March 31, 2020
March 2020 at Policy Integrity
- Dangerous Rollback of Clean Car Standards
- New Report: Carbon Pricing in Wholesale Electricity Markets
- In the News: Deregulation Despite Opposition, Pandemic
- Commentary: What Trump’s Rollbacks Mean for the Strategies of the Next Administration
- Input to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board
- Revesz and Livermore to Publish New Book
- Postponed: Richard Cordray Book Talk and Corporate Climate Risk Conference
- More From This Month
This week, the Trump administration finalized a rule significantly weakening Obama-era vehicle-emissions standards, effectively undoing the government’s strongest climate policy in favor of standards that are costly and harmful to the American public. As Richard Revesz told NPR, “The rollback is based on analysis that is shoddy even by the shockingly unprofessional standards of Trump-era deregulation.” Revesz spoke with E&E News about the rule’s projected increase in air pollution, which could result in as many as 1,000 premature deaths. Revesz and Avi Zevin’s new piece in Slate further exposes the administration’s deceptive playbook for justifying the dangerous rule. We also issued a press statement on the final rule that includes a list of resources, and produced an analysis of the key economic errors in the rollback.
Putting a price on carbon-dioxide emissions is one of the most promising tools for reducing emissions from the electricity sector. We released a report that details how carbon pricing can be implemented in organized wholesale electricity markets. Our report explains key economic principles and legal requirements for market operators, states, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider, and identifies several feasible policy designs.
The Trump administration is pushing ahead with its efforts to reverse environmental regulations, even in the face of mounting pushback and an unprecedented pandemic. Richard Revesz spoke with The New York Times about the EPA’s Clean Power Plan replacement rule, which was opposed by many of the agency’s own scientists, lawyers, and engineers. The administration is also advancing its deregulation agenda despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. In another article, Revesz explained to The New York Times that the Trump administration is especially motivated to finalize rollbacks ahead of election uncertainty in the coming months.
While it is normal for presidents to undo some of the prior president’s regulatory achievements, President Trump has not stuck to the typical playbook. Bethany Davis Noll and Richard Revesz published a piece in The Regulatory Review discussing the strategies that have allowed his administration to reach an unusually high proportion of Obama-era regulations. They describe the likely legacy of these unconventional strategies: a reconceptualization of presidential power that should significantly change the strategies of the next administration.
Policy Integrity legal fellow Isabel Carey delivered oral comments during the EPA’s March 30th teleconference of its chartered Science Advisory Board. Carey discussed the agency’s proposed revisions to rules regulating lead and copper levels in drinking water and methane and volatile organic compound emissions in the oil and gas sector. In both rules, the EPA failed to fully assess costs and benefits using the best available methods.
Revesz and Livermore to Publish New Book
Oxford University Press has accepted for publication Richard Revesz and Michael Livermore’s upcoming book, Reviving Rationality: Saving Cost-Benefit Analysis for the Sake of the Environment and Our Health. The book will explain how President Trump destabilized the decades-long bipartisan consensus that federal agencies must base their decisions on evidence, expertise, and analysis, and discuss how the hard work of rebuilding a rational regulatory system will fall to future administrations. The book is a follow-up to Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health, published by Oxford University Press in 2008, which detailed how embracing and reforming cost-benefit analysis can help enact strong environmental and public health regulations.
Postponed: Richard Cordray Book Talk and Corporate Climate Risk Conference
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we will unfortunately be postponing two events this spring. Our book talk with Richard Cordray and our conference on corporate climate risk are postponed until further notice. We are hoping to reschedule in the coming months or explore web-based events.