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  • FERC’s backstop siting authority: Why considering emissions, EJ will get transmission built

    The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law strengthened the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority to site interstate transmission projects that have been rejected or not acted upon by states. Used appropriately, this authority can help the United States build the transmission infrastructure necessary to achieve President Joe Biden’s goal of fully decarbonizing the electricity grid by 2035.

  • Immediate Options to Address Environmental Disparities in Cost-Benefit Analysis

    As it is currently performed, cost-benefit analysis generally undercounts many benefits both to society at large and to vulnerable communities in particular. Before resolving how to consider equity as part of cost-benefit analysis, there are improvements we can make within the existing cost-benefit framework to ensure that health and environmental benefits to society at large — and to marginalized communities in particular — are sufficiently considered.

  • Balancing Equity and Efficiency in Electricity Tariff Design

    The growth of distributed energy resources (DERs), such as rooftop solar, raises significant distributional justice and equity concerns about who has access to DERs and their benefits. DER compensation is critical to incentivize widespread adoption. However, traditional tariff design approaches suffer from the assumption that economic efficiency and equity must necessarily trade-off. Our paper describes a comprehensive tariff design framework that incorporates both economic efficiency and equity objectives to determine electricity tariffs. We offer recommendations on how efficient tariffs can be designed without sacrificing equity, and the role of spatio-temporal granularity in tariff structures to achieve equity.

  • CEQ Turns To NASEM To Bolster Environmental Justice Screening Tool

    Peggy Shepard, the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council co-chair, gave the administration a grade of D in September for its environmental justice work so far, telling a New York University Institute for Policy Integrity event that, in order to do something as transformative as the administration is seeking, “you have to restructure . . . but that has not happened and that is really the crux of the problem, that structurally, nothing has changed in any of these agencies.”

  • Advocates Laud EPA’s EJ Office Merger As Fears Over Agenda’s Pace Grows

    Peggy Shepard, the co-chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC), gave the administration a “D” grade on its high-profile efforts to elevate EJ throughout government decision-making. She told a New York University Institute for Policy Integrity event that the WHEJAC was able to, within the first three weeks of the new administration, put together 100 pages of recommendations, “and it took a year to get a response to this and the response was, in many cases, inadequate.”

  • Industry Seeks Economic Exception From Landmark New Jersey EJ Rule

    Nicky Sheats, director of the Center for the Urban Environment at Kean University in Union, NJ, who also advises the White House on EJ issues, accused the industry of “trying to undermine the regulations by saying they should be able to trade jobs for pollution” at a Sept. 20 Institute for Policy Integrity event where the proposal was discussed. “No other community is asked to do that,” he said, calling the effort “extortion.”

  • SCOTUS Ruling on EPA Leaves US Businesses with the Devil They Don’t Know

    “Until recently, the major questions doctrine was little-used, and it remains poorly defined,” Dena Adler said in an email. The doctrine “remains the exception, not the norm. However, if it is applied more expansively by lower courts that could be problematic because Congress has legislated for decades with an expectation that it can broadly authorize agencies to use their expertise to address problems.”

  • The Supreme Court’s EPA Ruling Was the Beginning of Something Bigger

    "The major questions doctrine didn't exist until fairly recently, but in the last year or so, the Supreme Court has made it a regular part of its anti-regulatory arsenal,” said Richard Revesz. “As a result, I am sure that enterprising attorneys general for red states will use it to challenge climate regulations, environmental regulations and all kinds of other regulations."

  • US Supreme Court Ruling Limits EPA but Doesn’t Quash It Completely, Say Lawyers

    Despite the US Supreme Court's ruling against the EPA, the agency can still stimulate power sector CO2 abatement in more creative ways. Dena Adler, a research scholar at the New York University School of Law, said, “[The EPA] can consider how to make heat rate improvements more ambitious and look toward what is possible with other techniques such as co-firing and carbon capture and sequestration."

  • Court’s Ruling on Emissions Benefits Polluters

    The "generation shifting" approach, which the Supreme Court said the EPA did not have, is "environmentally effective, economically efficient, and supported by power companies", said Dena Adler, a research scholar at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University's School of Law. "While this is an unwelcome and unnecessary setback for addressing the urgent climate crisis, EPA still retains the authority, and an obligation, to limit greenhouse gas emissions, including from the power sector," she told China Daily.