Building the Toolkit for Programmatic Reforms
Leasing public lands and waters for fossil-fuel extraction drives a quarter of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Our new report offers analytic tools for federal leasing decisions to drive policies that maximize economic and environmental welfare—nationally and locally.
Our report highlights numerous areas in which the federal government should apply the social cost of greenhouse gases beyond regulatory cost-benefit analysis. It is organized under the framework of “decision-making, budgeting, and procurement” laid out in the President’s executive order, identifying a number of relevant actions—like environmental reviews conducted under NEPA and the assessment of royalty rates for federal land-management. In short, application of the social cost of greenhouse gases would be extremely beneficial for any executive branch decision with significant greenhouse gas implications.
The Department of the Interior has yet to develop a comprehensive plan to accurately account for, manage, and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels from public lands and waters. This document describes immediate and longer-term actions that Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management should take to reform public lands management consistent with climate change, conservation, and fiscal reform priorities.
Reducing Fossil Fuel Dominance on Public Lands by Accounting for Option Value
While the Trump administration’s goal of “energy dominance” has increased the public lands available for oil and gas development, no effort has been made to modernize the leasing system, even in the face of climate change. Our report explains how option value—which accounts for the informational value gained by delaying leasing decisions—can and should be factored into the Bureau of Land Management’s land use planning processes. Accounting for option value at multiple stages of the land use planning process would significantly improve BLM’s public lands stewardship, better protect the environment, and regain some of the economic and strategic advantages it has ceded to private developers. The report also describes case studies where BLM’s failure to consider option value has led to costly litigation and missed opportunities.
This casebook emphasizes environmental policy, as well as the structure and details of the federal environmental statutes. It focuses students’ attention on how tradeoffs between environmental goals and social goals are resolved in different and difficult contexts. The book has been updated to reflect new developments in the law of natural resource management, water pollution, and climate change.
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