Institute for Policy Integrity

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What We Do

Project Updates

Viewing all updates in Environmental Health
  • Court Filings

    Brief on EPA Chemical Disaster Rule Delay

    November 1, 2017

    EPA recently delayed the effective date of a rule that would have decreased the severity and number of chemical accidents at manufacturing facilities and refineries. State and NGO plaintiffs sued EPA over the delay, arguing that EPA did not have statutory authority to issue it, and that the delay was arbitrary and capricious. We filed a brief in support of petitioners arguing that EPA did not offer an adequate explanation for choosing to forgo the benefits of the chemical disaster rule.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Reconsideration of NHTSA Rule to Update Civil Penalties

    October 10, 2017

    In December 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized a rule that updates civil penalties for car manufacturers that violate fuel economy standards. NHTSA is now reconsidering the rule, claiming it would have a significant negative economic impact. The agency provides no evidence that economic circumstances have changed since the rule’s finalization to make the rule more costly. Our comments argue that the agency should not proceed with the proposed reconsideration, because it inadequately explained why it changed positions. If the agency does continue with the reconsideration, both the Inflation Adjustment Act and economic cost-benefit analysis would justify an update to the penalties rates rather than maintaining the original penalty rate from 1975.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Rescission

    September 25, 2017

    In proposing to rescind its two-year-old rule for managing hydraulic fracturing operations on federal and tribal lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fails to explain why the rescission’s estimated cost savings to industry justify the forgone benefits, such as environmental protection and increased worker safety. Our comments to BLM on the proposed rescission discuss the agency’s inadequate cost-benefit analysis, which does not sufficiently explain why changed circumstances in the past two years have altered the rule’s cost-benefit justification.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to OSHA on Beryllium Standards Revocation

    August 28, 2017

    In public comments to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, we highlight some critical problems with the agency’s cost-benefit analysis in its proposed revocation of standards to protect workers from exposure to beryllium. These ancillary standards were designed to protect workers in the construction and shipyard sectors.

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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 on EPA’s Proposal to Issue a Second Stay of the Effluent Rule

    July 6, 2017

    Policy Integrity has filed comments opposing EPA’s proposal to issue a second stay of the compliance deadlines in the Effluent Rule—a rule that regulates toxic metal discharges from power plants. As we explained in our comments to EPA, EPA has no legal authority for the proposed stay. In addition, EPA failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the stay because it ignored the impact that the stay will have on the benefits of the Effluent Rule.

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  • Court Filings

    Challenging EPA’s Effluent Rule Suspension

    June 27, 2017

    EPA has suspended the compliance deadlines in a regulation on power plant wastewater discharges, which limits plants from releasing certain toxic metals into lakes and rivers. We submitted a “friend of the court” brief in the legal challenge to the suspension. Our brief argues that the decision to suspend the rule was arbitrary and capricious because EPA focused only on amorphous compliance costs and ignored the effects of pollution that will continue to be discharged while the rule is suspended. As we explain in the brief, it is fundamentally irrational to make a decision based on such a one-sided analysis, and the suspension should be vacated.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on EPA’s Proposal to Further Delay the Amendments to the Risk Management Program

    May 19, 2017

    We recently submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to delay the effective date of EPA’s amendments to the Risk Management Program for twenty more months and to put off the compliance deadlines indefinitely. The original rule was issued under section 112®(7)(A) of the Clean Air Act and updated chemical accident prevention rules at manufacturing plants, after a fatal explosion at a fertilizer plant in West Texas.

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  • Public Comments

    Toxic Substances Control Act Comments

    March 21, 2017

    We recently submitted two sets of comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on issues related to the implementation of the recently amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The first comment letter focuses on EPA’s proposed restrictions on the manufacture, processing, and distribution of trichloroethylene (TCE) for use in aerosol degreasing and in spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities. Our second comment letter focuses on EPA’s proposed process for conducting future risk evaluations under the amended TSCA.

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  • Court Filings

    Policy Integrity Files Brief in Case Challenging EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

    January 25, 2017

    In 2012, EPA issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which limit coal- and oil-fired power plants’ emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants. In their most recent challenge to the rule, Petitioners seek to obscure the fact that regulating power plants’ emissions of hazardous air pollutants overwhelmingly benefits society by asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to ignore or discount large portions of EPA’s analysis—namely, its consideration of indirect benefits (sometimes called ancillary benefits or co-benefits) and unquantified benefits. But, as our amicus brief points out, EPA’s consideration of indirect benefits and unquantified direct benefits is consistent with the Clean Air Act, past court decisions, federal cost-benefit guidelines, economic best practices, and regulatory precedent. Overall, we argue that the agency’s cost-benefit analysis was properly conducted and more than satisfies its obligation to consider costs when determining whether regulation of power plants’ hazardous emissions is “appropriate and necessary.”

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