Menu
Institute for Policy Integrity logo

Recent Projects

Viewing recent projects in Natural Resources
  • The Climate Costs and Economic Benefits of LNG Export Cover

    The Climate Costs and Economic Benefits of LNG Export

    Gas provides nearly a quarter of the world’s total energy supply. As part of that supply chain, gas is shipped between continents in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The United States is now the world’s largest LNG exporter following a surge in gas exports since 2016, but these exports have generated controversy due to their climate effects.This policy brief provides an analysis to support an effort to balance the full range of impacts from LNG exports. Using DOE’s own published studies, we compare the climate cost per unit of LNG export to the economic benefit (measured using consumer welfare). We find that climate costs likely exceed economic benefits. While the precise difference depends on several factors, gross climate damages greatly exceed economic benefits under all scenarios evaluated. These findings provide useful insights as DOE prepares to re-evaluate the LNG export program.

    Read more

  • The Narrow Reinterpretation Cover

    The Narrow Reinterpretation

    The Oil and Gas Industry’s Retreat from the Broad Federal Permitting Authority It Long Embraced

    What's the function of oil and gas permitting agencies? Despite broad statutory grants to federal agencies, oil and gas companies increasingly argue that the role of those agencies is to promote development regardless of whether it is socially desirable. But this “Narrow Reinterpretation,” in addition to lacking textual support, is at odds with longstanding practice. What changed? Not the governing statutes, at least not in pertinent part. But the energy sector has: renewable sources have replaced coal as the primary competitors to oil and gas. 

    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

  • Comments to EPA on Louisiana Primacy for Carbon Sequestration Wells

    We recently filed comments to EPA on its proposal to grant the State of Louisiana primary enforcement responsibility (primacy) over Class VI injection wells used for geologic carbon sequestration. Our comments encourage EPA to ensure that Louisiana has adequate and timely plans for transitioning Class II enhanced oil or gas recovery wells to the Class VI program, where appropriate, in order to mitigate safety concerns. Louisiana’s planned timeline for Class II transition fails to meet some of the requirements set forth in EPA’s regulations and guidance, and the state’s Class II transition plan and related regulations may be inadequate for mitigating risks. Our comments also encourage EPA to provide thorough responses to all concerns raised by community members about risk and oversight of injection wells, and require appropriate risk-mitigation measures before granting primacy.

    Read more

  • The Obligation to Serve in Massachusetts Cover

    The Obligation to Serve in Massachusetts

    Gas Service and the Energy Transition

    In Massachusetts, achieving the state’s decarbonization target in a cost-effective manner will likely require the refusal of new gas service in addition to the termination of existing gas service in certain buildings and its replacement with electric service. The scope of utilities’ legal obligation to serve their customers will be central to those efforts. This brief analyzes the contours of this obligation by examining the relevant Massachusetts statutes, regulations, Public Utility Commission decisions, and case law.

    Read more

  • Best Practices for Energy Substitution Analysis Cover

    Best Practices for Energy Substitution Analysis

    In recent years, numerous federal agencies have made a controversial claim: that projects locking in fossil fuels over the long term will decrease aggregate greenhouse gas emissions, or that their effects on total emissions will be limited. In many of those cases, however, agencies have reached this counter-intuitive conclusion using a flawed consideration of energy substitution. This report identifies some of the recurring problems with agency analysis of energy substitution and offers best practices to apply moving forward.

    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

  • Enacting the  “Polluter Pays” Principle Cover

    Enacting the “Polluter Pays” Principle

    New York’s Climate Change Superfund Act and Its Impact on Gasoline Prices

    This policy brief analyzes how New York State’s recently proposed Climate Change Superfund Act is most likely to affect consumer gasoline prices. The Act would require payments from fossil-fuel companies based on their historical contributions to current greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. The payments would be used to build green infrastructure to help the state adapt to climate change. The brief finds that the Act would likely have a negligible impact on current and near-term oil prices, while potentially lowering future energy prices in New York, including for transportation.

    Read more

  • Comments on BSEE Well Control Rule

    Policy Integrity submitted comments to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), located within the Department of the Interior, in support of its proposed rule to strengthen regulations for well control and blowout preventer systems in the Outer Continental Shelf. This rule aims to reduce the risk of loss-of-well-control events, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, by tightening well operator reporting requirements and equipment standards. Our comments encourage BSEE to strengthen the Proposed Rule's cost-benefit analysis by performing a break-even analysis and quantitatively assessing and/or qualitatively describing the full range of harms that result from well blowouts.

    Read more

  • Comments on Natural Capital Accounting

    In August, the White House Office of Management and Budget published a request for information to help inform the development of government-wide natural capital accounts and standardized environmental-economic statistics. We joined a comment letter with five other organizations supporting this strategy of valuing the nation's capital stocks. The letter explained that management of the nation’s natural capital stocks is vital for our economy, and that comprehensive, consistent, and comparable information on natural capital stocks and flows will improve policy and decision-making. The letter also highlighted the strong theoretical and empirical foundations for valuing natural capital stocks. 

    Read more