The Institute for Policy Integrity produces a variety of publications. Our research reports develop in-depth research on our core issues, while our policy briefs and issue briefs provide focused analysis on more timely or particular topics. Our academic articles and working papers offer original scholarly research and analysis from established experts as well as fresh new voices.
In recent years, numerous federal agencies have made a controversial claim: that projects locking in fossil fuels over the long term will decrease aggregate greenhouse gas emissions, or that their effects on total emissions will be limited. In many of those cases, however, agencies have reached this counter-intuitive conclusion using a flawed consideration of energy substitution. This report identifies some of the recurring problems with agency analysis of energy substitution and offers best practices to apply moving forward.
New York’s Climate Change Superfund Act and Its Impact on Gasoline Prices
This policy brief analyzes how New York State’s recently proposed Climate Change Superfund Act is most likely to affect consumer gasoline prices. The Act would require payments from fossil-fuel companies based on their historical contributions to current greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. The payments would be used to build green infrastructure to help the state adapt to climate change. The brief finds that the Act would likely have a negligible impact on current and near-term oil prices, while potentially lowering future energy prices in New York, including for transportation.
While appropriate compensation for DERs has received considerable attention in DER policy discussions, one important dimension has received less attention: informational gaps and asymmetries. In particular, key information about distribution networks, energy consumption, and marginal emission rates is often either entirely lacking or readily available only to some parties. Such information disparities can impede effective policymaking. To overcome the inefficiencies information asymmetry creates, regulators must carefully tailor disclosure mandates and incentives for utilities, as these actors often have little incentive to go beyond the letter of the law in data disclosure.
In its proposed Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing program for 2023–2028, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) claims that it cannot consider downstream greenhouse gas emissions when setting leasing policy because of a 2009 D.C. Circuit case, Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of the Interior (CBD). This Policy Brief explains that BOEM misreads CBD, which held only that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) does not require the agency to consider downstream effects. The Policy Brief further explains that neither CBD nor any other case law bars BOEM from considering downstream effects and that consideration of such effects is in fact consistent with the text, legislative history, and regulatory history of OCSLA.
Six Priorities for CEQ’s Phase 2 Rulemaking
In April 2022, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized a limited, “Phase 1” rulemaking to restore several longstanding features of the regulations that guide agency assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which CEQ had removed in 2020. In that rule, CEQ reaffirmed its intentions to further revise the regulations to better ensure that agencies make decisions that “advance environmental, climate change mitigation and resilience, and environmental justice objectives.” This policy brief outlines six simple regulatory revisions that CEQ should prioritize for its “Phase 2” rulemaking to improve consideration of climate change during environmental review.