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Recent Projects

  • Public Comments

    Comments on EPA Rollback of Refrigerant Substitutes Regulation

    November 15, 2018

    EPA recently proposed rolling back regulatory provisions that curb emissions of refrigerant substitutes, which are highly potent greenhouse gases. The agency admits that the rescissions would significantly increase the release of refrigerator hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) but fails to monetize the climate damages caused by forgone emissions reductions. We submitted comments explaining how EPA should value the climate damages of these greenhouse gases.

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  • Reports

    Deregulation Run Amok

    November 13, 2018

    For the first year and a half of the Trump administration, deregulatory efforts focused on suspending regulations across many agencies. But those suspensions flouted public input requirements, ignored statutory mandates, and failed to fully and honestly address the impact of the delays on the valuable benefits conferred by the original regulations. As a result, many have been struck down in court.

    Our report provides a survey of the legality of Trump administration’s regulatory suspensions. Looking at a number of cases, we discuss the administration’s disregard for notice-and-comment requirements, statutory restrictions, and the reasoned explanation requirement. We also lay out some of the challenges facing advocates, and the strategies by which agencies have evaded review. It is worth reflecting on the era of suspensions as the administration moves into repealing rules. The legal principles that applied to suspensions will also apply to repeals, and the same flaws are already appearing in many of the proposals to repeal regulations.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on the Family Detention Rule

    November 6, 2018

    A recently proposed rule would allow the Department of Homeland Security to indefinitely detain immigrant children who enter the U.S. in the company of a parent or guardian. Under current law, such children must be released or transferred to a non-secure, state-licensed facility within 20 days. We filed comments critiquing the Department’s assessment of the costs and benefits of this policy change.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on FERC’s Potential Reforms to PJM Capacity Market

    November 6, 2018

    After suggesting that state policies subsidizing clean energy are distorting capacity markets, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is exploring reforms to the capacity market in PJM – the grid operator serving 13 states and Washington D.C. FERC’s reforms have the potential to undermine state policies that address climate change, such as Renewable Energy Credits and Zero Emissions Credits (we discuss this issue in depth in a recent report). We submitted comments to FERC and reply comments on the proposals.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Carlsbad Region Fossil Fuel Leasing

    November 5, 2018

    We submitted two sets of comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in response to their Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP), which focuses on mineral development potential in the Carlsbad region of New Mexico. Our comments recommend that BLM not offer more lands for fossil fuel leasing, but instead consider alternatives with the greatest amount of conservation and wildlife protection. In particular, we focus on shortcomings in the RMP’s analysis and its failure to monetize climate damages.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Proposed Clean Power Plan Replacement

    October 31, 2018

    EPA recently issued a proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan (CPP) with a far weaker rule that will increase greenhouse gas and soot- and smog-forming emissions from the electric sector. Our comments explain why repealing the CPP is unnecessary, irrational, and harmful.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Proposed Weakening of Vehicle Emissions Standards

    October 26, 2018

    In August 2018, the Trump administration issued a proposal to dramatically weaken federal emissions standards for cars and light trucks, and to revoke the waiver that allows California to set its own standards. Federal emissions standards have been enormously successful at reducing greenhouse gas pollution and lowering fuel costs for consumers, and we recently submitted five separate sets of comments detailing the flaws with the Trump administration’s proposal.

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  • Reports

    No Turning Back

    October 26, 2018

    For 50 years, California has enjoyed unique authority to regulate air pollution from newly manufactured motor vehicles. While the Clean Air Act preempts all other states from setting their own vehicle emission standards, California can request a waiver to do so if it determines that its standards are at least as protective of public health and welfare as federal standards issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”). Once a waiver is granted, other states can adopt California’s more stringent vehicle emissions standards as their own.

    Since the waiver provision was enacted in 1967, EPA has granted more than 50 waivers for California, fully denied only one (a decision it subsequently reversed), and revoked zero. EPA has now proposed to withdraw the waiver California received in 2013 to set its own greenhouse gas emission standards, in conjunction with a weakening of federal greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles in model years 2021 through 2026.

    Because a waiver withdrawal would be entirely unprecedented, neither courts nor legal scholars have previously had cause to discuss the circumstances, if any, under which a waiver might permissibly be withdrawn. This report analyzes whether EPA possesses revocation authority and, assuming it exists at all, when and how such authority may be exercised. It is an update to the August 2018 version of the same report.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to the California Air Resources Board on its Cap-And-Trade Program

    October 22, 2018

    The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is extending and changing its cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases. We recently submitted comments that outline ways the ARB can improve its proposed updates.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan

    October 15, 2018

    New Jersey is revising its Energy Master Plan (EMP) for 2019. In advance of the first draft of the plan, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, along with other state agencies, formed a committee to engage with stakeholders on the contours of the new plan. We submitted comments to the EMP Committee with a number of recommendations. Specifically, in drafting the 2019 EMP, we advise the Committee to consider grid resilience in a holistic manner and apply cost-benefit analysis to resilience plans and investments; adopt a granular approach to rate design, rather than use net metering; and design an incentive structure for energy storage operators to ensure that the use of energy storage systems reduces greenhouse gas emissions. These recommendations draw upon several of our recent publications on electricity policy, including reports on grid resilience and energy storage, and an academic article, also on energy storage. The first draft of the EMP is scheduled to be released this winter.

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