The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking the commission that approves energy projects to begin incorporating climate change impacts in its environmental reviews used for project approvals.
The EPA advised that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission look at the social cost of carbon — the dollar value of economic damages that would result from the emission of an additional ton of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere — when considering natural gas infrastructure projects.
The recommendation was filed by officials from regional EPA offices on two separate projects, one in Connecticut and New York and another in Pennsylvania.
“Climate change is inherently a major, significant impact of each fossil fuel project,” an EPA Region 3 official wrote in a filing about the Pennsylvania project.
The EPA also urged FERC to consider the local and regional impacts of methane emissions as a precursor to ozone, a toxic air pollutant regulated by the EPA.
In early August, a federal appeals court ruled that FERC violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it undertook a “deficient” environmental analysis to approve the construction of liquefied natural gas marine terminals in Cameron County, Texas.
The court ordered FERC to further analyze the impacts of the proposed terminals on climate change and local low-income and minority communities.