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Viewing all publications in Academic Articles/Working Papers
  • Discretion Is Not (Chevron) Deference Cover

    Discretion Is Not (Chevron) Deference

    Forthcoming in the Harvard Journal on Legislation

    Discretion is not deference. That statement may seem obvious to some. To many, however, the two terms are interchangeable. They are not. And the distinction is important, especially now that the Supreme Court has eliminated the deference doctrine associated with Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council. Stated succinctly, deference concerned ambiguous statutory terms or phrases (and implicit grants of authority), while discretion often concerns unambiguously broad statutory terms or phrases (and explicit grants of authority). So even with deference gone, agencies that can point to unambiguously broad terms or phrases in the statutes they administer will retain wide latitude to carry out their missions. 

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  • Major Rules in the Courts

    An Empirical Study of Challenges to Federal Agencies’ Major Rules

    This working paper summarizes the first empirical study of how major rules, as defined under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), fare in federal court. The study covers each of the 1,870 major rules issued from the CRA’s enactment in 1996 through the end of the Trump Administration. The roughly 24-year period covering four administrations (two from each party) is the longest continuous timespan of any empirical study of agency win rates.

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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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  • Regulatory Antecedents and the Major Questions Doctrine Cover

    Regulatory Antecedents and the Major Questions Doctrine

    Published in the Georgetown Environmental Law Review

    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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  • Multi-Objective Transmission Expansion Cover

    Multi-Objective Transmission Expansion

    An Offshore Wind Power Integration Case Study

    Our paper describes a multi-objective, multistage generation, storage and transmission expansion planning model to facilitate efficient and resilient large-scale adoption of offshore wind power. Recognizing regulatory emphasis and, in some cases, requirements to consider externalities, this model explicitly accounts for negative externalities: greenhouse gas emissions and local emission-induced air pollution. Our results indicate that accounting for negative externalities necessitates greater upfront investment in clean generation and storage (balanced by lower expected operational costs). Optimizing POIs could significantly reshape offshore topology or POIs, and lower total cost. Finally, accounting for extreme operational scenarios typically results in greater operational costs and sometimes may alter onshore line investment.

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