Agency compliance with other environmental mandates
There is some concern that an endangerment finding, and some of the language used to support the finding, will make it more difficult to comply with NEPA and other environmental planning statutes.
This finding and the associated emission standards for these six greenhouse gases.
may make it much more expensive and difficult to develop other air quality standards (NAAQS in particular). For example, EPA has recently asked BLM to
use models that sometimes exceed current budgets in developing resource management plans and environmental impact statements. Also, there are currently no models available that forecast the potential impacts of greenhouse gases on climate change at the regional or local level, which are the levels at which our decisions are made. This rule also could make findings that would leave agencies vulnerable to litigation alleging “inadequate NEPA” due to new information (i.e., the endangerment finding) that was not considered when the EIS was developed. Without a model available, an agency would be left with little ability to respond because (i) there are no standards to serve as thresholds, (ii) there are no tools to analyze impacts, and (iii) the cost of analyzing impacts could be exorbitant.
Unnecessarily broad or expansive language with respect to the effects of GHGs or the certainty with which effects will occur could create a basis for finding all GHG emissions significant for purposes of NEPA analysis, thus requiring an EIS
for all direct and indirect effects that change GHG emissions in any amount. Similarly, EPA should be very careful to state which effects are significant and their scale to avoid unintentionally trigger NEPA for Federal actions not otherwise considered to have environmental impacts.