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Recent Projects

  • Procedural Equity at Public Utility Commissions Cover

    Procedural Equity at Public Utility Commissions

    Developing a Baseline Assessment of Barriers and Opportunities

    Combatting climate change will require major transitions in the energy sector. In the United States, state-level entities like public utility commissions play a key role in this transition. Commissions help decide where and when clean energy displaces fossil-fuel combustion, and how costs associated with energy system investments are passed on to consumers, so their actions can affect emissions outcomes as well as the health, energy, environmental, and affordability burdens faced by disadvantaged communities. Although many Commission processes incorporate some form of stakeholder input or participation, it is often difficult for the public to participate due to the technical and complex nature of these proceedings. These challenges present a procedural justice issue. In this report, we reviewed a range of practices for enhancing procedural justice at Commissions in nine states. This review was based on a structured survey of Commissions’ websites, resources available to prospective participants, and relevant statutes and regulations.

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  • Amicus Brief in Challenge to Oil and Gas Permitting in Alaska

    The Willow Master Development Plan is a proposed oil and gas development project in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska led by ConocoPhillips. In 2020, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved the project for development. In 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska vacated BLM’s approval of the Willow Project, but BLM prepared a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) and subsequently re-approved the Project with fairly minor modifications. In March 2023, Plaintiffs challenged BLM's approval. We filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska in support of Plaintiffs to provide reasons supporting vacatur if the Court grants summary judgment to Plaintiffs. In January 2024, we filed our amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after the Plaintiffs appealed the district court's decision in favor of BLM.

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  • Comments to FAA on Proposed Rule to Limit Orbital Debris

    In September 2023, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a regulation that would require commercial space operators to limit or dispose of their launches’ orbital debris within 25 years. While the Proposed Rule and its accompanying regulatory impact analysis reasonably explain why orbital debris is a problem and why regulation will help address it, we explain in our comment letter that FAA should take further steps to bolster its analysis.

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  • Policy Integrity Recommendations Reflected in Treasury’s Hydrogen Tax Credit Proposal

    On December 22nd, the Treasury Department issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) 45V tax credit for clean hydrogen production. The proposal would establish rules for how electrolyzers can demonstrate compliance with the IRA’s lifecycle greenhouse gas limits—and thus demonstrate their eligibility for the tax credit. The proposed rule includes robust requirements to avoid greenhouse gas emissions: new clean power, annual matching with a transition to hourly matching in 2028, and contracting within the same regional grid. The approach in this proposal aligns with many of the recommendations the Institute for Policy Integrity made in comments to the Treasury Department

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  • Supplemental Comments to EPA on Reliability & the Proposed GHG Regulations for Fossil Fuel-Fired Power Plants

    In May 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a package of regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. EPA subsequently issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, re-opening its comment period and soliciting comment on whether to include additional mechanisms to address potential reliability issues. In these comments, we explain why EPA has engaged in reasoned rulemaking and developed a robust administrative record comporting with its mandate to reduce power sector pollution. It remains the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) responsibility to ensure reliable bulk-power system (BPS) operations and to use its corresponding tools to address the wider reliability challenges of the clean energy transition, in coordination with other reliability-related entities.

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  • Comments to EPA on Proposed Regulation of Trichloroethylene (TCE)

    In October, EPA issued proposed restrictions on the manufacture, processing, and distribution of a chemical called trichloroethylene (TCE). We argue in comments that aspects of the agency’s Economic Analysis of the proposed restrictions could be clarified or expanded upon to better inform policymakers and the broader public about the benefits of ending TCE use.

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  • The Narrow Reinterpretation Cover

    The Narrow Reinterpretation

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

    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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  • Supplemental Comments to NHTSA on Proposed Vehicle Fuel-Economy Rule

    In August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed to strengthen vehicle fuel-economy standards. Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its update to the social cost of greenhouse gases and the Office of Management and Budget has finalized its revisions to Circular A-4. In light of these updates, we submitted a supplemental comment letter reasserting our call for NHTSA to assess regulatory impacts using the best available economics.

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  • Supplemental Comments to CEQ on Climate Change Guidance

    Earlier this year, the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) published interim guidance on analyzing climate change effects under the National Environmental Policy Act in which it endorsed using the social cost of carbon in environmental analysis. In this supplemental comment letter, we suggest that CEQ specifically endorse the Environmental Protection Agency’s newly-updated climate-damage values when it finalizes the interim guidance.

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  • Policy Integrity Scholarship and Advocacy Shapes EPA’s New Climate Damage Valuations

    On December 2nd, EPA released a new methane regulation that includes final updated values for the social cost of greenhouse gas metrics. The updated metrics align with many of the recommendations Policy Integrity made in our comments on the draft values, and our scholarship and analysis were cited heavily in the associated federal documentation.

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