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Viewing recent projects in Environmental Justice and Equity
  • Electricity Tariff Design via Lens of Energy Justice Cover

    Electricity Tariff Design via Lens of Energy Justice

    Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) can significantly affect the net social benefit in power systems, raising concerns pertaining to distributional justice and equity. Current tariff design approaches suffer from opaque efficiency-equity trade-offs and are also agnostic of the externalities that affect both economic efficiency and equity. Therefore, this paper develops a justice-cognizant tariff design framework that improves the operational savings in the system without sacrificing distributional equity, and encompasses economic welfare, social costs of environmental and public health impacts, and socio-economic and demographic characteristics of electricity consumers. We evaluate four different tariff structures using a Multi-Objective Problem with Equilibrium Constraints. We then compare the operational savings and equity of the proposed framework using the 11-zone New York ISO and 7-bus Manhattan power networks. The results demonstrate that justice-cognizant, and spatially- and temporally-granular tariffs ensure equity and increase the operational savings at a lower energy burden to consumers.

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  • Just Regulation: Improving Distributional Analysis in Agency Rulemaking Cover

    Just Regulation: Improving Distributional Analysis in Agency Rulemaking

    Working paper

    This Article seeks to understand the shortcomings of current agency practice and outline what agencies can do better. To do so, it examines fifteen significant proposed or final agency rules promulgated during the Biden-Harris Administration’s first eighteen months and reveals four categories of limitations. First, agencies often pursue inconsistent goals across different regulatory initiatives. Second, they do not grapple with the core issue that distributional analysis should raise: the extent to which the better distributional consequences of one alternative should trump the higher net benefits of another alternative. Third, agencies do not apply a consistent approach to defining disadvantaged groups, which makes the analysis inconsistent and unpredictable. Fourth, the distributional analysis relies on a truncated set of costs and benefits, and thus presents an incomplete picture of the consequences of regulation on disadvantaged communities.

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  • Advancing Energy Justice Conference Brief Cover

    Advancing Energy Justice Conference Brief

    Tools for Justice40 and Equitable Deep Decarbonization

    This brief summarizes some of the major points of discussion from our May 2022 conference, “Advancing Energy Justice: Tools for Justice40 and Equitable Deep Decarbonization.” The event brought together federal agency staff working to implement Justice40 with researchers to discuss how academic research can be more responsive to communities’ needs. This brief summarizes the varied views expressed by conference participants and is not intended to be a consensus or recommendation document.

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  • Comments to Treasury and IRS on IRA Implementation

    Following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued a series of Requests for Information seeking comments and suggestions on implementing the tax benefits contained in the historic climate law. Building on Policy Integrity's deep expertise in incorporating equity into the rulemaking process, we submitted general comments advising Treasury and IRS to: 

    1. coordinate with other federal agencies with experience incorporating environmental justice and equity into their rulemaking process; and
    2. conduct robust stakeholder outreach throughout the guidance and rulemaking process, especially in disadvantaged communities.

    In addition, Policy Integrity included specific recommendations with respect to the calculation of carbon intensity for hydrogen production based on recent comments to the Department of Energy

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  • Comments to CEQ on the Environmental Justice Scorecard

    Policy Integrity submitted comments on White House Council on Environmental Quality's Environmental Justice Scorecard on behalf of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA) and Coming Clean. EJHA and Coming Clean are made up of grassroots environmental justice groups, health organizations, environmental groups, community and neighborhood organizations and many more constituencies united in working towards a healthy, just and equitable present and future. The comments were also signed on to by over 20 grassroots organizations from around the country.

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  • Comments to EPA on Risk Management Program Revisions

    The Institute for Policy Integrity submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its proposed revisions to the Risk Management Program (RMP), under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act. EPA’s new proposal will better protect communities from chemical accidents that release toxic air pollution. Policy Integrity recommended that EPA further strengthen its regulatory impact analysis, including its consideration of unquantified benefits and the distribution of benefits and costs between fenceline communities and facilities. In particular, EPA should strengthen its breakeven analysis by better considering how risk mitigation measures decrease the magnitude of accidents and avoid the most-costly accidents or catastrophes. EPA should also clarify its new language concerning climate-related hazards and provide complementary guidance to ensure robust consideration of climate-related hazards by RMP facilities.

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  • Comments to DOE on Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships Program

    We submitted comments urging DOE to clarify how it will distribute Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) project funding and to enhance program transparency. We encourage DOE to more specifically detail how it will evaluate applications and to offer a more precise definition of what "community benefits" it hopes to achieve. We also suggest that DOE require project applicants to submit cost-benefit analyses so that the agency can better compare projects when making funding decisions.

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  • Air Pollution and Environmental Justice Cover

    Air Pollution and Environmental Justice

    Published in Ecology Law Quarterly

    The article examines the failures of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address the environmental justice harms from air pollution and identifies three recent development that could augur beneficial change.

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  • Comments to CEQ on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Guidance

    The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently released interim guidance on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) to assist federal agencies with regulation, permitting, and associated activities. We filed comments urging CEQ to update the guidance document with additional targeted recommendations for agencies on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) programs; project prioritization; and other topics.

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  • Comments to FHWA on EV Charging Infrastructure

    The new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law establishes two funding programs through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to invest in the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. In November, FHWA issued a request for information to shape forthcoming guidance for these programs and emphasized its interest in information on how the guidance could incorporate equity considerations. Policy Integrity submitted comments recommending steps that FHWA and applicants to these funding programs can take to rigorously consider the distributional effects of proposed EV charging infrastructure and factor those effects into ultimate grantmaking decisions. Our comments also recommend that FHWA require applicants to promote robust stakeholder engagement while funding proposals are being developed.

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