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Recent Projects

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  • Comments to BLM on Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve

    The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) activity plan for the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve could lead to as much as 76.86 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in a given year during peak production. We submitted joint comments urging BLM to monetize and contextualize the climate impacts of its plan using social cost of carbon metrics.

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  • Look Before You Lease Cover

    Look Before You Lease

    Reducing Fossil Fuel Dominance on Public Lands by Accounting for Option Value

    While the Trump administration’s goal of “energy dominance” has increased the public lands available for oil and gas development, no effort has been made to modernize the leasing system, even in the face of climate change. Our report explains how option value—which accounts for the informational value gained by delaying leasing decisions—can and should be factored into the Bureau of Land Management’s land use planning processes. Accounting for option value at multiple stages of the land use planning process would significantly improve BLM’s public lands stewardship, better protect the environment, and regain some of the economic and strategic advantages it has ceded to private developers. The report also describes case studies where BLM’s failure to consider option value has led to costly litigation and missed opportunities.

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  • Comments to BLM on Proposed Farmington Drilling Projects

    The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Farmington Field Office in New Mexico released an addendum to its environmental assessment for eighty-six drilling applications. The addendum estimates that the projects, in total, would result in more than 483 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent over the lifetimes of the assessments. BLM’s analysis, however, fails to consider the climate impacts of these emissions, which would amount to more than $25 billion. Our comments ask that BLM provide monetized estimates of these real-world climate impacts using social cost of greenhouse gases metrics.

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  • Comments to FERC on Putnam Expansion Project

    The Putnam Expansion Project involves the construction and installation of natural gas infrastructure that will result in downstream emissions of approximately 3.26 million metric tons carbon dioxide-equivalent each year. Our comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) focus on its environmental assessment of the project, which provides unclear and inadequate analysis of the emissions and their climate impacts. We urge FERC to monetize climate damages by using social cost of greenhouse gas metrics.

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  • Comments to EPA on Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed revisions to New Source Performance Standards for methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the oil and natural gas sector. We submitted comments focusing on EPA’s flawed and legal economic justifications for the rule.

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  • Comments to the State Department on the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline

    We submitted comments on the U.S. Department of State’s supplemental environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. A federal district court ruled that the agency’s original impact analysis was inadequate, failing to take all relevant information into account when projecting that the pipeline would not affect total crude oil production. The Department’s new analysis projects that the pipeline will likely increase total crude oil production by only partially offsetting production that would have occurred elsewhere under a “no action” scenario, but irrationally fails to account for this substitution effect when projecting the pipeline’s economic benefits. Our comments argue that the Department continues to violate NEPA by its lopsided treatment of the pipeline’s costs and benefits, through not only its inconsistent treatment of substitution effects but also its failure to assess the pipeline’s climate-related impacts through monetization.

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  • Comments to BLM on New Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its environmental assessment of a February 2020 lease sale in the Carlsbad Field Office region of New Mexico. We submitted joint comments asking BLM to monetize the real-world climate impacts of projected emissions using the social cost of greenhouse gases.

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  • Testimony on Retirement of the San Juan Coal-Fired Power Plant

    Jason Schwartz and Denise Grab prepared a testimony for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission regarding a proposal to retire the San Juan Generating Units, a coal-fired power plant in New Mexico. Their testimony details how applying Social Cost of Carbon metrics would allow the Commission to better monetize and contextualize the climate impacts of the proposal. Retiring the San Juan coal units would deliver billions of dollars in benefits to agricultural productivity, property values, and human health.

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  • Comments to BLM on Utah Oil and Gas Lease Sale

    The Bureau of Land Management released its updated environmental assessment for May 2015 and February 2016 lease sales in Utah, in response to a court remand in WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke. We submitted comments asking BLM to monetize the real-world climate impacts of the lease sales using the social cost of greenhouse gases.

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  • Comments to BLM on Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its draft resource management plan for the Eastern Colorado planning area, projecting millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year from oil and gas development, coal production, and downstream emissions. We submitted joint comments focusing on BLM’s failure to monetize climate damages and properly analyze energy substitution effects.

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