Guided by the blueprint of all three Bostock opinions, this article, published in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, performs a deep dive into the legislative materials surrounding the enactment of the Clean Air Act of 1970, uncovering a treasure trove of sources that had not previously been part of the public discourse. It shows how, under the interpretive approach of each of the three opinions, greenhouse gases are unquestionably pollutants for the purposes of the Clean Air Act. Because the approaches in the majority and dissents in Bostock—and thus a majority of the current Court—all point in the same direction, the era of greenhouse gas exceptionalism should now be over.
A Path to Revitalizing Federal Transmission Authorities
In the absence of legislation, critical long-distance transmission can be developed by applying existing federal legal authorities. A number of important regulatory and commercial measures have been proposed, including streamlining transmission planning, upgrading existing transmission system components, putting transmission lines underground, and using existing rights-of-way from highways and railroads. Even if these solutions are adopted, however, state siting requirements may prove an important obstacle to developing an efficient, national transmission grid. So, this paper examines legal authorities already available to the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop the interstate transmission capacity crucial to the energy transition.
How One Revision in the SAFE Rule Economic Analysis Obscures Billions of Dollars in Social Harms
This report is part of a series that documents how the assumptions underlying The Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Final Rule for Model Years 2021–2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks are skewed to make the rule look less harmful than it actually is. In this report, we focus on the rule’s estimate of vehicle sale price elasticity, which substantially inflates the rollback’s effect on new vehicle purchases.
A Case Study of New York
Unless the institutional framework and laws pertaining to fossil fuels are modified appropriately, decarbonization efforts will likely be stymied by confusion and related opportunities for opposition. This article, published in the Energy Law Journal, aims to start a wider conversation about the process of conforming existing energy law with novel, climate-oriented legislation. We concentrate on New York’s situation to illustrate how these tensions can manifest and what might be done to address them.
On the Role of Externalities and Subsidies (Working Paper)
In our latest working paper, we use economic modeling to analytically show the relationship between generation subsidies and energy and capacity markets. We show that the feared capacity price suppression can happen only under limited circumstances and that in the short-run, the subsidies will tend to increase capacity prices. We also demonstrate that while subsidies cannot produce the first-best outcomes, there exists a range of welfare-enhancing subsidy rates and designs that improve welfare, such that regulators should think of subsidies as one of the tools available for increasing electricity market efficiency.
The SAFE Rule’s Overstated Estimates of Vehicle-Price Impacts
This report is part of a series that documents how the assumptions underlying The Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Final Rule for Model Years 2021–2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks are skewed to make the rule look less harmful than it actually is. In the SAFE Rule, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have significantly rolled back the greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards for light vehicles established under the Obama Administration. This report highlights three critical problems in the agencies’ assumptions about vehicle prices.
Barriers to Infrastructure Development and Federal Policy Solutions
Most categories of American infrastructure—from transportation and water systems to public school buildings and electricity meters—are in dire need of modernization, and climate change is compounding this challenge. Our report provides policy recommendations at each stage of the infrastructure lifecycle, from project planning and analysis, through financing, construction, and maintenance. We explain how a realigned approach to infrastructure can boost the economy while addressing threats from climate change and prioritizing social equity goals.
Rethinking OIRA for the Next Administration
In recent years, federal leadership has distorted the practice of regulatory analysis and has eroded the integrity of the government’s regulatory review structure as coordinated by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The result has been a torrent of deregulatory actions that have worked against the best interests of the American people and their health, safety, environment, and financial well-being. Our report details the path forward on regulatory review, which is to first surgically excise recent distortions, and then to reaffirm the best principles and practices from the past, while adding key corrections and enhancements. Implementing the reforms recommended in this report will refocus OIRA on helping agencies once again use regulations to maximize net social welfare.
The Department of the Interior has yet to develop a comprehensive plan to accurately account for, manage, and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels from public lands and waters. This document describes immediate and longer-term actions that Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management should take to reform public lands management consistent with climate change, conservation, and fiscal reform priorities.
Near-Term Steps to Address Climate Change
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should take an active role in better aligning regulatory practices with climate policies, speeding up development of necessary transmission infrastructure, and reforming energy market rules. This report details the specific policy reforms that federal policymakers should pursue to take advantage of important opportunities energy markets can provide to combat climate change while ensuring an economically efficient and speedy clean energy transition.
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