Institute for Policy Integrity logo

Twitter @policyintegrity

Recent Projects

Viewing recent projects in Transparency
  • Academic Articles/Working Papers

    Congress and the Executive

    August 15, 2018

    Critics of the administrative state have been urging Congress to rein in regulatory action, claiming that regulations created by executive agencies are undesirable as a matter of policy and are in violation of constitutional principles. In a troubling development, the Trump Administration has also turned away from cost-benefit analysis in order to carry out its anti-regulatory agenda, disregarding an established bipartisan consensus that stretched back several decades.

    This article argues that this anti-regulatory position is unwarranted. These executive regulatory actions produced large net benefits to the American people, were carried out pursuant to authority delegated by Congress, and were reviewed by the courts. By contrast, more robust action by Congress, as long as Congress continues to exhibit its current gridlock on important policy issues like climate change, is unlikely to be beneficial.

    Read more

  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA on Increasing Transparency in Cost-Benefit Analysis

    August 13, 2018

    Claiming an unsubstantiated need to improve consistency and transparency in its economic analyses, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering revisions to how it weighs costs and benefits in rulemakings. In our comments to EPA, we argue that this proposal is searching for a problem that does not exist. In implying that the agency’s past analyses have somehow inappropriately considered costs and benefits, EPA relies on vague or false assumptions and misleading examples. In fact, through 2016, EPA’s past analyses of regulatory costs and benefits were among the most thorough, consistent, and transparent regulatory impact analyses conducted in the federal government and had justified some of the most net beneficial rules in the history of federal regulation.

    Read more

  • Public Comments

    Comments to Interior on Offshore Oil Well Control Revisions

    August 6, 2018

    After the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued regulations designed to improve the safety of offshore drilling operations. Finalized in 2016 after six years of extensive public involvement, these safeguards are now in the process of being rolled back by BSEE. Our comments to BSEE argue that it should not move forward with its notice of intent to repeal and/or modify the Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule, because BSEE has not provided a reasoned explanation for weakening and repealing safety requirements that it found necessary in 2016. BSEE must analyze all of the forgone societal benefits from rolling back the finalized safeguards, including safety and environmental risk reduction, time savings, industry cost savings, reduced fatalities, and lower externality costs.

    Read more

  • Public Comments

    Comments on FERC’s NOI on the Certification of Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Facilities

    July 25, 2018

    In April 2018, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) issued a notice of inquiry on how to revise its policy on certifying the construction and operation of interstate natural gas transportation facilities. In the nineteen years since FERC’s existing policy statement was released, there have been significant advances in the understanding and measurement of climate change and other environmental effects of natural gas production, transportation, and consumption. Our comments suggest clarifications and improvements to FERC’s NEPA and Natural Gas Act analyses that will better inform policymakers and the public about the environmental effects of proposed projects. We also submitted joint comments on the appropriate use of the social cost of carbon in the interstate natural gas facilities certification processes, including why and how greenhouse gas emissions should be monetized in FERC’s NEPA and Natural Gas Act analyses.

    Read more

  • 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.

    Read more

  • 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.

    Read more

  • Court Filings

    Brief on Repeal of Interior’s Valuation Rule

    June 25, 2018

    In 2016, the Department of the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) issued the Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform (Valuation Rule). The Valuation Rule sought to ensure that states and the federal government receive the full value of royalties due under the law for oil, gas, and coal extracted from public land. In 2017, ONRR abruptly reversed course and repealed the rule. State attorneys general have now sued ONRR over the repeal and filed a motion for summary judgment. In our brief supporting the plaintiffs, we argue that ONRR did not provide a reasoned explanation for repealing the Valuation Rule, both because ONRR fails to accurately assess the repeal’s economic impact and because ONRR fails to provide a reasoned explanation for its abrupt change in course.

    Read more

  • Public Comments

    Comments to BLM on Potential Oil and Gas Leasing in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    June 19, 2018

    As the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) considers opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas leasing, pursuant to language in the 2017 Tax Act, our comments explain that development of oil and gas in the Arctic Coastal Plain would pose serious threats to this delicate, pristine ecosystem. In preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for this potential lease sale, BLM must consider the many factors that weigh strongly against any leasing or development in the Refuge.

    Read more

  • Public Comments

    Comments to Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee

    June 6, 2018

    Our policy director, Jayni Hein, published a new op-ed in U.S. News & World Report on the Interior Department’s failure to protect the public interest in fossil fuel leasing decisions. In addition, she submitted the op-ed as public comments to Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee and gave verbal remarks at its meeting on June 6, 2018. Hein argues that Interior is required by law to earn “fair market value” for the use and development of public natural resources, and that providing royalty rate reductions and other undue concessions would inappropriately transfer public revenue to fossil fuel industry stakeholders.

    Read more

  • Public Comments

    Oral Comments to EPA’s Science Advisory Board

    May 25, 2018

    EPA’s Science Advisory Board provides independent scientific guidance to the Agency. Our oral comments to EPA’s Science Advisory Board encourage the Board to review the science and economics behind EPA’s proposed deregulatory actions. We ask the Board to consider our recent paper on the full value of reducing particulate matter (PM) pollution in evaluating the benefits of reducing PM below the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Our comments also ask the Board to review EPA’s manipulation of economics in order to downplay the climate harms of its deregulatory actions. Specifically, we discuss manipulations of the 2016 Interagency Working Group’s Social Cost of Carbon estimates. We argue that EPA’s new “interim” estimate for the Social Cost of Carbon ignores the global nature of climate damage and obscures the devastating effects that climate change will have on future generations, and we strongly encourage review of the methods used to reach this new “interim” estimate.

    Read more