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Recent Projects

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  • Victory at Sea: New Offshore Leasing Program Begins to Adopt Policy Integrity Recommendations

    Policy Integrity’s multi-year effort to make the government account for “option value” in its natural resource leasing decisions has begun to pay off. In its new proposal for offshore oil and gas leasing from 2017-2022, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) devotes 12 pages to option value and related resource valuation concepts, which will now be considered in leasing decisions. Much of this language closely resembles the arguments Policy Integrity has made to the agency repeatedly since 2009.

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  • Capturing Value Cover

    Capturing Value

    Science and Strategies to Curb Methane Emissions from the Oil and Natural Gas Sector

    Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a potent climate pollutant up to 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide on a 20-year timeframe. Currently the United States loses at least 1 to 3 percent of its total natural gas production each year when methane is leaked or vented to the atmosphere. Federal regulations could reduce methane emissions by up to 50 percent at little or no net cost, using available technologies.

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  • Oil Train Safety - Public Comments

    Driven by growth in the production of oil in the U.S. and Canada, there has been a significant increase in rail transportation of crude oil over the past five years, with a corresponding increase in the number of accidents. Many oil trains pass through sensitive environmental habitats and densely populated areas, and even share track with commuter trains in some regions.

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  • Livermore Argues Offshore Leasing Case in DC Circuit Court

    The government’s offshore leasing system fails to account for uncertainties about environmental harms—the system ignores “option value,” a well-established economic technique that quantifies the value of delaying decisions to acquire crucial information. As a result, the current leasing system leads to over-exploitation of natural resources and excessive environmental risk.

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  • Offshore Leasing and Option Value - Comments on BOEM’s 2017-2022 Leasing Program

    Policy Integrity recently submitted comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on its five-year offshore leasing program from 2017-2022. BOEM is charged with stewarding vital and valuable resources for the benefit of the American people. On the one hand, the agency must direct the orderly development of offshore oil and gas deposits; at the same time, the agency must safeguard the ecosystems, cultural assets, and human lives affected by resource extraction decisions, and must preserve competing uses of offshore areas. BOEM thus has a responsibility to ensure the reasonable development of offshore resources so that costs to society are appropriately balanced against the benefits generated. Moreover, BOEM must collect a fair return on any of the American people’s oil and gas reserves that are leased for private development. Finally, the agency must attend to the different effects of offshore development on different regions, ecosystems, and communities.

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  • Opening Brief Filed in Offshore Drilling Lawsuit

    Policy Integrity, on behalf of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Sustainable Economy, filed the opening brief in a lawsuit to halt illegal practices at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The brief argues that incomplete and flawed economic analysis leads BOEM to sell new offshore leases too quickly and too cheaply, potentially costing the American public hundreds of billions of dollars.

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  • Lawsuit Challenging BOEM’s plan for selling offshore leases

    Policy Integrity, along with environmental attorney Steven Sugarman, are counsel to the Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE) in their lawsuit against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to halt the agency’s first five-year outer continental shelf oil and gas leasing program approved since the Gulf oil disaster.

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  • Letter to EPA on water quality permitting

    Policy Integrity submitted a letter to the EPA on its upcoming rulemaking regarding water quality permitting. The letter makes recommendations on improving the efficiency of EPA’s implementation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.

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  • Letter to BOEM regarding options value

    Currently, the federal government treats lease sales as a now-or-never decision. That’s an approach that leads to too many leases sold too quickly, at too low a price. Instead, BOEM should be waiting to sell these leases until the time is right—when they can get the highest possible price.

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  • Patience is a(n Economic) Virtue Cover

    Patience is a(n Economic) Virtue

    Real Options, Natural Resources, and Offshore Oil

    Consideration of real options is necessary to maximize economic return from non-renewable natural resource extraction. But ecisions over drilling are often framed as a now-or-never choice, so the option to wait (or “real option” value) is improperly treated in administrative processes that determine whether, when, and how offshore oil resources will be tapped.

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