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Recent Projects

Viewing recent projects in Natural Resources
  • Public Comments

    Comments to FERC on a Natural Gas Project EIS

    August 13, 2018

    We recently submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a natural gas processing and storage facility and marine export terminal in Louisiana, the Calcasieu Pass Project. While the DEIS quantifies the tons of greenhouse gas emissions related to this project—almost 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year from operations, plus hundreds of thousands of tons per year during construction—FERC fails to apply the social cost of greenhouse gas metric to fully account for the climate effects of these emissions. Once again, FERC resorts to flawed arguments used in other inadequate NEPA reviews to implicitly justify why the Commission chose not to use the social cost of greenhouse gases metric for the Calcasieu project. Our comments provide a detailed rejection of FERC’s arbitrary and misleading rationale for failing to use the social cost of greenhouse gases, and offer additional guidance on how to monetize climate effects consistent with the currently best available science and economics.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA and Army Corp on Supplemental Notice for Clean Water Rule

    August 10, 2018

    Following a Proposed Repeal of the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corp of Engineers issued a Supplemental Notice in July 2018 regarding the Proposed Repeal. We previously submitted comments to the agencies on the Proposed Repeal explaining that the economic analysis accompanying that Proposed Repeal was fundamentally flawed. In this notice, the agencies state that they are “not relying” on that economic analysis.

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  • News

    Policy Integrity Article Cited in Suit Against Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee

    August 9, 2018

    A group of NGOS, led by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, recently filed a complaint in the District of Montana Court regarding Secretary of the Interior Zinke’s Royalty Policy Committee (RPC). The complaint argues that though the RPC should be acting transparently on behalf of American taxpayers, it is in fact working in secret to advance the interest of extractive industries. In the complaint, the petitioners cite a recent Harvard Environmental Law Review article by Policy Director, Jayni Foley Hein, Federal Lands and Fossil Fuels: Maximizing Social Welfare in Federal Energy Leasing, to help make their case.

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  • Court Filings

    Positive Ruling in Case on BLM Climate Impacts Leasing

    August 3, 2018

    A District of Montana judge recently ordered that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must update two resource management plans (RMPs) for the Powder River Basin in order to better assess the plans’ climate impacts. Dr. Peter Howard, our Economics Director, submitted an expert declaration in the case in May on the environmental, public health, and social welfare costs of the RMPs, focusing on the social cost of greenhouse gases metric. The suit was brought by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, with other NGOs, against BLM for failing to conduct a sufficient analysis of the climate effects of possible fossil fuel leasing, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. Because almost half of the country’s coal is mined in the Powder River Basin, there are significant greenhouse gas emissions implications for mineral leasing in the area.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to Interior on San Juan Mine Lease Extension DEIS (New Mexico)

    July 9, 2018

    The Department of the Interior is proposing to extend leasing and operations at New Mexico’s San Juan mine by 15 years, producing up to 53 million additional tons of coal that will release 97.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions when combusted. In our comments to Interior on its draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the mine’s lease extension, we criticize Interior’s failure to fully account for the climate effects related to the project by monetizing the damage these emissions will cause. This refusal leaves the public and decisionmakers in the dark about the climate effects of the project, and is arbitrary given that the agency relies on the project’s monetized benefits to justify its action.

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  • Court Filings

    Brief to SCOTUS on Economic Impact of Conservation Designations

    July 6, 2018

    We recently filed, in a case before the Supreme Court, a brief on the role of ancillary and unquantified benefits in cost-benefit analysis for environmental policy. The Fish and Wildlife Service, in declaring critical habitat designation areas for the dusky gopher frog, decided to not exclude some private land from the designation after qualitatively assessing the direct and indirect costs and benefits of the designation.

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  • Court Filings

    Brief on Repeal of Interior’s Valuation Rule

    June 25, 2018

    In 2016, the Department of the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) issued the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform (Valuation Rule). The Valuation Rule sought to ensure that states and the federal government receive the full value of royalties due under the law for oil, gas, and coal extracted from public land. In 2017, ONRR abruptly reversed course and repealed the rule. State attorneys general have now sued ONRR over the repeal and filed a motion for summary judgment. In our brief supporting the plaintiffs, we argue that ONRR did not provide a reasoned explanation for repealing the Valuation Rule, both because ONRR fails to accurately assess the repeal’s economic impact and because ONRR fails to provide a reasoned explanation for its abrupt change in course.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to BLM on Potential Oil and Gas Leasing in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    June 19, 2018

    As the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) considers opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas leasing, pursuant to language in the 2017 Tax Act, our comments explain that development of oil and gas in the Arctic Coastal Plain would pose serious threats to this delicate, pristine ecosystem. In preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for this potential lease sale, BLM must consider the many factors that weigh strongly against any leasing or development in the Refuge.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee

    June 6, 2018

    Our policy director, Jayni Hein, published a new op-ed in U.S. News & World Report on the Interior Department’s failure to protect the public interest in fossil fuel leasing decisions. In addition, she submitted the op-ed as public comments to Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee and gave verbal remarks at its meeting on June 6, 2018. Hein argues that Interior is required by law to earn “fair market value” for the use and development of public natural resources, and that providing royalty rate reductions and other undue concessions would inappropriately transfer public revenue to fossil fuel industry stakeholders.

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  • Court Filings

    Expert Declaration on Using the Social Cost of Carbon in Environmental Assessments

    May 25, 2018

    Fossil fuel development causes significant harm to the environment and human health, and our work continues to push for public disclosure of these harms. Dr. Peter Howard, our economics director, submitted a declaration on the environmental, public health, and social welfare costs of two resource management plans finalized in 2015 by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Montana and Wyoming. Part of a suit against BLM by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, this declaration was presented alongside declarations from other noted climate experts, including Dr. James Hansen. Dr. Howard found that the air pollution and greenhouse gases emitted during the extraction, processing, transportation, and combustion of 11 billion tons of coal and oil and gas from thousands of wells at these two regions will cause more than $802 billion in damages between 2018 and 2028.

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