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Recent Projects

Viewing recent projects in Natural Resources
  • Reports

    Deregulation Run Amok

    November 13, 2018

    Our report provides a survey of the legality of Trump Administration’s regulatory suspensions. Looking at a number of cases, we discuss the administration’s disregard for notice-and-comment requirements, statutory restrictions, and the reasoned explanation requirement. We also lay out some of the challenges facing advocates, and the strategies by which agencies have evaded review.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments on Carlsbad Region Fossil Fuel Leasing

    November 5, 2018

    We submitted two sets of comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in response to their Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP), which focuses on mineral development potential in the Carlsbad region of New Mexico. Our comments recommend that BLM not offer more lands for fossil fuel leasing, but instead consider alternatives with the greatest amount of conservation and wildlife protection. In particular, we focus on shortcomings in the RMP’s analysis and its failure to monetize climate damages.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to BLM on Wright Area Coal Lease Extensions in Wyoming

    October 4, 2018

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently published a draft environmental assessment (EA) of coal lease extensions in the Wright Area of Wyoming. BLM’s new analysis reaffirms its 2010 environmental impact statement (EIS) on the same lease extensions despite a court order instructing BLM to correct false assumptions of coal leasing economics.. We submitted comments describing how the agency fails to improve its analysis and instead makes the same critical omissions and mistakes.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to the Interior Department’s Royalty Policy Committee

    September 7, 2018

    We recently submitted comments to the Department of the Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee (“RPC”) in advance of the Committee’s third public meeting of the year. As we have discussed in past papers and public comments, existing royalty rates fail to account for the full costs of fossil fuel production, including local and global air pollution.

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  • 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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