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Publications

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  • 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.

  • How the Trump Administration Is Obscuring the Costs of Climate Change
    Issue Brief

    How the Trump Administration Is Obscuring the Costs of Climate Change

    March 23, 2018

    When federal and state policymakers account for the impacts of climate change, they regularly use a tool called the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). The SCC puts a dollar value on the most significant, quantifiable damages caused by each additional ton of carbon dioxide emitted. The most recent estimate of the cost is at least $51 per ton and rising over time. But now, turning its back on years of work, the Trump administration has disbanded the federal group that developed the SCC, and produced a new “interim” estimate claiming that each ton of carbon dioxide causes as little as $1 in climate damages. This issue brief describes how the Trump Administration reached this misleading number by ignoring the interconnected, global nature of our climate-vulnerable economy and obscuring the devastating effects that climate change will have on younger and future generations. Though the administration has been proposing rollbacks of environmental rules using this problematic SCC estimate as justification, we explain why federal agencies and state governments should continue using the most recent estimate by the Interagency Working Group that developed the SCC.

  • Computationally Assisted Regulatory Participation
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Computationally Assisted Regulatory Participation

    By Michael A. Livermore, Vladimir Eidelman & Brian Grom
    March 10, 2018

    With the increased politicization of agency rulemaking and the reduced cost of participating in the notice-and-comment rulemaking process, administrative agencies have, in recent years, found themselves deluged in a flood of public comments. In this article, published in the Notre Dame Law Review, the authors argue that this deluge presents both challenges and opportunities, and they explore how advances in natural language processing technologies can help agencies address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities created by the recent growth of public participation in the regulatory process.

  • Regulation and Distribution
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Regulation and Distribution

    By Richard Revesz
    March 2, 2018

    Most regulations seek to improve social welfare, but maximizing overall welfare may not help or protect all groups evenly. Many economists suggest handling unequal regulatory effects through the tax system. But some harms—like the disproportionately high environmental pollution felt by poor and minority communities and loss of the employment base in rural communities due to shifts in the economy—cannot be addressed by monetary compensation alone. A new article by Richard Revesz, published in the NYU Law Review, offers a blueprint for establishing a standing, broadly constituted interagency body charged with addressing serious negative consequences of regulatory measures on particular groups.

  • Deregulation: Process and Procedures That Govern Agency Decisionmaking in an Era of Rollbacks
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Deregulation: Process and Procedures That Govern Agency Decisionmaking in an Era of Rollbacks

    By Bethany Davis Noll and Denise Grab
    November 16, 2017

    Though change might be inevitable when a new governing party comes to power, the United States’ legal system imposes a degree of predictability and regularity on that change. Since his inauguration in January 2017, President Donald Trump and his agency heads have been working to repeal many energy and environmental regulations issued under prior administrations. But these attempts are governed by a set of standard rules that limit President Trump’s freedom to roll back regulations. This article, published in the Energy Law Journal, provides an overview of the procedural and statutory limits that apply to agencies seeking to change course and cancel or suspend regulations that they previously issued. It also discusses recent examples of agency decision-making to show how these limits work in practice.