Institute for Policy Integrity

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What We Do

Project Updates

Viewing all updates in Climate Change and Energy Policy
  • Public Comments

    Comments on Virginia’s proposal to Join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

    February 9, 2018

    As part of its climate plan, the State of Virginia proposes to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a carbon trading program currently including states across the Northeastern US. We submitted comments to RGGI on how it can incorporate Virginia into the program and reduce carbon emission in a cost-effective way. RGGI should carefully assess the effect that Virginia’s initial carbon allowance level will have on the RGGI cap. Adding Virginia electricity generators to RGGI will improve electricity market efficiency. The exact extent of those improvements will be affected by the windfall revenue that Virginia’s power producers may receive through the unique consignment auction process for the allowances. RGGI should therefore ensure that the possibilities for windfall are minimized for Virginia’s regulated power producers.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Electric Resource Planning

    January 31, 2018

    The Colorado Public Utilities Commission is revising their electricity resource planning process. Our comments to the Commission suggest legal language for incorporating externalities, like the climate effects of greenhouse gas emissions, into the state’s electricity policy. We also explain why the Social Cost of Carbon, as developed by the federal government in 2016, is the best tool for incorporating the externalities of carbon emissions into policy. Our response comments rebut the state electric utility’s faulty arguments against using the social cost of carbon in this process, and supports the use of cost-benefit analysis in determining the best policy option.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to Interior on Offshore Drilling Safety Requirements

    January 29, 2018

    The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) within the Department of the Interior is tasked with setting safety and environmental standards for offshore oil and gas production and exploration in federal waters. While BSEE updated its safety requirements in 2016, it now proposes to weaken and repeal some of these safety requirements in order to encourage more oil and gas production. In our comments on the proposed rule, we argue that the agency has failed to provide a reasoned explanation for repealing these requirements, which were part of a comprehensive update to safety regulations that had not been revised since 1988.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to New York State on Clean Energy Standards for Existing Generators

    January 8, 2018

    New York State plans to provide support to some existing small hydro, wind, and biomass generation facilities at risk of closure, in order to prevent the state from backsliding on its ambitious clean energy goals. The New York Public Service Commission released a report on the Clean Energy Standard Tier 2 Maintenance program, which focuses on the criteria a generator should meet in order to receive financial support and how these payments should be determined. Our comments on the report encourage the Commission to harmonize these payments across all proposed review processes for Tier 2 generators.

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  • News

    Presentation at the Association of American Law Schools

    January 5, 2018

    Our Litigation Director, Bethany Davis Noll, and Energy Policy Director, Burcin Unel, recently presented a draft paper on federal carbon pricing in wholesale energy markets at the 2018 Association of American Law Schools Conference. In a panel on legal constraints to implementing clean energy policies, they discussed the legal authority of the federal government, specifically the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to price carbon emissions in wholesale energy markets and how this authority interacts with state-level clean energy policy.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Market-Based Mitigation Programs

    January 5, 2018

    We recently submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on its market-based mitigation programs. Our comments were based in part on the recommendations Policy Integrity’s Legal Director, Jason Schwartz, made to the Administrative Conference of the United States on marketable permits, which were adopted in late December.

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  • Comments to EPA on Grandfathering and Glider Trucks

    January 5, 2018

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to grandfather glider trucks, which have new truck bodies but old powertrains, into older emissions requirements. Our comments to EPA argue that the Agency improperly disregarded the effects that this exemption would have on air pollution, public health, and environmental quality, in violation of both the Clean Air Act and applicable executive orders on cost-benefit analysis. In particular, EPA failed to consider the extent to which its action will increase air pollution (and attendant environmental harms) by extending the useful economic life of older, dirtier powertrains.

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  • Presentation to the New York Department of Public Service

    January 3, 2018

    The New York Department of Public Service (DPS) is working on developing a more accurate compensation mechanism for distributed energy resources (DERs) that can capture the true value that DERs create. We have been particularly involved in the Value Stack Working Group, which is examining possible ways to price DERs based on specific value components of the resources, including environmental attributes. We were invited to make a presentation to the PSC on monetizing externalities of air pollution. In our presentation, we explained that the Commission can increase economic efficiency by directly incorporating the monetary value of avoided emissions as a value stack component into the DER compensation mechanism, and provided a methodology for this process. We plan to remain involved in this proceeding as it progresses in the coming months.

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  • Court Filings

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

    December 22, 2017

    Our amicus brief to the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming defends the 2016 Bureau of Land Management’s “Waste Prevention Rule,” which is designed to limit methane waste from oil and gas production on public lands. In our brief, we show that the rule reasonably complied with BLM’s statutory duty to set waste-prevention rules that focus on private benefits to industry as well as on the health and environmental benefits of protecting natural public resources and the environment. We also argue that BLM’s approach to evaluating those health and environmental benefits of reducing methane emissions through the use of the Social Cost of Methane was reasonable and appropriate. The Social Cost of Methane is the best available metric for measuring damages from methane emissions. And it allowed BLM to set restrictions based on the global estimate of damages from methane emissions, which best advances U.S. interests and is consistent with BLM’s statutory mandate.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Arctic Drilling to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

    December 15, 2017

    We submitted comments on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s environmental impact statement for potential offshore oil drilling and an undersea oil pipeline off Alaska’s northern coast. While expanded drilling in the Arctic presents many climate and public health concerns, BOEM did use the Social Cost of Carbon in assessing environmental impacts of the Liberty Development and Production Plan. Our comments encourage BOEM to continue using the best available methods for the Social Cost of Carbon in future environmental impacts statements, and we also recommended that BOEM use the Interagency Working Group’s Social Cost of Methane to quantify methane damages.

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