In mid-September, an appeals court ordered the federal government to rethink the climate change impacts of two giant coal mines, putting other fossil fuel projects on notice. This Bloomberg BNA article quotes Michelle Nowlin (Duke Law professor) on this development. Language in the National Environmental Policy Act requires that federal agencies follow the best available science—and that provides a bulwark against any given administration’s rejection of scientific consensus, Nowlin said.
“An agency can’t do a thorough assessment of impacts without looking at what the science says,” Nowlin told Bloomberg BNA. “Is there consensus? To what degree is there disagreement? What is the integrity and reliability of the different models that are used to assess that impact? That’s not something that any administration is going to get away from. The law is the law.”