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  • EPA, Reversing Trump, Will Restore States’ Power to Block Pipelines

    The Biden administration on Thursday will move to restore authority to states and tribes to veto gas pipelines, coal terminals and other energy projects if they would pollute local rivers and streams, reversing a Trump-era rule that had curtailed that power. Richard L. Revesz, a professor of environmental law at New York University, said he did not believe the actions by the Biden administration would affect prices at the pump, since the Trump administration’s limits would remain in place until the Biden rule is finalized, most likely next year. “Keeping the Trump rule in place is not going to keep gas prices low, and removing the Trump rule is not going to raise gas prices,” he said.

  • Federal Agencies Can Use Social Cost Of Carbon — For Now

    The Supreme Court has rejected an emergency request to block the Biden administration’s use of a key climate metric, effectively preserving federal agencies’ ability to account for the costs of heat-trapping emissions — at least for the time being. Max Sarinsky, a senior attorney with the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, said he was not surprised by the high court’s decision. The institute had filed a friend of the court brief in the appeals court, arguing that the administration’s metric was based on research and evidence. He added that the district court “badly misapplied bedrock constitutional principles about the role of federal courts,” and its injunction was swiftly lifted. Sarinsky said the ruling allows federal agencies to continue to apply available climate damage valuations to help write policy (Climatewire, May 26).

  • FERC Chair on Grid: ‘The Old Way Doesn’t Work’

    The growing threat of power outages fueled by extreme weather calls for new approaches to grid oversight, the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said yesterday, adding that utilities and grid operators should “think differently.” Sarah Ladin, an attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law, said FERC should “deeply scrutinize” the emissions estimates provided by project applicants, even in cases where a new gas project would replace a higher-emitting coal power plant. In general, many coal plants across the United States are closing due to market changes, she added.

  • EPA Blocks Bid to Review Basis for Climate Regs

    The agency last year also withdrew the Trump EPA’s other last-minute denials of petitions that sought a more expansive Clean Air Act to battle climate change. Environmental and public interest groups behind those petitions, however, remain in limbo. “We have not heard anything more on this since we received the withdrawal of the denial,” said Derek Sylvan, a spokesperson for the Institute for Policy Integrity, based at the New York University School of Law. The institute petitioned EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under Section 115 of the Clean Air Act.

  • FERC Issues 1st Proposal out of Transmission Proceeding

    FERC on Thursday proposed changing transmission planning and cost allocation processes in the first in what may be a series of initiatives to help build out the grid in response to electrification and the shift to renewable generation. Sarah Ladin, senior attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity, said the proposal was “a modest but important step toward more efficient planning that can facilitate decarbonization.”

  • CEQ Says Critics Fail To Justify Claims NEPA Rule Will Delay Key Projects

    Max Sarinsky, a senior attorney at the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity, praises the changes CEQ made in the rule, noting they restore “several key NEPA requirements in place for over 40 years starting in 1978, in the form they were in.” It also removes “provisions that were added in 2020 that not only would have weakened environmental review but also were in violation of the statute . . . and how it was interpreted by the courts.” Sarinsky expects facial litigation over the phase 1 rule but notes challengers may face standing and ripeness hurdles as environmental groups did in seeking to challenge the 2020 rule.

  • Beyond OIRA for Equity in Regulatory Process

    As the centerpiece of presidential leadership, OIRA serves as both overseer of the quality of agency action and mouthpiece for the President’s policy goals. Professor Richard Revesz has suggested that OIRA itself or another centralized, presidential enforcement body could encourage agencies to take into account the distributional consequences of regulation. His proposal could result in an administrative focus on equitable outcomes similar to the pervasive governmental culture of cost-benefit analysis that OIRA has promoted since the Reagan Administration. 

  • Examining Some of Trump’s Deregulation Efforts: Lessons From the Brookings Regulatory Tracker

    The Institute for Policy Integrity tracked the Trump administration’s record in court throughout Trump’s four years in office. By its count, the administration was “successful” 58 times, and “unsuccessful” 200 times. That is, just 22 percent of the Trump administration’s regulatory or deregulatory actions that were challenged in court came through the legal process unscathed.

  • Justices Can Alter ‘Major Questions’ Law in Shot-or-Test Case

    The Supreme Court’s consideration of the "major questions doctrine," a judicial doctrine that can limit agency authority to act on major issues facing the country, comes after a “huge uptick” in litigants—including the Trump administration, Republican attorneys general, and business groups—invoking it over the past decade in attempts to invalidate regulations, said Richard Revesz, who’s written about its recent use.

  • “Rollback Whiplash” and a Two-Year Presidency

    Increasingly it appears that Presidents only have two years to make policy if they want it to last. This is the thesis of a forthcoming article by two legal experts who argue that President Donald J. Trump made aggressive use of a set of policy-reversing tools during his term and that President Joseph R. Biden has followed suit. The article’s authors—Bethany A. Davis Noll, the executive director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at the NYU School of Law, and Richard L. Revesz, AnBryce Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at the NYU School of Law—contend that Presidents can combine these tools to roll back recent policy, making any regulations issued in the last two years of the previous presidency vulnerable to repeal.