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Recent Projects

  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA on Delay of Emissions Rule for Wood Heaters

    January 14, 2019

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend the 2015 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for residential wood heating devices. This change would allow retailers to sell non-compliant wood heaters for two years past the original 2020 compliance date. We submitted comments explaining that the proposed rule imposes net costs on society and is not justified by EPA’s faulty analysis.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA on Delay of Landfill Emission Guidelines

    January 3, 2019

    In 2016, EPA finalized Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. Once implemented, the regulation will deliver significant net benefits from reducing pollution that contributes to climate change and other harmful impacts to human health. EPA, however, is proposing to substantially delay the implementation of these protections. We submitted comments that point out how EPA fails to justify the proposed delay and assess its social costs.

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  • Court Filings

    Amicus Brief on Climate Impacts of the PennEast Pipeline Project

    December 28, 2018

    In January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized the construction and operation of the PennEast Pipeline Project, a 116-mile natural gas pipeline between Pennsylvania and New Jersey and associated facilities. FERC’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) showed that the project will result in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions but did little more than quantify those emissions, failing to fully analyze and consider the climate impacts of the project. We submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that demonstrates how FERC could have used the Social Cost of Carbon to analyze the pipeline’s climate impacts.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to BLM on Resource Management in the Powder River Basin

    December 21, 2018

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering amending Resource Management Plans for the Miles City and Buffalo field offices in the Powder River Basin. The agency will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposal. We submitted comments at the scoping phase urging BLM to provide analysis that quantifies the external costs of fossil fuel development in the region and evaluates critical land management alternatives.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to BLM on Foidel Creek Mine Expansion

    December 21, 2018

    A proposed expansion of the Foidel Creek Mine in Colorado would allow Peabody Energy to recover nearly five million additional tons of federal coal, extending the mine’s life by an additional two years. We submitted joint comments that critique the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) environmental assessment of the expansion, which miscalculates downstream emissions and fails to monetize the climate damages those emissions will produce.

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  • Public Comments

    Supplemental Comments to NHTSA and EPA on Vehicle Emissions Standards

    December 21, 2018

    In October, we submitted comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) critiquing the proposed Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule. We now have also submitted supplemental comments rebutting an analysis, prepared by NERA Economic Consulting and Trinity Consultants and submitted by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, in support of the proposed rule.

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  • Academic Articles/Working Papers

    Environmental Federalism in a Dark Time

    December 20, 2018

    The principle of federalism has become something of a rallying cry in recent efforts by the Trump Administration and its allies to scale back environmental regulation. For example, during his short and troubled tenure, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt argued that the federal government has become too intrusive and that states should be returned to a position of “regulatory primacy” on environmental matters. Some states have responded to the impeding federal retreat by forging ahead. For example, California has continued to take aggressive steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and has even taken steps to project its influence internationally. However, despite these hopeful signs of resistance, the net effect of the Trump Administration’s efforts to scale back federal environmental policy is likely to undermine rather than energize state environmental policymaking, especially in Republican-dominated and swing states, where the climate policy vacuum is most acute.

    This article, published in the Ohio State Law Journal, explains why, in cases where collective action is needed, the national government remains indispensable. Some states, especially Blue states, continue to forge ahead on
    climate and clean energy policy in the face of regulatory rollbacks at the federal level. But these efforts face headwinds in the form of resistance from the federal government. Even worse, development on these policies has slowed or stopped in many Red and Purple states under the Trump Administration. This represents a lost opportunity to develop valuable political information about how to productively approach climate policy in more conservative areas.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA on Reconsideration of Methane Standards for New Sources

    December 17, 2018

    In 2016, EPA finalized a set of performance standards for new, reconstructed, and modified sources of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the oil and natural gas sector. A recent proposal, however, aims to weaken the 2016 rule in a variety of ways, with the goal of reducing the regulatory “burden” on industry. We submitted comments that focus on inadequacies in the cost-benefit analysis accompanying the proposed rule.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Proposed Regulation to Require Drug Price Disclosures

    December 17, 2018

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed a rule that would require pharmaceutical companies to disclose the list prices of prescription drugs in television ads. We submitted comments pointing out flaws in the agency’s analysis of the proposal’s likely costs and benefits.

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  • Academic Articles/Working Papers

    Regulation and Distribution

    December 17, 2018

    This article, published in the New York University Law Review, tackles a question that has vexed the administrative state for the last half century: how to seriously take account of the distributional consequences of regulation. Academic literature has largely accepted the view that distributional concerns should be moved out of the regulatory domain and into Congress’s tax policy portfolio. In doing so, it has overlooked the fact that tax policy is ill suited to provide compensation for significant environmental, health, and safety harms. And the congressional gridlock that has bedeviled us for several decades makes this enterprise even more of a nonstarter. The time has come to make distributional consequences a core concern of the regulatory state – otherwise, future socially beneficial regulations could well encounter significant roadblocks. This article provides the blueprint for the establishment of a standing, broadly constituted interagency body charged with addressing serious negative consequences of regulatory measures on particular groups.

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