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  • Court Upholds 2015 Ozone Standards

    A federal appeals court recently rejected industry and state challenges to a set of Obama-era air quality standards, which the Institute for Policy Integrity had filed an amicus brief defending. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strengthened National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, the primary ingredient in urban smog and the source of a variety of respiratory ills. The coal mining company Murray Energy Corporation, along with trade associations and several state attorneys general, brought suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, arguing that the new standards were unnecessarily stringent and impossible to achieve. We filed an amicus brief in support of the standards.

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  • Court Blocks Rule Making Harmful Changes to Title X Women’s Health Services

    The Institute for Policy Integrity helped contribute to a significant legal victory, as district courts in Washington State, Oregon, and California blocked a Trump administration rule that makes harmful changes to federally-funded women’s health services. In February, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced onerous restrictions to its Title X program, likely forcing the shutdown of some family planning clinics and closing off access to others for low-income women. We submitted comments on the rule and amicus briefs supporting requests for preliminary injunction in four court cases. The Eastern District of Washington refers to our brief in the reasoning for its decision to grant an injunction. The Northern District of California’s ruling cites our brief and devotes a lengthy discussion to the arguments we advanced.

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  • Testimony to New Jersey Legislature on Valuing Climate Impacts

    Peter Howard and Denise Grab both provided testimony at an April 25 New Jersey State Legislature hearing on climate change mitigation and what the state can do to address greenhouse gas emissions. They discussed how New Jersey can contextualize and weigh climate impacts by using the social cost of greenhouse gases.

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  • Court Overturns Repeal of Valuation Rule

    The Institute for Policy Integrity helped contribute to a significant legal victory, as a federal district court in California today overturned the Trump administration’s repeal of the Interior Department’s Valuation Rule. The Valuation Rule sought to ensure that states and the federal government receive the full value of royalties due for oil, gas, and coal extracted from public lands. While the administration has lost numerous court cases related to deregulation, this is the first decision overturning a repeal of a rule. Policy Integrity submitted an amicus brief in the case and comments on the original rule and the repeal efforts.

    In our amicus brief, we argued that the repeal was unreasonable because of the agency’s inaccurate assessment of the repeal’s economic impact. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong’s opinion echoed some of the arguments from our brief and cited an academic article on deregulation written by Bethany Davis Noll and Denise Grab.

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  • Colorado Senate Testimony on the Social Cost of Carbon

    Colorado is considering a major overhaul of its electric resource planning rules and renewable energy standards. Jason Schwartz recently provided testimony in a Senate hearing on the reauthorization of the state’s Public Utilities Commission as part of this overhaul. Schwartz spoke about a possible requirement for the PUC to weigh the social costs of pollution in its decisions. Coloradoans, he explained, are paying the costs of climate pollution in the form of more dangerous wildfires, agricultural damages, declining snowpack, and a range of severe health effects. Many of these important costs can be quantified. In his testimony, Schwartz recommended that the PUC uses Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases metrics when evaluating energy resources in order to improve public welfare.

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  • New Tracking Resource: Health and Environmental Benefits Threatened by Deregulation

    Our new tracking resource tallies the benefits to public health and the environment that are at risk due to regulatory repeals, delays, and revisions. Since 2017, numerous environmental rules have been the subject of the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda. The original rules highlighted in our document were economically justified, meaning each was supported by a detailed account of its monetized benefits to the American public, which outweighed projected costs. Now, as the administration works to undo these rules, a wide range of crucial benefits could be lost. Our resource provides information on the kinds of benefits at risk, monetized gross and net benefit estimates, and other unquantified health and environmental effects of several federal rules.

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  • Roundup of Trump-Era Deregulation in the Courts

    The Trump administration has undertaken numerous deregulatory actions through rule suspensions; repeals; rescissions; efforts to weaken regulations through guidance, memoranda, amendments, or replacements; and more. Many of these actions have been challenged in court and decisions have been reached in several cases.

    The Institute for Policy Integrity maintains a publicly available list of the outcomes of those lawsuits. This “Roundup,” which we update regularly, has been cited by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, E&E News, and the Brookings Institution.

    The Roundup provides an overview of each court decision, with relevant links to the government actions and court rulings. It also tallies the successful and unsuccessful outcomes for the administration for ease of reference. Updates should be submitted to bethany.davisnoll@nyu.edu.

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  • Court Vacates Delays of Department of Education’s Borrower Defense Rule

    A United States District Judge recently ruled that the Department of Education’s repeated delays of the Borrower Defense Rule were illegal. We submitted an amicus brief in this case. This 2016 regulation was designed to help students who have been defrauded by for-profit educational institutions discharge their federal student loans. Under Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education delayed implementation of the Borrower Defense Rule three times, prompting a legal challenge.

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  • Cost of Carbon Website Relaunched

    Costofcarbon.org is now home to our ongoing work on the social cost of carbon (SCC) in U.S. state policy. The domain, which housed SCC-focused research until 2015, has been renovated and refocused to reflect the most important and relevant developments in the application of the SCC in decisionmaking. It includes an easy-to-navigate version of our FAQ Guide for state policymakers, information on state-specific use of the SCC, helpful resources, and more. Our hope is to bring attention to the ways that the SCC continues to be a critical tool used by policymakers in a number of areas, from electricity rate design, to cap-and-trade programs, to fossil fuel royalty rates. A diverse array of stakeholders can benefit from the site’s information and we invite feedback from regulators, partners, and the public on new proceedings that make use of the SCC or matters in which the SCC might be applicable.

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

    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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