federal courts. For each of these two topics, she discusses the relevant statutory and regulatory provisions, as well as relevant case law.
First, Ms. Wentz discusses the proper scope of indirect emissions that should be evaluated in NEPA reviews. She then focuses on a particular subset of projects—fossil fuel production and extraction—and the extent to which agencies must account for emissions from upstream and downstream activities in the fossil fuel supply chain, such as the combustion of fossil fuels that are produced or transported as a result of the proposed action.
Second, the course examines whether NEPA require attorneys and agencies to evaluate the effects of climate change on the proposed action and its affected environment when conducting NEPA reviews. We consider how climate-related phenomena such as sea level rise and drought can affect infrastructure and resource management project in a manner which can both undermine the viability of the project and exacerbate its environmental consequences.
I. Understand the scope of indirect greenhouse gas emissions that should be included in NEPA reviews for fossil fuel-related projects, and the extent to which there is uncertainty about some categories of indirect emissions:
II. Identify how the impacts of climate change can affect projects undergoing NEPA review, and how these effects can be meaningfully analyzed in a NEPA document:
Jessica Wentz joined the Sabin Center in September 2014 as an Associate Director and Postdoctoral Fellow. Her work at the Sabin Center spans a variety of topics related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable development, and environmental justice. She currently conducts research on U.S. regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, legal requirements for disclosing climate-related considerations in environmental impact assessments, and international strategies for addressing climate-induced displacement and migration.
Prior to joining the Center, Jessica was a Visiting Associate Professor and Environmental Program Fellow at the George Washington University Law School. She is a 2012 graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was awarded the Alfred S. Forsyth Prize for "dedication to the advancement of environmental law." She also has a B.A. in international development from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Excellent. Get the word out to address Climate Change yesterday.
Excellent presentation. Unfortunately, due to the anti-environment and anti-science stance of the current administration, many of the critical rules discussed are being dismantled or ignored.
Complex area made understandable by able presenter.
I AM RETIRED AND NEVER DEALT WITH THIS ISSUE PROFFESIONALLY WITH THIS ISSUE. I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS PROGRAM TO ANYONE WITH A SINCILLA OF INTEREST. SHE IS ONE OF THE BEST PRESENTERS ALL AREAS. SHE IS ONE OF THE VERY BEST.
Excellent presentation and content.
Interesting and helpful presentation
This was probably the most helpful CLE class I have ever taken. Very well done.
Great presentation on this timely topic.
Refreshing to see a knowledgable young woman as presenter.
Excellent presentation on a topic I knew nothing about.
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