Institute for Policy Integrity

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Project Updates

Viewing all updates in Natural Resources
  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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

    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 Delay of BLM Waste Prevention Rule

    November 6, 2017

    In September 2017, a federal court overturned the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) decision to delay a rule that is designed to prevent private industry from wasting natural gas resources in mining activities on public land. In its decision to delay the rule, BLM had not considered the benefits that would be forgone. Now, BLM has proposed a second delay. Our comments to BLM argue that the agency manipulated the calculation of forgone benefits from delay—particularly, the calculation of the social cost of methane—in ways that are completely inconsistent with the best available science, the best practices for economic analysis, and the legal standards governing rational decisionmaking. The 2016 Waste Prevention Rule’s benefits exceed its costs by as much as $200 million per year, and thus the proposal to suspend the rule is arbitrary and capricious.

    We filed these joint comments with the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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  • Court Filings

    Brief on Wyoming Natural Gas and Oil Leases

    October 25, 2017

    Wildearth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility recently sued the Bureau of Land Management over its leasing of lands in Wyoming for natural gas and oil extraction. In our amicus brief in support of the legal challenge, we argue that the agency’s decision to trumpet the benefits of the leasing decisions while also failing to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions that will result from these leases (and failing to use the social cost of carbon to assess the impact of those emissions on society) violated the National Environmental Policy Act.

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  • Public Comments

    Objection to Forest Service Expansion of Colorado’s West Elk Coal Mine

    October 23, 2017

    The U.S. Forest Service’s final approval of a coal mine expansion in Colorado continues to ignore climate damages, despite a 2014 ruling by the U.S. District Court of Colorado asking the Forest Service to disclose the effects greenhouse gas emissions from the project in its Environmental Impact Statement. Our objection to the Forest Service’s decision argues that it cannot legally ignore climate costs, which are not difficult to quantify, while also monetizing the economic upside of changing these coal leases. This objection echoes our previous comments to the Forest Service on the West Elk mine expansion.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Grid Reliability and Resilience Pricing

    October 23, 2017

    Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s controversial proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants could have terrible consequences for consumers and public health, as our recent comments and op-ed in US News highlight. In September, Perry asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to adopt a new rule that would guarantee coal and nuclear plants their full costs plus a profit, so long as they keep 90 days of fuel on site. Perry claims that these “fuel-secure” plants ensure grid reliability and resilience, but neither he nor FERC adequately define these terms or explain why such a measure is justified.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA on the Clean Water Rule

    October 9, 2017

    In our recent comments on the attempted repeal of EPA’s Clean Water Rule, we show how the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers obscured the value of wetlands protection in their proposal to repeal the rule.

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