Menu
Institute for Policy Integrity logo

Recent Projects

Viewing recent projects in Court Filings
  • Amicus Brief in Case Challenging the Economic Justifications for Energy Conservation Standards

    In 2023, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued new energy conservation standards for consumer water heaters and consumer furnaces. In April 2024, a natural gas trade association challenged the standards in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, arguing that the standards are not economically justified. In response, Policy Integrity filed an amicus brief supporting DOE’s economic analyses and explaining how Petitioners’ and certain amici’s arguments overlook DOE’s sound assumptions and the relevant statutory framework.

    Read more

  • Amicus Brief on Major Questions Doctrine in Fifth Circuit Case Over DOL’s 2022 Investment Duties Rule

    We filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit arguing that the lower court correctly concluded the Department of Labor's 2022 Investment Duties Rule does not trigger the major questions doctrine because past regulatory practice demonstrated the case was not extraordinary enough to trigger the doctrine. Our brief explains that parties often invoke the major questions doctrine when they oppose an agency’s action without closely following the analysis in West Virginia v. EPA, 142 S. Ct. 2587 (2022), or the Supreme Court’s other recent cases applying the doctrine.

    Read more

  • Amicus Brief in Challenge to Oil and Gas Permitting in Alaska

    The Willow Master Development Plan is a proposed oil and gas development project in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska led by ConocoPhillips. In 2020, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved the project for development. In 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska vacated BLM’s approval of the Willow Project, but BLM prepared a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) and subsequently re-approved the Project with fairly minor modifications. In March 2023, Plaintiffs challenged BLM's approval. We filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska in support of Plaintiffs to provide reasons supporting vacatur if the Court grants summary judgment to Plaintiffs. In January 2024, we filed our amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after the Plaintiffs appealed the district court's decision in favor of BLM.

    Read more

  • Amicus Brief in D.C. Circuit Opposing FERC Pipeline Approval

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently approved the construction of a new natural gas pipeline that would run through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The gas capacity this expensive pipeline would provide, most of which will serve New Jersey markets, is unnecessary to meet the demand of New Jersey customers: the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities commissioned a study that demonstrates as much. We submitted an amicus brief in support of petitioners challenging this pipeline. In our brief, we explain that, in approving pipeline applications, FERC has abdicated its statutory responsibility to examine whether a pipeline is truly needed. Instead of determining whether a pipeline would serve the public interest, FERC defers to the assertions of profit-motivated pipeline developers and their customers. FERC's practice of approving needless pipelines is particularly concerning in light of how it regulates the development of electric transmission infrastructure, a related regulatory process. We argue that FERC should have placed greater weight on the rigorous economic study conducted by an expert state agency charged with ensuring safe and adequate gas supply for its residents.

    Read more

  • Amicus Brief on Major Questions Doctrine in Loan Settlement Case

    We filed an amicus brief in a Ninth Circuit loan settlement case in support of neither party to address the proper application of the major questions doctrine. Our brief takes no position on whether the major questions doctrine ultimately applies to the case, nor does it take a position on how the Ninth Circuit should ultimately decide the case. It does explain that, although the Supreme Court’s major questions precedents often reference the economic significance of an agency’s action, none of the Supreme Court’s precedents, including West Virginia, turns on this factor.

    Read more

  • Amicus Brief Defending NHTSA Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards

    In May 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized a rule to increase its corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2024–2026. A group of fuel and petrochemical manufacturers and states challenged the standards in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, arguing primarily that the Energy Policy and Conservation Act bars NHTSA from including electric vehicles in the analytical baseline for the new standards. Our amicus brief explains that longstanding administrative guidance and case law direct agencies to develop baselines that reflect their best assessment of the real world absent any new agency action. In the context of this rulemaking, that guidance and case law required NHTSA to project how many and what kinds of vehicles—including electric (and plug-in hybrid electric) vehicles—would be built and sold if it did not issue new CAFE standards, which is what NHTSA did here. Our amicus brief also explains that NHTSA has consistently prepared baselines for prior CAFE standards in this manner.

    Read more

  • Amicus Brief Defending EPA Tailpipe Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards

    In December 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a regulation to strengthen its greenhouse gas emission standards for light-duty vehicles. Although regulated automakers support EPA’s approach, a group of states and oil-and-gas companies have challenged the standards in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, claiming that the standards misapply economic principles and violate the major questions doctrine. In our amicus brief, we explain that EPA’s regulation is consistent with sound economics and established practice.

    Read more

  • Amicus Brief in D.C. Circuit Defending BOEM’s Authority to Robustly Consider Climate Impacts in Offshore Leasing

    Earlier this year, a group of environmental organizations successfully challenged an offshore oil-and-gas lease sale held by the Bureau Ocean Energy Management on the basis that BOEM inadequately assessed the impacts on climate change from the combustion of the fossil fuels that the lease sale would facilitate. In its appeal to the D.C. Circuit, the American Petroleum Institute countered that any analytical limitations were harmless because the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act bars BOEM from considering climate-change impacts when administering leasing policy. Our amicus brief rebuts this argument and defends BOEM’s authority to consider downstream climate impacts in its administration of the offshore leasing program. Our brief explains that the consideration of downstream emissions is consistent with OCSLA’s text, legislative history, regulatory history, and caselaw.

    Read more

  • Amicus Brief in Support of Upholding PJM’s Focused Minimum Offer Price Rule

    Last July, PJM Interconnection (the electricity grid operator for 13 states and the District of Columbia) submitted revisions to its Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) for its capacity market to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approval. The new rule (the “Focused MOPR”) would remove an artificial barrier to market entry for resources that receive such externality payments under state climate and clean energy policies. Policy Integrity filed an amicus brief in support of FERC and PJM’s Focused MOPR explaining why the rule is welfare-enhancing and would not threaten reliability.

    Read more

  • Amicus Brief in Fifth Circuit Supporting Reversal of Injunction on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

    In this amicus brief, we explain how the Interagency Working Group based its climate-damage valuations on voluminous and expert science, and that its approach followed regulatory guidance and precedent. In particular, the brief supports the Working Group's selection of discount rates and geographic scope, explaining how those choices followed expert consensus and were consistent with agency treatment of other regulatory impacts.

    Read more