An Analysis of Climate Change Impacts and Options Relevant to Legal and Policy Issues at the Department of the Interior (DOI)

In March 2007, former Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne established the Department of the Interior's Climate Change Task Force. Three subcommittees were formed to undertake this assignment. This Draft report was issued by the Law & Policy Subcommittee to identify the legal and policy issues facing the DOI and to suggest possible options for addressing them.

For its analysis, the Subcommittee focused on potential climate change effects identified by the Science Subcommittee, including increased temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, and sea level rise. The legal portion of the paper addresses statutes, cases, and executive orders pursuant to which the Department operates and the options to consider administering them.  In addition, that section highlights some longer-term legal issues that may ultimately arise and challenge the Department's ability to manage its lands and resources in the future. The policy portion of the paper reviews materials developed by the Department and options the Secretary could consider in responding more fully to the challenges anticipated by climate change. The Task Force draft reports are kept in the Adaptation Clearinghouse given their relevance to actions by the succeeding administration.

Publication Date: 2008

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