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.
What Climate Rules Are OK? No One Knows
The "major questions" doctrine is an attempt to rein in what the court sees as regulatory overreach. The problem is the court has yet to define exactly what counts as a major question, said Richard Revesz, an environmental professor at New York University Law School. "They presented the doctrine in a kind of amorphous and unbounded way," he said. "And we just don't know what this means for the next EPA regulation or the next regulation by any other agency."
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