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Federal Adaptation Policy under Existing Law Workshop

Sponsored by CLEAR, The Nicholas Institute, and the Center for Progressive Reform
April 12, 2010

On April 12, 2010, CLEAR the Nicholas Institute, and CPR hosted a workshop of academics, government agents, and the private sector to discuss what path could be taken under existing federal law to address adaptation policy.

The participants specifically addressed the issue of protection of federal resources and ability of the federal government to fund the state and localities in their protection of public and private resources. Highlights of the workshop included the determinations that:

  1. There is clear authority under NEPA for federal agencies to take actions to consider climate change and thus adaptation on federal resources. The recent CEQ guidance clarifies this, and even though it leaves open the impact on federal lands for comment, this does not diminish the inherent authority for such consideration under NEPA.
  2. It would be helpful to have agency specific protocols for implementing consideration of climate changed resources over time (including what should be considered and how).
  3. We need more data in what actual impacts will be on particular federal resources. Actions could be taken to create and share more data on impacted resources with states and localities.
  4. FLPMA also provides the authority to consider the big picture of climate change impacts and how to adapt on federal lands, but there is a lag in updating all of the plans required by the Act. In the interim, it is helpful to have the CEQ guidance to direct consideration of the issue when it is not specifically a part of a FLPMA plan.
  5. The CZMA provides funding from the federal government for states to take actions in climate change adaptation inside their designated coastal area. This area varies by state. Some funds for disaster recovery may also be used for adaptation planning and implementation.
  6. USGS Wildlife Funding may also be available for adaptation.
  7. A more comprehensive law might be preferable, particularly for purposes of providing federal funding to states and localities for adaptation action.

Read the agenda and the description of the goals of the workshop.

Other related documents

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