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Publications

Viewing all publications in Environmental Health
  • Understanding EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Issue Brief

    Understanding EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    By Helia Bidad, Natasha Brunstein, Jayni Hein, and Alisa White
    May 21, 2020

    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. 

  • Beneath the Surface
    Report

    Beneath the Surface

    The Concealed Costs of the Clean Water Rule Rollback

    By Bethany Davis Noll, Peter Howard, Ph.D., Max Sarinsky, Jason Schwartz, and Jeffrey Shrader, Ph.D.
    April 27, 2020

    In restricting the scope of the Clean Water Act through two regulatory rollbacks, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers claim that the estimated compliance-cost savings exceed the environmental harms (in the form of forgone benefits). Yet these analyses suffer from severe methodological flaws. And correcting the analyses would very likely show that the rollbacks are net costly to society, depriving the public of potentially billions of dollars in annual forgone benefits. As detailed in this report, the agencies’ failure to meaningfully assess the substantial harms that will result from their rollbacks violates both regulatory precedent and the agencies’ legal obligations.

  • Deregulation Run Amok
    Report

    Deregulation Run Amok

    Trump-Era Regulatory Suspensions and the Rule of Law

    By Bethany A. Davis Noll and Alec Dawson
    November 13, 2018

    Our report provides a survey of the legality of Trump Administration’s regulatory suspensions. Looking at a number of cases, we discuss the administration’s disregard for notice-and-comment requirements, statutory restrictions, and the reasoned explanation requirement. We also lay out some of the challenges facing advocates, and the strategies by which agencies have evaded review.

  • Environmental Standards, Thresholds, and the Next Battleground of Climate Change Regulations
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Environmental Standards, Thresholds, and the Next Battleground of Climate Change Regulations

    By Kimberly Castle and Richard Revesz
    April 11, 2018

    Regulations to curtail climate change have the additional benefit of reducing air pollution by accelerating the shift away from carbon-intensive and high-polluting energy such as coal. The benefits from reducing just one air pollutant – particulate matter – account for almost half of the quantified benefits of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. Regulatory opponents have launched an aggressive attack on the use of these benefits to justify climate change regulations. They claim that these benefits are not real, are accounted for in other regulations, or should not be considered because they are indirect benefits. This article, published in the Minnesota Law Review, collects and analyzes for the first time the robust support for valuing particulate matter and other air pollution reduction benefits. Following an examination of the scientific literature, longstanding agency practices under administrations of both major political parties, and judicial precedent, the authors conclude that particulate matter benefits deserve a meaningful role in regulatory cost-benefit analysis.

  • The Falling Cost of Clean Power Plan Compliance
    Report

    The Falling Cost of Clean Power Plan Compliance

    By Denise A. Grab and Jack Lienke
    October 2, 2017

    In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Clean Power Plan, a Clean Air Act rule designed to address the threat of climate change by cutting carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. As part of that rulemaking, the agency prepared an estimate of compliance costs, which it found would be far outweighed by the rule’s climate and health benefits. Since that time, changes in the electric sector have made it even cheaper to meet the rule’s emission targets than EPA anticipated. This report summarizes the findings of EPA’s 2015 Regulatory Impact Analysis; discusses subsequent market and policy developments that have lowered the cost of complying with the Clean Power Plan; and surveys more recent analyses by independent groups, which have estimated substantially lower compliance costs than EPA did.