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  • Unheralded and Transformative: The Test for Major Questions After West Virginia Cover

    Unheralded and Transformative: The Test for Major Questions After West Virginia

    Working paper

    In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court expressly relied on the “major questions doctrine” for the first time in a majority opinion to hold that a federal agency lacked authority to issue a regulation. This paper explores whether West Virginia provides such a framework and concludes that it does. A close look at West Virginia and the alternative frameworks that parties and others urged on the Court in the West Virginia litigation also reveals a great deal about what the major questions doctrine is not.

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  • Regulatory Antecedents and the Major Questions Doctrine Cover

    Regulatory Antecedents and the Major Questions Doctrine

    Working paper

    In recent years, federal courts have increasingly assessed the legality of regulatory action by considering its antecedents, or lack thereof, in prior agency actions. Yet as this article explains, federal agencies have insufficiently adapted to this increased judicial focus on regulatory antecedents. While significant agency rulemakings typically include extensive dockets with many different types of analysis, they have generally provided limited analysis of regulatory antecedents. This article suggests that agencies more extensively catalog regulatory antecedents at all stages of the rulemaking process, from drafting to promulgation.

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  • Comments to DOE on Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships Program

    We submitted comments urging DOE to clarify how it will distribute Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) project funding and to enhance program transparency. We encourage DOE to more specifically detail how it will evaluate applications and to offer a more precise definition of what "community benefits" it hopes to achieve. We also suggest that DOE require project applicants to submit cost-benefit analyses so that the agency can better compare projects when making funding decisions.

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  • Presidential Transitions: The New Rules Cover

    Presidential Transitions: The New Rules

    Published in Yale Journal on Regulation

    There has been a general assumption that the norm-breaking was a result of the Trump Administration’s lack of respect for the rule of law and that it would subside when a new administration took office. This article challenges this assumption, showing that the Trump-era toolkit on rollbacks has now also been used aggressively—in some cases more aggressively—by the Biden Administration. Actions that might have been seen as an aberration four years ago should now be regarded as integral components of the administrative state.

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  • The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: A Guide for State Officials Cover

    The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: A Guide for State Officials

    As states step up on climate action, they need a way to weigh climate goals against other policy objectives. The social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG) can help policymakers understand the costs and benefits of climate action and inaction. This new guide for state officials explains why the SC-GHG is a useful policy tool and how it can be applied.

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  • Enhancing Consideration of Time Frames in Cost-Benefit Analysis Cover

    Enhancing Consideration of Time Frames in Cost-Benefit Analysis

    Federal agencies frequently provide no justification for their analytical time frame when analyzing the costs and benefits of a policy. This is true even when there are costs and benefits that clearly occur beyond the time frame chosen by the agency. In so doing, agencies risk overlooking key long-term impacts that may justify more stringent regulation.

    This report argues that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should take steps to improve how agencies consider analytical time frames in their cost-benefit analyses.

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  • Valuing the Future: Legal and Economic Considerations for Updating Discount Rates Cover

    Valuing the Future: Legal and Economic Considerations for Updating Discount Rates

    Yale Journal on Regulation

    This article explores the legal and economic considerations for updating discount rates and details the compelling economic evidence for lowering the current default rates for regulatory analyses. It argues that a declining discount rate framework can consistently harmonize agency practices and so put agencies on sound legal footing in their approach to valuing the future.

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  • Comments to CEQ on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Guidance

    The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently released interim guidance on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) to assist federal agencies with regulation, permitting, and associated activities. We filed comments urging CEQ to update the guidance document with additional targeted recommendations for agencies on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) programs; project prioritization; and other topics.

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  • Comments to HHS on Proposed Repeal of the SUNSET Rule

    We submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) supporting its proposed repeal of the SUNSET Rule, which retrospectively and prospectively established an "expiration date" for thousands of HHS regulations. We explain why the SUNSET Rule is arbitrary and capricious, echoing our earlier comments, and and propose ways that HHS can strengthen its justification for repealing the rule.

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  • Poisoning America Cover

    Poisoning America

    A “Reasoned Consistency” Response to the Trump Administration’s Regulatory Shell Game

    Published in the NYU Environmental Law Journal, the article analyzes the inconsistent manner in which the Trump administration dealt with cost-benefit analysis, federalism, and the treatment of dirty, old sources of pollution in the design of environmental policy. The article finds that though inconsistencies across different regulations— as opposed to inconsistencies within a single regulation—have not been a core concern of the Administrative Procedure Act, its prohibition on “arbitrary and capricious” agency action is sufficiently capacious to embrace egregious inconsistencies.

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