House Passes Bill Banning ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ From Environmental Reviews

By Zachary Leshin | September 29, 2015 | 11:18am EDT

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). (AP photo)

( -- The House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that forbids federal agencies from including the "social cost of carbon" in their environmental reviews.

"A lead agency may not use the social cost of carbon in the environmental review or environmental decision making process,” according to a summary of the bill, which passed the House on a 233-170 vote.

The bill,known as the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2015 (RAPID Act) was introduced in January by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill in March.

The bill also seeks to streamline the regulatory permit process by limiting federally-funded projects to just one environmental impact statement.

“No more than one environmental impact statement and one environmental assessment for a project must be prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for a project, except for supplemental environmental documents prepared under NEPA or environmental documents prepared pursuant to a court order,” according to the summary.

The bill also limits the time period in which NEPA-based lawsuits can be filed and requires regulatory agencies to “identify the potential effects of the alternative on employment, including potential short-term and long-term employment increases and reductions and shifts in employment.

During the floor debate on Thursday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) pointed out that the bill “gives lead Federal agencies more responsibility to conduct and conclude efficient interagency reviews of permit requests, demands that any entity challenging a final permitting decision in court first have presented the substance of its claims during the agency review process, and requires that lawsuits challenging permitting decisions be filed within six months of the decisions, not six years, as the law currently allows.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. (AP photo)

“These are simple, but powerful, reforms that will allow good projects to move forward more quickly, delivering high-quality jobs and improvements to Americans' daily lives,” Goodlatte noted.

But Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the committee's ranking member, criticized the bill during that same debate, saying: “This measure would jeopardize public safety and health by prioritizing project approval over meaningful analysis that is currently required under the National Environmental Policy Act.”

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