ON THE “NO-ACTION ALTERNATIVE”: Legislation on climate change MUST undergo study by ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT — median 3 1/2 years, below — to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including Socio-Economics and Alternatives (including No Action Alternative). So that means, the end of the Biden Era!

Figure 1. Distribution of EIS Completion Time, Council on Environmental Quality, Washington, DC, June 12, 2020, Environmental Impact Statement Timelines (2010–2018)

Simply put, earth-shaking legislation must submit to reason, and that means TIME. No similarly dramatic environmental measure is lawful without intelligent examination under NEPA. To quote our government regarding NEPA and related CEQ:

“… often called the ‘Magna Carta’ of environmental laws…NEPA established this country’s national environmental policies. To implement these policies, NEPA requires agencies to undertake an assessment of the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions.” (Citizen’s Guide to the NEPA, 2020)

This includes the full study of SOCIO-ECONOMICS and ALTERNATIVES including “No-Action”. The original Green New Deal (GND) reads like a Mission Statement, and as such it eloquently and admirably lays out lofty goals and ideals. However, by diluting their remedy to target social DNA (a “shotgun” approach) the authors demonstrate what is commonly referred to as “Scope Creep”.

MAYBE AFTER YOU’RE DONE

To make real progress in the targeted goal of Greening America (and by extension planet Earth), the original resolution actually broadens its irrevocable Socio-Economic effects. Distinguished Senior Fellow Dan Kish of the Institute for Energy Research (IER) said on Oct. 27 this year that “there is no way to live without petroleum in today’s everyday life. The cost of doing it may not even be quantifiable.”

Per Kish and others, simply taking the steps of ending oil and natgas on federal lands and offshore leases, results in:

Loss of up to 7.5 million U.S. jobs in 2022.

Decrease of $7.1 trillion by 2030 in gross domestic product (GDP).

Household income drop of $5,400 annually.

Household energy costs spiraling up by more than $600 per year.
(Tapscott, 2020)*

So listen up: any legislation along the lines of the defunct Green New Deal, would require submission to basic inspection under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and spinoff guidelines of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). That is, Environmental Impact Statements on the legislation are REQUIRED, including study of Socio-Economics, particularly regarding the jobs most impacted.

Robert Ott, PMP
Professor of Energy and Conservation

Professor of Energy and Conservation, holding a Masters of Environmental Engineering, and experienced in Urban Planning & Design.