Rachel Jacobson and Matthew Ferraro authored their second annual analysis of how the US’s massive yearly defense authorization legislation could impact energy, the environment and natural resources, and legal practitioners in these areas. Their article was published in the March 2019 issue of Environmental Law Reporter, a publication of the Environmental Law Institute.
Titled “Environmental Deconfliction 2019: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2019," this year’s analysis once again makes the point that the annual legislation that funds Department of Defense (DoD) activities, has “worldwide ramifications” and “may be one of the most significant pieces of energy and environmental legislation most people have never heard of.”
Of the current fiscal year’s funding bill, Ms. Jacobson, WilmerHale special counsel, and Mr. Ferraro, senior associate, write: “While political debates about climate change continue and plans for infrastructure investment move slowly, the NDAA takes significant steps in both areas— improving the resilience of DoD installations to meet climate change risks, preparing for a warming Arctic, authorizing DoD to invest directly in community infrastructure, and many others. It also authorizes millions of dollars to study the effects of fire-suppression chemicals called per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that may pose a substantial litigation risk for DoD, corporate manufacturers, and others. Considering that all of this legislative activity falls under the umbrella of national security, the NDAA’s energy and environmental policy choices do not map clearly onto familiar political labels.”