The 2020 Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule and Potential Future Methods
EPA is considering regulations that would clean up the wastewater discharges from power plants, after they were stalled and then rolled back under the Trump administration. As it conducts that analysis, this report urges EPA to provide a robust assessment of the benefits of the regulation, improving on analysis that was conducted in the Obama era. The report reviews the economic framework, literature, and analyses performed to support both the original Obama-era rule and Trump-era revisions, building on Davis Noll and Rothschild (2021), which detailed numerous impacts of the 2020 Rule that EPA neglected to examine. This review highlights key considerations that will strengthen future regulations.
Best Practices for Economic Analysis of Risk Management Options Under the Toxic Substances Control Act
This report identifies best practices EPA should adopt to holistically assess and weigh the costs and benefits of risk management options, allowing the agency to meet its statutory obligations and best enhance public welfare.
Assessing the Environmental Laws and Policies Weakened in Response to Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has led federal, state, and municipal policymakers to adopt a number of measures that suspended, delayed, or relaxed a variety of environmental safeguards. Our report analyzes these pandemic-related policy shifts and their impacts on public health and the environment. We also provide guidance on how agencies can increase transparency about these actions, counteract detrimental effects, and preemptively create guidelines to improve responses in a future emergency.
85 Fed. Reg. 64,650 (Oct. 13, 2020)
In its analysis of the 2020 Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule, the Environmental Protection Agency failed to adequately provide quantitative estimates for numerous harms from steam electric power plants' wastewater streams and drew conclusions about the rule’s impacts that are undermined by a fair assessment of unquantified impacts. Our report identifies flaws in the 2020 Rule and details changes the agency can make to significantly improve its benefit-cost analysis.
This issue brief summarizes EPA's enforcement and compliance policy in light of COVID-19, describing its significance and clarifying its contours. The policy opens the door to potentially problematic and harmful actions, especially on a short-term basis.
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