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  • Amicus Brief in Case Challenging the Economic Justifications for Energy Conservation Standards

    In 2023, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued new energy conservation standards for consumer water heaters and consumer furnaces. In April 2024, a natural gas trade association challenged the standards in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, arguing that the standards are not economically justified. In response, Policy Integrity filed an amicus brief supporting DOE’s economic analyses and explaining how Petitioners’ and certain amici’s arguments overlook DOE’s sound assumptions and the relevant statutory framework.

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  • Comments to EPA on Review of Secondary NAAQS

    In April 2024, EPA proposed retaining the secondary national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) and setting a new annual average standard for sulfur oxides (SOx). Policy Integrity submitted comments arguing that although the Proposed Rule begins to assess the various adverse welfare effects of SOx, NOx, and PM emissions and depositions that different populations may face, EPA should assess, consider, and present more information regarding both distributional impacts and future risks. 

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  • Policy Integrity Comments Reflected in FERC’s Order 1977 on Backstop Siting Authority for Transmission Facilities

    On May 13, 2024, FERC issued Order 1977 to implement its authority to site transmission facilities that have been rejected (or not acted upon) by states. In our comments, we asked FERC to clarify that the proposed requirement that applicants estimate reasonably foreseeable emissions for their proposed transmission facilities includes the projects' impacts on power-system emissions. In response, the Commission clarified that these power-sector emissions must be estimated where they are reasonably foreseeable. And, consistent with our comments' legal analysis, FERC confirmed its authority to require applicants to submit these and other air quality impacts under the Federal Power Act's backstop siting provision. FERC also agreed with our and others’ analysis that it has the statutory authority under the Federal Power Act and to also consider environmental justice impacts when exercising backstop siting authority. 

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  • The Narrow Reinterpretation: The Oil and Gas Industry’s Retreat from the Broad Permitting Authority It Long Embraced Cover

    The Narrow Reinterpretation: The Oil and Gas Industry’s Retreat from the Broad Permitting Authority It Long Embraced

    Published in the Harvard Environmental Law Review Online

    What's the function of oil and gas permitting agencies? Despite broad statutory grants to federal agencies, oil and gas companies increasingly argue that the role of those agencies is to promote development regardless of whether it is socially desirable. But this “Narrow Reinterpretation,” in addition to lacking textual support, is at odds with longstanding practice. What changed? Not the governing statutes, at least not in pertinent part. But the energy sector has: renewable sources have replaced coal as the primary competitors to oil and gas. 

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  • Accounting for Nature's Value Cover

    Accounting for Nature’s Value

    National accounts—which measure a country’s aggregate economic activity, including Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—largely ignore natural capital and ecosystem services. This omission occurs because national accounts heavily rely on market transactions to identify and value economic activity, whereas ecosystems’ contributions occur most commonly outside markets. This leads governments, businesses, and decisionmakers to ignore or misidentify some sources and uses of their income and wealth, skewing their decisionmaking. Recognizing these shortcomings, many countries, including the United States, are increasingly moving towards Natural Capital Accounting (NCA), a system of measuring natural capital and ecosystem services in a way that allows for their integration with national accounts. In this report, we provide an overview of NCA for non-economists.

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  • Comments to FEMA on Proposed Rule to Modify the Standard Flood Insurance Policy Under the National Flood Insurance Program

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proposed a rule to modify the standard flood insurance policy under the National Flood Insurance Program by creating a new “Homeowner Flood Form,” which applies specifically to homeowners of single-family homes and owners of buildings with one-to-four units. The proposed amendments reflect sensible steps to simplify the standard flood insurance policy and to provide flexibility in coverage. We have suggested additional improvements to FEMA’s proposal and its underlying analysis.

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  • Comments to EPA on Request for Input on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Fossil-Fuel-Fired Stationary Combustion Turbines

    In May 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a request for input on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired stationary combustion turbines. The Institute for Policy Integrity submitted comments to EPA, providing recommendations on key issues for the agency to consider as it develops new regulations.

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  • Policy Integrity Comments Reflected in FERC’s Order 1920 on Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation

    On May 13, 2024, FERC issued Order 1920, a landmark rule to improve regional transmission planning and cost allocation processes. The Order could ease the process of expanding electric transmission, helping integrate much more renewable energy to the U.S. grid. We submitted four rounds of comments in this proceeding: at the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking stage, then on the proposal, and then two sets of supplemental comments.  For several key features of the final rule, FERC adopted our recommendations.

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  • The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: An Overview Cover

    The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: An Overview

    A Primer on EPA’s Updated Values for Policymakers and Practitioners

    In December 2023, EPA finalized updated values for the social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG), following public comment and expert peer review. The agency derived these estimates using the best available science and economics, and the estimates represent a significant step forward in our ability to properly value climate effects. The brief is intended to introduce policymakers and practitioners to the SC-GHG, break down EPA's updated values, and explain why they represent a powerful tool that can streamline decisionmaking and policy analysis.

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  • Policy Integrity Scholarship Cited in Letter from Four New England Senators to ISO-NE

    On April 30, 2024, Senators Markey, Sanders, Warren, and Whitehouse sent a letter to ISO-NE President and CEO Gordon van Welie urging the independent system operator to improve its governance policies, proactively plan for new transmission, and ensure fair access to markets for clean energy technologies. The letter advocated for several changes that Policy Integrity has pushed in the past, including increasing opportunities for community participation in energy policy decisions and pursuing longer-term, holistic transmission planning. On the latter point, the letter cited our December 2023 report that advocated for more proactive transmission planning on the part of energy decisionmakers.

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