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CLIME-ING UP THE INFRASTRUCTURE: The White House on Thursday rescinded Trump-era draft guidance that proposed to limit the consideration of greenhouse gas emissions in infrastructure decisions.
The 2019 draft sought to prevent consideration of long-term emissions impacts deemed “remote or speculative” in analyses required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
NEPA requires environmental impact analyses to be carried out ahead of projects such as pipelines, highways and drilling on public lands.
The 2019 guidance aimed to replace an Obama administration guidance.
The Trump administration billed its move as a way to expedite federal permits.
The Obama guidance, issued in 2016, recommended that agencies use projected greenhouse gas emissions when preparing the analyses as a stand-in for estimating a project’s climate change impacts.
The White House is now encouraging agencies to consider all available resources in considering climate change impacts of their actions, including the 2016 guidance “as appropriate and relevant.”
GASSING UP: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) limited out-of-state natural gas shipments as Texas struggles with severe winter weather, low temperatures and widespread power outages.
The Texas governor announced on Wednesday that natural gas would be restricted from leaving the state through Feb. 21 to allow for power generators to have enough gas to function. Bloomberg News reported that the order would mandate gas be sold in Texas before becoming available across state lines.
“I hereby mandate that all sourced natural gas be made available for sale to local power generation opportunities before leaving the state of Texas, effective through February 21, 2021,” Abbott said in a letter to the Texas Railroad Commission. “I ask that you immediately take all reasonable and necessary steps to ensure that this mandate is carried out.”
Abbott said that his disaster declaration, announced last week ahead of the winter storm, allows him to make such an order. But some experts disagree, saying it violates the Constitution’s commerce clause by hindering interstate trade.
GUNNING FOR A CHANGE: Lawmakers on the House Natural Resources Committee clashed Thursday over a panel rule ensuring that guns are prohibited in its hearing room.
An amendment aiming to strip the provision from the rules failed on a 19-25 vote, but not without sharp debate.
The Republican side: “This is an enumerated right that American citizens have,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) said over Zoom during the virtual hearing with several firearms visible behind her.
“Will there be metal detectors installed outside the committee hearing doors? If this is passed, the chairman is trying to take responsibility for my personal safety…