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  • Policy Integrity Comments Reflected in FERC’s Order 1920 on Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation

    On May 13, 2024, FERC issued Order 1920, a landmark rule to improve regional transmission planning and cost allocation processes. The Order could ease the process of expanding electric transmission, helping integrate much more renewable energy to the U.S. grid. We submitted four rounds of comments in this proceeding: at the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking stage, then on the proposal, and then two sets of supplemental comments.  For several key features of the final rule, FERC adopted our recommendations.

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  • The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: An Overview Cover

    The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: An Overview

    A Primer on EPA’s Updated Values for Policymakers and Practitioners

    In December 2023, EPA finalized updated values for the social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG), following public comment and expert peer review. The agency derived these estimates using the best available science and economics, and the estimates represent a significant step forward in our ability to properly value climate effects. The brief is intended to introduce policymakers and practitioners to the SC-GHG, break down EPA's updated values, and explain why they represent a powerful tool that can streamline decisionmaking and policy analysis.

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  • Policy Integrity Scholarship Cited in Letter from Four New England Senators to ISO-NE

    On April 30, 2024, Senators Markey, Sanders, Warren, and Whitehouse sent a letter to ISO-NE President and CEO Gordon van Welie urging the independent system operator to improve its governance policies, proactively plan for new transmission, and ensure fair access to markets for clean energy technologies. The letter advocated for several changes that Policy Integrity has pushed in the past, including increasing opportunities for community participation in energy policy decisions and pursuing longer-term, holistic transmission planning. On the latter point, the letter cited our December 2023 report that advocated for more proactive transmission planning on the part of energy decisionmakers.

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  • Comments to DOE on Notice of Intent Regarding Launching a Voluntary Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchasing Challenge

    In March 2024, the Department of Energy published a Notice of Intent Regarding Launching a Voluntary Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchasing Challenge. To participate in the Purchasing Challenge, organizations must disclose to DOE several details about each associated carbon dioxide removal (CDR) credit, including the purchaser, supplier, underlying project, and crediting methodology. The Institute for Policy Integrity submitted comments recommending ways DOE could better balance concerns about the disclosure of commercially sensitive information with the benefits of allowing researchers and market actors to access price data.

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  • Policy Integrity Scholarship and Advocacy Reflected in CEQ’s Rule for Conducting Environmental Review

    On April 30, CEQ revised its implementing regulations for the National Environmental Policy Act that undergird how federal agencies conduct environmental review of proposed projects. Consistent with federal caselaw, CEQ’s regulations emphasize the need to consider climate change and environmental justice impacts in environmental review, among other key revisions. These revisions are also consistent with suggestions that Policy Integrity has offered through our scholarship, reports, and comments on ensuring careful consideration of climate change and environmental justice in federal permitting. In addition, CEQ implemented several of Policy Integrity’s suggestions to enhance its cost-benefit analysis for this rulemaking.

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  • Policy Integrity Recommendations Reflected in DOE’s Transmission Permitting Rule

    On April 25, 2024, the Department of Energy (DOE) released its final rule under 16 U.S.C. § 824p(h) to expedite the federal authorization of transmission projects. We commented in support of the proposal, including DOE's proposed requirement that project proponents describe how the transmission project would affect power-system greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the final rule, DOE retained the requirement to describe power-system GHG impacts and, in response to our recommendation, clarified that the ambiguous language in the proposal does require project proponents to estimate non-power-system GHG emissions and power-system emissions of local air pollutants. 

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  • Within Its Wheelhouse Cover

    Within Its Wheelhouse

    EPA’s Latest Power Plant Regulations Rely on Traditional Approaches Left Available After West Virginia v. EPA

    In May 2023, EPA proposed new limits for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from certain fossil-fuel-fired power plants under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. Some critics have suggested that EPA’s new rule triggers the major questions doctrine. Under that doctrine, a court should look skeptically on the agency action in extraordinary cases involving unprecedented and transformative applications of agency authority. But the major questions doctrine is inapplicable to EPA’s use of CCS in its proposed regulations. Rather than propose a new approach that would transform its exercise of statutory authority, EPA has embraced one of its most traditional and well-established regulatory practices: setting emission limits based on pollution controls that cause a regulated source to operate more cleanly. This policy brief details why EPA’s latest proposal to limit GHG emissions from power plants fits neatly within the bounds of the legal authority left intact after West Virginia. It then explains how states and operators retain flexibility to use emission trading and averaging programs to implement EPA’s regulations.

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  • Defining “Adequately Demonstrated” Cover

    Defining “Adequately Demonstrated”

    EPA’s Long History of Forward-Looking Standards Under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act

    In May 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new limits for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from certain fossil-fuel-fired power plants under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. Section 111 requires EPA to set limits reflecting the emission reductions achievable by applying what the agency determines to be the “best system of emission reduction” (BSER) that “has been adequately demonstrated,” and that meets certain other statutory factors. This policy brief summarizes the legal framework of Section 111 (including the legislative history and caselaw relevant to understanding its technology-forcing nature), walks through how courts have interpreted “adequately demonstrated,” reviews EPA’s past use of Section 111 to drive technology improvements, and explains why a potential Supreme Court decision that eliminates or curtails Chevron deference (a legal doctrine providing deference to reasonable agency interpretations of ambiguous statutory language) would not affect the longstanding interpretation of “adequately demonstrated.”

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  • Comments to Montana PSC on Petition for Rulemaking on Consideration of Climate Impacts

    In February, a coalition of public-interest organizations filed a petition for rulemaking requesting that the Montana Public Service Commission consider climate change in its regulation of electric and gas utilities. The Petition for Rulemaking calls on the Commission to consider the impacts of climate change in its proceedings using the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest estimates of the social cost of greenhouse gases. In support of the petition, we submitted comments offering a few helpful insights.

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  • Hydrogen Co-Firing and the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Limits for Power Plants Cover

    Hydrogen Co-Firing and the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Limits for Power Plants

    Policy Strategies for Meaningful Emission Reductions

    In May 2023, EPA proposed new limits for carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. The proposed rule reflects a decade of careful development from EPA and embraces an approach consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia v. EPA. In order to follow that approach, EPA based the limits for certain natural gas-fired turbines on the emission reductions achievable through hydrogen co-firing (i.e., burning a blend of natural gas and hydrogen). Unlike fossil fuels, hydrogen does not release CO2 when burned, but producing hydrogen can cause significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions depending on how its produced. Given these potential emissions, it is important to consider what type of hydrogen a power plant will co-fire with—otherwise this approach to reducing emissions could exacerbate climate change. This report explains the role of hydrogen co-firing in EPA’s proposed rule, discusses how EPA should design its final rules to achieve the specified GHG-reduction goals, and highlights additional actions that EPA and other regulators can take to further minimize the emissions (and the resulting climate harm) from hydrogen co-firing.

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