September 2, 2014
August at Policy Integrity: MIT Climate Policy Competition, Revesz and Livermore on EPA Analysis, FDA Tobacco Regulation, Copyediting Obama’s Legacy, Oil Train Safety, Alumni Spotlight: A.J. Glusman
Policy Integrity Proposal Reaches MIT Climate Change Policy Contest Semifinals
The MIT Center for Collective Intelligence’s Climate CoLab recently launched a competition that seeks to gather creative ideas to help address climate change. Policy Integrity submitted a proposal for the transportation category, entitled, “Wheeling & Dealing: A Cap-and-Trade Program for Vehicle Fuels.” Our entry, written by legal fellow Jack Lienke, has advanced to the semifinals. This proposal suggests that the EPA use its authority under the Clean Air Act to create a new fuel trading system. Finalists will be announced in early September.
Revesz and Livermore on EPA’s Regulatory Analysis
After analyzing a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that criticizes aspects of the EPA’s economic analysis, Michael Livermore and Richard Revesz concluded that the GAO had been unfair to EPA. In a recent article, they discuss the report and evaluate the EPA’s performance, writing, “the EPA’s regulatory analyses are among the most sophisticated of any government agency in the world. Further improvement is clearly desirable, but this will require government resources that Congress seems reluctant to provide.”
FDA Tobacco Regulation Public Comments
Policy Integrity recently submitted public comments on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) proposed rule to deem certain tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes and cigars, subject to regulation. We believe the FDA may be dramatically understating the benefits from consumer behavior changes due to new regulations. The agency essentially discounts 70 percent of the rule’s potential benefits to account for consumers’ lost pleasure from not smoking. The percentage seems to have been arbitrarily selected, and the lack of transparent explanation violates best practices for regulatory analysis.
In the News: Copyediting Obama’s Climate Legacy
Could a copyediting error undermine Obama’s signature climate rule? Policy Integrity legal fellow Jack Lienke explored this question in a recent article for Grist. “A new suit asks the D.C. Circuit to nix the president’s biggest climate-change initiative—EPA’s ‘Clean Power Plan’—due to a 25-year-old mistake in the text of the Clean Air Act,” Lienke writes. Using both legal analysis and humor, Lienke discusses how the courts are likely to handle litigation centered on this congressional drafting error.
On the Docket: Oil Train Safety
Driven by growing production of fracked oil, North American rail transportation of crude oil has spiked in recent years, with a corresponding increase in accidents. Tank car accidents have caused fatalities and serious environmental damage, and regulators are now attempting to respond. Policy Integrity will soon submit comments on recently proposed enhanced tank car standards and operational controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains. Our comments will seek to strengthen these proposed regulations to ensure that they adequately protect public health and the environment.
Alumni Spotlight: A.J. Glusman
After her stint as a legal fellow at Policy Integrity, A.J. Glusman joined the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2013. In her current role as Legal Advisor to the Incentive Auction Task Force, she helps coordinate a team of more than 60 lawyers, engineers, and economists working to design the Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction—a groundbreaking, multibillion dollar, market-based economic instrument for repurposing the broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband use. “Policy Integrity gave me my first in-depth look at the federal notice and comment process, deeper insight into market-based policy solutions, and allowed me to explore telecommunications policy, all of which have prepared me well for a career in policy-making,” said Glusman.