Comments on Proposed Repeal of the Clean Power Plan
As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues its rulemaking to repeal the Clean Power Plan, we submitted two sets of comments that challenge EPA’s legal and economic arguments for undoing this important climate policy.
Our first set of comments argue that the Clean Air Act does not prevent EPA from setting pollution standards which encourage changes beyond the fenceline of a facility, including shifts in the sources of energy used in the United States. We also argue that EPA’s attempt to downplay the public benefits of the rule—including the economic benefits of mitigating climate change, reducing air pollution, and saving energy—is neither legally nor scientifically defensible. EPA also fails to update the data underlying its analysis, which would show an increase in net benefits to society compared to the original EPA analysis.
Additionally, we submitted the following Policy Integrity reports and articles as evidence: Bounded Regulation: How The Clean Power Plan Conforms To Statutory Limits On EPA’s Authority, Deregulation: Process and Procedures that Govern Agency Decisionmaking in an Era of Rollbacks, Familiar Territory: A Survey of Legal Precedents for the Clean Power Plan, Marketable Permits: Recommendations On Applications And Management, The Falling Cost Of Clean Power Plan Compliance, and Environmental Standards, Thresholds, and the Next Battleground of Climate Change Regulations.
Our second set of comments specifically addresses how EPA obscures the costs of climate change in its economic analysis by manipulating estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon. EPA cuts the estimate of climate damages caused by carbon dioxide from $67 per ton to only $1 per ton. EPA cherry-picks only those methodological revisions that advance its predetermined goal of a lower Social Cost of Carbon, and also ignores how repealing this rule will forgo important benefits to the public. We submitted these comments jointly with the Environmental Defense Fund, Montana Environmental Information Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, Western Environmental Law Center, and WildEarth Guardians.