Institute for Policy Integrity

Twitter @policyintegrity

What We Do

Project Updates

  • Public Comments

    Comments on EPA Methane Rule Stay

    December 15, 2017

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently paused certain requirements to reduce methane leaks and emissions from new oil and gas facilities. In its “notice of data availability” for the proposed stay, EPA claims that the compliance costs of reducing these emissions exceed the benefits to the public and to industry. Our comments argue that EPA manipulated economics to make this claim. EPA undervalued the social cost of methane emissions and claimed that the forgone benefits of the rule are only $5.4 to 23 million per year, when EPA’s original estimates said the rule would create public benefits of $140-180 million per year.

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  • Public Comments

    Public Comments on Regulatory Review (SBA, NCUA, FDA, DOT and USCBP)

    December 14, 2017

    Federal agencies continue to request the public’s suggestions for rules to repeal or reform, tacitly implying that most regulations stifle economic growth. In comments to several agencies, we argue that regulatory review should consider the public benefits of regulation, not just the costs to regulated industries, and should prioritize review of rules for which actual costs and benefits diverge significantly from predicted costs and benefits. We also recommend that agencies develop prospective plans for regulatory review going forward. The agencies for which we recently filed comments include Small Business Administration, Department of Transportation, National Credit Union Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and Customs and Border Control Bureau.

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  • News

    ACUS Adopts Recommendations on Marketable Permits

    December 14, 2017

    The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), an independent federal agency that recommends improvements to government processes and procedures, recently approved a set of recommendations from Policy Integrity’s Jason Schwartz concerning marketable permits. Marketable permits, in the appropriate context, are a powerful tool for achieving policy objectives more efficiently, by letting market participants buy and sell compliance obligations. But like all markets, permit markets require proper oversight to prevent market manipulation. The new recommendations adopted by ACUS provide agencies with best practices on structuring and overseeing marketable permit programs.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on the Clean Water Rule’s “Applicability Date”

    December 13, 2017

    The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corp of Engineers’ newest attempt to delay implementation of the Clean Water Rule adds an “applicability date” to the original rule. Our comments to EPA argue that this “applicability date” is effectively an administrative stay of the Rule, which the Agency has no authority to issue. Moreover, delaying implementation of the Clean Water Rule will have substantial negative economic consequences, as detailed in our report on the rule. And the agencies have not provided an adequate justification for imposing these costs on society.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Scope of Bill Impact Study to New York

    December 11, 2017

    New York State is carefully considering rate design reforms that could be adopted by utilities to provide efficient incentives for adoption of distributed energy resources. Studies on customer bill impacts of such rate design changes are necessarily going to be an important factor in moving forward. Our comments on the scope of bill impact studies emphasize that the effect on consumer bills is just one of the aspects to be considered when looking at rate design changes. In addition, we suggest that DPS give more guidance on the types of rate designs it’s considering, parameters used to model consumer behavior, and the time horizon that the studies cover.

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  • News

    Presentation to New York State Policymakers on Carbon Pricing

    December 11, 2017

    Bethany Davis Noll, our litigation director, and Dr. Jeffrey Shrader, our economics fellow, participated in a Technical Conference on carbon pricing in New York wholesale markets, hosted by the New York State Department of Public Service and the New York Independent System Operator. Davis Noll participated in the roundtable discussion on how best to address any potential leakage, expressed our support for efforts to address the issue, and discussed the legal implications of any such efforts. Shrader participated in the roundtable discussion on revenue allocation, expressed our support for carbon pricing as the most economically efficient and technology neutral way of internalizing climate damages from greenhouse gases, and discussed that there are many ways to use the revenue based on policy priorities as long as the revenue allocation does not undo the incentives carbon pricing creates.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Religious Exemption Rule and Contraception

    December 5, 2017

    Under the Affordable Care Act, federal guidance requires most health insurance plans to cover contraceptive services. Previously only houses of worship and their “integrated auxiliaries” were exempt from this requirement, but a group of agencies recently issued a joint rule expanding this exemption to nonprofits, higher education institutions, closely held for-profit corporations, and publicly traded for-profit corporations with religious objections to providing contraceptive coverage. Our comments argue that the agencies’ cost-benefit analysis for expanding the exemption is unreasonable.

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  • Letters

    Joint Letter to the House Committee on Natural Resources on the Social Cost of Carbon

    November 30, 2017

    We recently submitted a joint letter, coauthored by several environmental groups, to the House Committee on Natural Resources about the “Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act of 2017.” This act, H.R. 3117, seeks to direct agencies to ignore or drastically undervalue climate damages, and would seriously hamper future use and development of economically and scientifically sound estimates for the Social Cost of Carbon. This would result in federal government decisionmaking that fails to adequately account for the enormous social and economic consequences of climate change. In the letter, we urge the Committee to reject this and any other attempt to weaken, minimize or eliminate the requirement that agencies take into account the cost of climate change.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada on the Social Cost of Carbon

    November 30, 2017

    Nevada recently passed SB 65, a bill updating the state’s electricity planning process and boosting resources that provide economic and environmental benefits to the state. The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada subsequently held a series of formal and informal workshops and calls to shape the new regulation required under SB 65. We submitted joint comments with other stakeholders that included consensus language for several sections of the regulation. We also note in these comments that while stakeholders did come to an agreement on most issues, questions remain on how to define the social cost of carbon for the implementing regulation. Accordingly, we submitted supplemental comments to the PUC, discussing how the social cost of carbon is used by several other states, including in state electricity regulations and proceedings. We note that Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, and New York use SCC estimates from the federal Interagency Working Group, and recommend that the Nevada PUC follow a similar approach.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Carbon Pricing in Wholesale Electricity Markets to New York

    November 30, 2017

    Our comments to New York State Department of Public Service and New York Independent System Operator encourage the state to pursue carbon pricing, as it is the most economically efficient and technology-neutral way to internalize climate damages from greenhouse gases. We argue that the price used for carbon damages, the mechanisms to prevent emission leakage, and the allocation of revenue collected from emitting sources will all affect the level of emissions reductions the state can achieve through policy. The design of the program will determine its success in reducing emissions, and we encourage New York to consider carefully the benefits of different implementation plans.

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