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Recent Projects

Viewing recent projects in Safety and Consumer Protection
  • Court Filings

    Amicus Brief on EPA’s Revocation of the California Auto Emissions Waiver

    July 6, 2020

    We filed a brief in the D.C. Circuit supporting a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to revoke the waiver of preemption that allowed California (and more than a dozen states following California's standards) to set critical auto emission standards to further restrict greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants. EPA wrongfully concluded that it has virtually unconstrained authority to revoke a preemption waiver under Section 209(b) of the Clean Air Act. We explain how the agency overlooks key countervailing principles and misconstrues the purpose and mechanics of the waiver provision.  

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  • Court Filings

    Amicus Brief on Borrower Defense Rule

    July 3, 2020

    We filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York supporting a challenge to the Department of Education’s replacement for a 2016 regulation known as the Borrower Defense Rule. The replacement rule makes it much harder for student borrowers who have been defrauded by for-profit colleges to get their loans discharged—and for the government to recover the value of those discharged loans from the offending institutions. Our brief focuses on serious flaws in the Department’s economic analysis of the new policy. Most notably, the Department fails to consider the costs of forgone debt relief for borrowers and refuses to acknowledge that reducing financial accountability for institutions will encourage them to engage in more fraud.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA on Delay of Emissions Rule for Wood Heaters

    July 2, 2020

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend the 2015 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for residential wood heating devices. This change would allow retailers to sell non-compliant wood heaters for two years past the original 2020 compliance date. Our January 2019 comments explain that the proposed rule imposes net costs on society and is not justified by EPA’s faulty analysis. Our June 2020 comments further detail how how the proposal contradicts the Clean Air Act’s mandate and longstanding agency guidance. EPA fails to provide a reasoned explanation for the rule.

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  • Court Filings

    Amicus Brief on Revisions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

    July 1, 2020

    Under recent revisions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, nearly 700,000 current beneficiaries would lose eligibility—harming the health of those individuals and likely causing economic disruption in the food sector. We filed an amicus brief in a federal lawsuit challenging the rule, detailing how the Department of Agriculture’s analysis fails to assess the profound and widespread costs of substantial disenrollment from SNAP assistance.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to FERC on NERA Net Metering Petition

    June 19, 2020

    The New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) recently petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to effectively overturn net metering policies nationwide. While FERC has previously and definitively answered the jurisdictional question concerning net metering, NERA asserts without evidence that controversy persists. We submitted comments describing the flaws of NERA’s argument and urging FERC to reject the petition.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to HHS on Blood Donation Policies

    June 19, 2020

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asked for public input on a forthcoming report to Congress regarding strategies for ensuring an adequate blood supply during public health emergencies. Our comments recommended that the report endorse elimination of the Food and Drug Administration’s deferral policy for donations from men who have sex with men. The policy, which bars gay and bisexual men from donating blood for three months from the date of their last sexual contact, relies on outdated science regarding HIV transmission risk, stigmatizes gay and bisexual men, and increases the likelihood of blood shortages.

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  • Reports

    Shortchanged: How the Trump Administration’s Rollback of the Clean Car Standards Deprives Consumers of Fuel Savings

    June 4, 2020

    The Trump administration recently replaced the Obama administration’s strongest climate policy, the Clean Car Standards, with a significantly weaker rule. We explain how EPA and NHTSA, to justify the rollback, rely on an analytical gimmick that contravenes decades of agency practice across administrations as well as the principles of basic economics. 

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  • Policy Briefs

    What We Lose When They “Save”

    May 28, 2020

    The Trump administration regularly boasts about the cost savings of rolling back regulations, focusing on industry profits without considering significant negative impacts. This policy brief address and counters the administration's cost savings claims and demonstrates that they should not be taken at face value.

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  • Court Filings

    Amicus Brief on Navigable Waters Protection Rule

    May 21, 2020

    In April, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers published the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which considerably restricts the waters and wetlands that are federally protected under the Clean Water Act. We filed a brief in the Northern District of California focusing on the agencies’ economic analysis, which the agencies use to obscure the rule’s anticipated harms.

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  • Issue Briefs

    Understanding EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    May 21, 2020

    This issue brief summarizes EPA's enforcement and compliance policy in light of COVID-19, describing its significance and clarifying its contours. The policy opens the door to potentially problematic and harmful actions, especially on a short-term basis. 

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