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  • Analytical Clarity Cover

    Analytical Clarity

    How Updated Climate-Damage Values and Discount Rates Will Affect Regulatory Analysis

    Recently completed and draft guidance is ushering in updated practices for federal benefit-cost analysis. This policy brief examines the impact of two of the most significant upcoming changes: to the discount rate and the social cost of greenhouse gases.

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  • Transmission Planning for the Energy Transition Cover

    Transmission Planning for the Energy Transition

    Rethinking Modeling Approaches

    This report examines the critical role of modeling details and assumptions that transmission planners frequently ignore. We first provide an overview of the wide array of choices planners have when designing traditional transmission planning models. We then discuss how planners need to rethink these choices to account for the rapidly evolving energy system and the additional uncertainties climate change brings. Finally, we present a modeling case study to show how important these modeling choices could be for transmission outcomes.

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  • The Continued Need for SEC Action on Climate-Related Disclosures Cover

    The Continued Need for SEC Action on Climate-Related Disclosures

    How New California and E.U. Requirements Reinforce the Economic Case for the SEC’s Proposed Rule

    On March 21, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule that would require SEC registrants (both domestic and foreign) to provide climate-related disclosures in certain SEC filings. Since the release of the SEC Proposal in March 2022, other jurisdictions, including California and the European Union, have adopted climate-related disclosure regimes. Like many federal rules, the SEC Proposal included an assessment of its costs and benefits. This report examines how the California and E.U. disclosure regimes may affect the baseline for that cost-benefit analysis and, consequently, the SEC’s assessment of the incremental costs and benefits of its proposal. Overall, we find that the new disclosure regimes do not undermine the economic case for the SEC Proposal; if anything, they bolster it.

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  • Comments to EPA on the Proposal to Limit Emissions from Reclassified Major Sources of Air Toxics

    In November 2020, EPA finalized a rule withdrawing the “Once-in, Always-in” Policy, under which facilities that are “major sources” of emissions at the first compliance date for the applicable standard must comply permanently with the requirements for a major source. This 2020 Rule allows major sources of toxic air pollution to reclassify as area sources, which are subject to less stringent or no emission control requirements. The 2020 Rule therefore creates the potential for very large increases in toxic air pollution. In September 2023, EPA proposed new safeguards to prevent increased emissions from sources that reclassify and restores federal enforceability requirements for potential to emit limits. We submitted comments on the analysis underlying the proposed new safeguards.

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  • Comments to PHMSA on Proposed Pipeline Safety Initiatives

    In September 2023, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed a regulation to improve the safety of certain gas pipelines. The standards include a suite of reforms to help prevent incidents like the catastrophic 2018 gas pipeline explosions in Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts. In a comment letter, we explain that, while the Proposed Rule and its accompanying regulatory impact analysis are well grounded in applicable statutes and guidance, PHMSA should take further steps to bolster its analysis.

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  • Policy Integrity Comments Influence Order from Michigan Public Service Commission

    In October 2023, the Michigan Public Service Commission issued an order in the benefit cost analysis (BCA) matter for which we filed comments in June. The order adopts several of our recommendations, and specifically cites us for several of them.

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  • Comments to NHTSA on New Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards

    In August 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a regulation to strengthen corporate average fuel economy standards for passenger cars, light trucks, and heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans. In a comment letter, we explain that while the Proposed Rule and its accompanying regulatory impact analysis offer useful starting points, NHTSA should take further steps to ensure the complete presentation of regulatory benefits and costs and should select a regulatory option that best promotes social welfare, consistent with the agency’s legal obligations. We also submitted joint comments with a coalition of other environmental groups on NHTSA’s use of the social cost of greenhouses gases in the Proposed Rule.

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  • Comments to FERC in Support of Technical Conference on Capacity Accreditation

    Policy Integrity submitted comments to FERC in support of American Clean Power Association’s petition for a technical conference on capacity accreditation. Holding a technical conference would be appropriate because accurate accreditation is becoming increasingly difficult as grids accommodate rapidly changing resource mixes with varying energy and reliability attributes, public policy constraints, and increasing/unprecedented extreme weather events. Moreover, accreditation has become more consequential, as capacity market revenues have grown to a significant share of total market payments. We included several questions that would merit discussion at the technical conference.

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  • Comments to CEQ on Proposed Revisions to NEPA Implementing Regulations

    In July, the Council on Environmental Quality proposed revisions to the implementing regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Proposed Rule reflects a more holistic approach to informing agency decisions with a robust and balanced analysis of environmental impacts. In our comment letter, we suggested improvements to the proposal that would help ensure robust and balanced treatment of environmental impacts in NEPA reviews.

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  • The Social Cost of Carbon Cover

    The Social Cost of Carbon

    Options for Applying a Metric in Flux

    Many states and other jurisdictions are grappling with how to value greenhouse gas emission reductions and trying to understand the rapidly developing climate economics and science involved in this task. Frequently, state governments and other jurisdictions value greenhouse gas emissions in policymaking using a tool known as the social cost of carbon.

    While applying the social cost of carbon is conceptually simple, the appropriate value to place on the metric is in flux. In late 2022, the federal government released new, updated values of the social cost of carbon in draft form which, for now, remain unfinalized. So what estimates of the social cost of carbon should states and other entities use during this transition period? This policy brief explores the available options.

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