Institute for Policy Integrity

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Project Updates

Viewing all updates in Climate Change and Energy Policy
  • News

    Response to a Critique of New York State’s Clean Energy Programs

    September 20, 2017

    A recent report criticizing New York’s Clean Energy Standard (“CES”) incorrectly argues that the CO2-reduction benefits from these programs are non-existent. The report claims that the benefits of reducing CO2 emissions with the CES, which are valued using the Social Cost of Carbon (“SCC”), are “effectively zero.” This conclusion and the preceding assertions are incorrect and inconsistent with basic economics. Our response highlights the flaws of the report and explains that New York’s CES in fact generates significant and crucial environmental benefits.

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  • News

    Court Rules Against Bureau of Land Management’s Inadequate Consideration of Climate Effects

    September 15, 2017

    On September 15, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by providing an inadequate analysis of the likely climate impacts from four coal leases. This ruling, as argued in our press release on the case, establishes an important judicial precedent. Agencies cannot make unsupported assumptions about climate effects while still complying with NEPA and the Administrative Procedure Act.

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  • Court Filings

    Amicus Brief on Bureau of Land Management’s Waste Prevention Rule

    September 7, 2017

    The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Waste Prevention Rule, enacted on November 18, 2016, sought to prevent oil and gas companies from wasting natural gas produced on public land. In June 2017, BLM stayed the rule by indefinitely postponing key compliance deadlines. In response, the states of California and New Mexico as well as several environmental organizations filed suit against BLM in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In our amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, we argue that BLM failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the stay, as required by the Administrative Procedure Act, because BLM ignored the forgone benefits of the Waste Prevention Rule.

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  • Public Comments

    Public Comments on Regulatory Review (Treasury, GSA, FEMA, State, DOJ, FCA, Interior)

    August 15, 2017

    Many federal agencies are requesting 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.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA on Delaying Methane Rule

    August 9, 2017

    In 2016, EPA issued a rule to decrease methane and volatile organic compound emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed sources in the oil and natural gas sector. EPA has now proposed to suspend some of the rule’s compliance obligations for two years while the agency decides whether and how to revise those requirements. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected an earlier attempt by EPA to stay the methane rule for 90 days, and our comments argue that the new proposal is similarly unlawful.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to Minnesota on the Social Cost of Carbon

    July 31, 2017

    The Minnesota Public Utility Commission (PUC) updated its social cost of carbon (SCC) values last week to a range of approximately $9 to $43, drawing from the 2015 Interagency Working Group (IWG) estimates. Minnesota’s use of the IWG SCC values recently came under scrutiny by industry groups in the state, who cited the recent energy executive order as reason to revisit the PUC externality estimates. After initial oral arguments, parties were invited to submit revised SCC values. Accordingly, we shared our recent comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with a cover letter explaining the importance of our analysis to the PUC.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Forest Service’s West Elk Mine Environmental Impact Statement

    July 24, 2017

    In its new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the expansion of the West Elk coal mine in Colorado, the Forest Service fails to monetize climate damages. It claims that these methods are not appropriate at the project level, that the court ruling was issued prior to an executive order withdrawing federal guidance on these estimates and thus no longer applies, and that the EIS did not selectively exclude climate impacts because it also does not monetize other benefits or costs. We argue that these justifications are inadequate in our joint comments with the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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  • Public Comments

    Public Comments on Regulatory Review (HUD, MCSAC, FMC, NOAA, Coast Guard)

    July 7, 2017

    Many federal agencies are requesting 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.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to California’s Public Utilities Commission on Energy Planning

    June 29, 2017

    We recently submitted comments to California’s Public Utilities Commission, focused on the economic analysis used in its longer-term energy planning process across utilities. We ask the Commission to exercise caution in coordinating or consolidating this planning with other energy-related proceedings, as different proceedings have different goals and statutory requirements.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to the Forest Service on Quantifying and Monetizing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    June 20, 2017

    We recently submitted comments to the United States Forest Service on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that makes problematic claims about evaluating greenhouse gas emissions. In the Pine Mountain Late-Successional Reserve Habitat Protection and Enhancement Project Draft EIS, the Forest Service gives three main reasons for not quantifying—or monetizing the effects of—greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed action. First, the Service claims that “project level emissions alone are not sufficient to cause climate change.” Second, the Service claims that the “large majority of Forest Service projects” are too “small” for it to be “presently possible to conduct quantitative analysis of actual climate change effects.” Finally, the Service questions whether “such disclosure would provide a practical or meaningful effects analysis for project decisions.” We explain why each of these reasons is wrong according to economic principles, the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Service’s own guidance regarding climate change.

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