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  • News

    Roundup of Trump-Era Deregulation in the Courts

    December 10, 2018

    The Trump administration has undertaken numerous deregulatory actions through rule suspensions; repeals; rescissions; efforts to weaken regulations through guidance, memoranda, amendments, or replacements; and more. Many of these actions have been challenged in court and decisions have been reached in several cases.

    The Institute for Policy Integrity maintains a publicly available list of those decisions. This “Roundup,” which we update regularly, has been cited by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Brookings Institution.

    The Roundup provides an overview of each court decision, with relevant links to the government actions and court rulings. It also tallies the successful and unsuccessful outcomes for the administration for ease of reference. Updates should be submitted to bethany.davisnoll@nyu.edu.

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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 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

    Expert Testimony on Colorado’s Low Emission Vehicle Program and the Social Cost of Carbon

    October 12, 2018

    We recently submitted expert testimony on the benefits of Colorado’s proposed Low Emission Vehicle Program. The LEV program could avoid millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and we explain to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission the importance of and methodology for monetizing the real-world contributions of those emissions to global climate change. Our report shows, by applying Social Cost of Carbon estimates, that Colorado’s proposed LEV program could generate billions of dollars’ worth of climate benefits.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to the California PUC on Energy Storage

    September 26, 2018

    We recently submitted comments to the California Public Utilities Commission on the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). Retrospective review of SGIP has found that, contrary to the program’s goals, greenhouse gas emissions sometimes increase when energy storage systems are deployed. To address this unintended consequence, the CPUC Energy Division Staff issued a set of recommendations on how to improve the program, including by creating a real-time greenhouse gas emissions factor for energy storage operators to use, and by tying the SGIP incentive payments to greenhouse gas performance. Our comments provide the CPUC with our original analysis on energy storage to support these recommendations, including our recent report, Managing the Future of Energy Storage, and an academic article, by Policy Integrity’s Director, Richard Revesz, and Energy Policy Director, Burcin Unel, Ph.D, on energy storage and greenhouse gas emissions.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on California’s Proposed State-Specific Vehicle Emissions Regulations

    September 24, 2018

    We recently submitted comments to the California Air Resource Board (CARB) on its proposal to maintain existing statewide vehicle emission regulations. In coming years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency plan to weaken federal environmental regulations. CARB is aiming to hold California vehicle emissions at current standards to avoid the effects of weakened regulations. Our comments support the feasibility of California’s current standards and encourage CARB to improve its economic impact assessment by accounting for new federal proposals and a broader range of effects.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Vermont’s Standard Offer Program

    September 21, 2018

    We recently submitted comments on Vermont’s standard offer program, which is designed to support smaller-scale renewable energy projects. One component of the standard offer program compensates generators that provide benefits to grid operation and management. In the past, the Vermont Public Utilities Commission has focused its view of these benefits to reward only generators that relieve transmission constraints. However, our comments urge the PUC to take a broader view of benefits to grid operation and include resilience benefits and avoiding climate effects on the grid. We cite our July 2018 report, Toward Resilience, to give the PUC more guidance on how to think about and value grid resilience. We also recommend that, when more broadly assessing the entire standard offer program’s benefits, the PUC should monetize any avoided climate externalities by using the social cost of greenhouse gases.

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