On May 15, the Bush Administration is required to decide whether to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Department of Interior already has proposed to list the polar bear as threatened due to melting arctic ice. Environmental groups have indicated a listing could lead to the application of the ESA for the first time to a wide range of projects and facilities across the entire United States, potentially adding significant procedural requirements by making broad sectors of facilities subject to ESA consultation processes, thereby adding to both cost and time. The May 15 decision provides a timely opportunity to address the developing trend of groups citing the ESA and the National Environmental Policy Act to oppose projects where climate change concerns are raised, as well as surveying other recent and upcoming developments in climate change regulations.
Sidley will host a teleconference on this subject, to address such questions as:
- How could a listing decision impact investment in future projects?
- What are potential strategies to ease challenges that may appear on the horizon?
- Beyond the ESA, how should NEPA documents address climate change impacts?
- What other climate change regulatory developments are anticipated in the near term?