Category Archives: NEPA & State NEPA

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When Does $1,000,000,000,000 ≠ $1,000,000,000,000?

The long-anticipated Trump infrastructure plan is almost ready, but the preview of that plan as reflected in the administration’s proposed FY 2018 budget has already prompted strong reactions.  Two things are clear: the promised $1 trillion dollar investment in infrastructure may be illusory, at best, and the plan’s outline represents a fundamental shift in the … Continue Reading

What’s the Buzz? Tell Me What’s A-Happening

When the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service placed the rusty patched bumblebee on the endangered species list back on March 21, many observers wondered how this action could impact a wide variety of infrastructure development proposals.  Unlike some of the recent controversial species management actions that implicated areas of the American west more accustomed to … Continue Reading

Poof! Administration Makes CEQ Greenhouse Gas NEPA Guidance Disappear. Or Did It?

The duo of Penn & Teller is one of my favorite acts. I appreciate not only their irreverent sense of humor, but their unabashed respect for their audiences.  Their tricks are designed to amaze, but they just as quickly reveal exactly how they performed the illusion.  Somehow, knowing how their magic works in no way … Continue Reading

Water Project Secures Appellate Win in Arduous NEPA Journey

When politicians seek to target NEPA as the primary culprit for delays in major infrastructure projects, I am consistently one of the voices urging caution. Many realities create delay, most often, the lack of funding to get large-scale projects off the ground. We know that most federal projects get through the NEPA compliance by issuance of a … Continue Reading

Infrastructure Gets Top Billing from President-Elect Trump

President-Elect Trump’s election night statement specifically called out infrastructure, above all other domestic policy concerns, as a focus of his new Administration. Despite some initial rumblings from the conservative wing of the Republican Party about more government spending, it seems likely that enough members of both parties could work with the Trump White House to … Continue Reading

Avoiding NEPA – Even for “Worthy Goals” – Is Never Advisable

From the very first day of my legal career, clients have asked me some variation of this question:  “Why can’t we just prepare a shorter Environmental Assessment (EA) or even issue a Categorical Exclusion (no analysis at all) instead of doing a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for our project?” The answer is almost always … Continue Reading

The Demise of the Illiana Expressway: Another Court Rejects Development Modeling Projections

While it may go down as a classic case of “bad facts making bad law,” last week’s ruling rejecting the government’s NEPA analysis for the controversial Illiana Expressway is the just the latest in a disturbing trend for large infrastructure development and Public-Private Partnership (P3) financing. Ironically, just a couple of weeks before Judge Jorge Alonso … Continue Reading
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