Institute for Policy Integrity

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Project Updates

Viewing all updates in Public Comments
  • Public Comments

    Comments to OSMRE on Failure to Use the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases in a Federal Mining Plan

    April 23, 2018

    We recently submitted comments to Office of Surfacing Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) on its environmental assessment (EA) on modifying the federal mining plan for Bull Mountains Mine No. 1 in Montana. The EA evaluates a proposal to extend operations at an existing mine by nine years, which would produce an extra 86.7 million tons of coal. While the EA quantifies the tons of greenhouse gas emissions related to the project, OSM refused to use the social cost of greenhouse gases metric to monetize the climate effects of these emissions. Our comments explain why the agency’s refusal is arbitrary and unlawful in light of a growing body of case law, which holds that failure to monetize a project’s costs is impermissible if an agency justifies an action based on the project’s monetized benefits. Our comments also explain why the social cost of greenhouse gases metric is appropriate for projects of this scale, why the metric’s use is not limited to rulemakings, and how failing to adequately account for the project’s climate effects is a violation of NEPA.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to FERC on Failure to Monetize Climate Effects

    April 23, 2018

    We recently submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on its environmental assessment (EA) for the Rivervale South to Market pipeline project in New Jersey. Once again, FERC quantified the tons of downstream greenhouse gas emissions that the project would generate, but the Commission did not use the social cost of greenhouse gases to monetize the climate effects of those emissions. In the EA, FERC incorrectly claims that it is impossible to determine the significance of a discrete amount of additional greenhouse gas emissions. Our comments dispel FERC’s arbitrary and misleading rationale and explain why failing to meaningfully analyze a project’s climate effects violates NEPA. Our comments also offer guidance for how the Commission should use the social cost of greenhouse gases metric based on the best available science and economics going forward.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on California’s Distributed Energy Resources Policy

    April 13, 2018

    The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is developing a comprehensive policy for integrating Distributed Energy Resource (DERs), like rooftop solar, into its energy system. A March 2018 administrative law judge ruling heavily cited our earlier comments in laying out a revised plan to require the state’s utilities to conduct a societal cost test to help compare the net benefits of different DER technologies. We submitted comments to the CPUC commending the agency for its revisions to the proposed analysis and recommending additional improvements.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to Virginia on Its Proposal to Join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

    April 9, 2018

    The State of Virginia is proposing to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a carbon trading program currently including states across the Northeastern U.S. Including Virginia energy producers in RGGI will greatly expand the scope of the carbon market, thereby improving market efficiency, competitiveness, and lowering carbon abatement costs. Our comments to Virginia on its proposal offer two suggestions to ensure that Virginia’s addition to RGGI creates a competitive permit trading market

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  • Public Comments

    Joint Comments on the Midcontinent Supply Header Interstate Pipeline

    April 6, 2018

    We recently submitted joint comments with EDF and Sierra Club to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Midcontinent Supply Header Interstate Pipeline. The analysis covers a proposal to construct over 200 miles of pipeline, as well as compressor stations, a booster station, and accompanying facilities, to transport natural gas. The DEIS quantifies the tons of downstream greenhouse gas emissions related to this project—over 28 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year—but FERC fails to use the social cost of greenhouse gases metric to fully account for the climate effects of these emissions. FERC’s failure to adequately consider climate damages from the pipelines it approves is under increasing scrutiny. Our comments offer a detailed rejection of FERC’s rationale for excluding the social cost of greenhouse gases from this analysis, and give FERC additional guidance on how to monetize climate effects consistent with the currently best available science and economics.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Regulatory Impacts Draft Report to Congress

    April 6, 2018

    The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB’s) annual reports to Congress not only compile all the significant benefits and costs of federal regulations, but they also offer federal agencies and academics an up-to-date summary of the literature on key practices in regulatory impact analysis. As such, OMB’s annual reports should reflect the most comprehensive syntheses of the legal and economic literature on these analytical practices. Our comments on OMB’s draft report for 2017 propose two additions to its summaries of the literature on job impact analysis and on co-benefits analysis

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Department of Energy’s Energy Conservation Standards Program

    March 26, 2018

    The Department of Energy (DOE) requested information on adding market-based compliance flexibilities to its Appliance and Equipment Energy Conservation Standards (ECS) Program. In many cases, market-based flexibilities lowered compliance costs, incentivized innovation, and decreased administrative burdens without sacrificing policy objectives. But in other cases, these policy tools may not improve economic efficiency and may actually undermine policy objectives. Comments from our Legal Director, Jason Schwartz, recommend that DOE should only proceed with market-based flexibilities after balancing gains to efficiency against unintended negative consequences to policy goals, and that better energy labels on appliances may be necessary to help prevent consumer confusion caused by the market system.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to California on Its Cap and Trade Program

    March 16, 2018

    California has legislation authorizing its Air Resources Board (ARB) to extend its cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions. This extension, while defining much of the program’s structure, asks ARB to develop some design features through a regulatory process and public feedback. California’s most recent changes to the plan are consistent with our previous comments on the program, and they place California on the path to internalizing the cost of climate change from carbon emissions. Our most recent set of comments encourage ARB to continue to set the price ceiling for carbon permits at least as high as the Social Cost of Carbon set by the Interagency Working Group in 2016, as it does in its Concept Paper on carbon pricing. We also encourage ARB to allocate preferentially any unsold carbon allowances to the price ceiling, rather than to a lower price.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Use of the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases in Environmental Impact Statements

    March 9, 2018

    We recently submitted joint comments to advocate for the proper use of the social cost of greenhouse gases in multiple environmental impact statements. Our comments to the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation (OSMRE) and our comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) focused on the agencies’ failure to use the social cost of greenhouse gases metric to account for the climate effects of anticipated project emissions. In our comments on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)’s 5-year scoping plan for offshore oil and gas leasing, we emphasized that if and when BOEM decides to monetize greenhouse gas emissions, it should use the 2016 IWG estimates, as it has done in the past.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Interior’s Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing 2019-2024 Draft Proposed Program

    March 9, 2018

    The Department of the Interior’s offshore leasing program must analyze and account for the potential for environmental damage, the potential for the discovery of oil and gas, and the potential for adverse impact on the coastal zone. In addition, offshore oil and gas leases must provide fair market value for private use and development of these publicly-owned oil and gas resources. Our comments to the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) explain why its Draft Proposed Program for 2019-2024, which would replace BOEM’s existing Program for 2017-2022, fails to meet its statutory mandates under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).

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