Institute for Policy Integrity

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What We Do

Project Updates

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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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  • 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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  • Court Filings

    Briefs and Comments on Department of Education’s Borrower Defense Rule

    December 22, 2017

    Under Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education has twice delayed implementation of the Borrower Defense Rule, a 2016 regulation designed to help students who have been defrauded by for-profit educational institutions discharge their federal student loans. In our amicus brief supporting borrower and state challenges to the delay, we argue that the Department violated the Administrative Procedure Act by arbitrarily disregarding the harms that the delays impose on student borrowers. We also submitted a comment letter to the agency regarding the second delay.

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  • Public Comments

    Public Comments on Regulatory Review (SBA, NCUA, FDA, DOT and USCBP)

    December 14, 2017

    Federal agencies continue to request 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. We also recommend that agencies develop prospective plans for regulatory review going forward. The agencies for which we recently filed comments include Small Business Administration, Department of Transportation, National Credit Union Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and Customs and Border Control Bureau.

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  • News

    ACUS Adopts Recommendations on Marketable Permits

    December 14, 2017

    The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), an independent federal agency that recommends improvements to government processes and procedures, recently approved a set of recommendations from Policy Integrity’s Jason Schwartz concerning marketable permits. Marketable permits, in the appropriate context, are a powerful tool for achieving policy objectives more efficiently, by letting market participants buy and sell compliance obligations. But like all markets, permit markets require proper oversight to prevent market manipulation. The new recommendations adopted by ACUS provide agencies with best practices on structuring and overseeing marketable permit programs.

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  • Court Filings

    Brief on HUD’s Suspension of Housing Voucher Reform

    November 13, 2017

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently suspended a rule to increase the availability of affordable housing in higher-rent neighborhoods. Our amicus brief in a suit against HUD argues that the suspension violates administrative law by disregarding economic impacts and failing to first seek public feedback.

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  • Public Comments

    Reply Comments to FERC on Grid Reliability and Resilience Pricing

    November 8, 2017

    In September, Energy Secretary Perry asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to adopt a new rule that would guarantee plants with 90-day on-site fuel, mostly coal and nuclear plants, full cost recovery. We submitted an initial set of comments in response to their Notice Inviting Comments, and we have now submitted reply comments.

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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 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

    Providing Information for DOE’s Net Metering Study

    October 30, 2017

    Net metering, the predominant approach to compensating distributed solar generation in the U.S., essentially pays households with solar panels a flat retail rate for every kilowatt hour they send back to the grid. In response to the Department of Energy’s request for information on the costs and benefits of net energy metering, we submitted Richard Revesz and Burcin Unel’s law review article on net metering and distributed electricity generation. The paper analyzes the benefits and costs of distributed generation, and identifies ways for state policy to better match consumer compensation for solar generation with the energy system and environmental benefits that it provides. It also includes information that is relevant to the RFI including the identification and categorization of the costs and benefits of net energy metering policies.

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