Cost Benefit Analysis

Guest Blogger Benjamin Miller: Suggestions to help EPA Successfully Implement Retrospective Reviews

On June 13th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking soliciting comments on how to improve the consistency and transparency of the cost benefit analyses that guide EPA’s regulatory decision making. Both are praiseworthy goals, particularly because executive orders issued by the Trump administration last year resulted in cost benefit analysis being used not …

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What Kind of Conservative is Kavanaugh?

Half a dozen observations on our (probably) soon to be junior Justice.

I wanted to add a few words about Kavanaugh in light of Ann Carlson’s excellent post a few minutes ago. No doubt we’ll be seeing more about his views after people have had time to read his opinions and some of his law review writing. But there are a few points I would add after …

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200 Days & Counting: Executive Orders

Trump loves issuing executive orders. Mostly, they don’t mean much.

Trump has issued a flood of executive orders. Many of them are “full of sound and fury. . . signifying nothing.” They actually concern actions that he doesn’t have the power to take himself. Instead, they relate to responsibilities that Congress gave to an administrative agency like EPA, not the White House.  There are a …

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200 Days & Counting: Pollution and Climate Change

Trump and Pruitt want to take an ax to EPA regulation. That will be harder than they think.

Rolling back EPA regulations is one of the Trump Administration’s priorities. The most notable example is Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut CO2 emissions from power plants. The other rule that has gotten considerable attention is the so-called WOTUS rule, which defines federal jurisdiction to regulate wetlands and watersheds. But these are not …

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Trump’s Executive Order: Bad Policy and More Uncertainty

President Trump’s Executive Order on climate policy is an invitation to bad policymaking and legal uncertainty. The big-ticket item targeted by the Order, of course, is the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan and related rules on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The EO has limited immediate legal impact: none of the major rules can …

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The End of the Cost-Benefit State?

Trump is targeting regulations for elimination even if their benefits exceed their costs.

Some scholars have proclaimed a vision of the regulatory state centering on cost-benefit analysis (CBA). They mean that quantitive comparisons of costs and benefits is now the foundation of regulatory decisions, arguably blessed by the Supreme Court in one of Scalia’s last opinions. Environmentalists weren’t convinced this was a good idea.  Neither, as it turns out, is Donald Trump.  He doesn’t seem …

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Legal Mandates to Consider the Social Cost of Climate Change

Considering climate impacts isn’t just a good idea. It’s the law.

Many people seem to think that considering climate impacts and the social cost of carbon was just a policy decision by the Obama Administration, which Trump if he doesn’t buy the reality of climate change. But it’s not that easy.  But there are strong arguments that considering climate change is mandatory. First, the whole idea of considering …

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Turnabout is Fair Play

The same tools that have been used to stymie the Obama Administration can be turned against Trump.

Conservatives and industry have perfected some legal tools to block regulation by the Obama Administration.  Those tools can be turned against them, by using the same tools to block anti-regulatory moves by the Trump Administration.  As a professor, I don’t necessarily agree with all of them.  But as a lawyer, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them …

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The Clean Power Plan — Low Cost, High Benefits

Despite claims by industry and conservatives, the CPP’s costs are completely manageable.

The Supreme Court’s stay of EPA’s Clean Power Plan was a surprise, and a questionable action on many grounds.  It now seems clear that the stay — along with much of the political fuss about the CPP — was based on very questionable economics. In terms of the stay, a team of economists at Resources …

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The Supreme Court Vacancy and EPA’s Mercury Rule

The rule limiting toxic pollution from coal plants now has a rosier future.

Among the many ramifications of the current vacancy on the bench, its effect on the EPA’s mercury rule seems to have escaped much attention.  It may already have helped EPA defeat an effort by states to get a stay from Chief Justice Roberts.  But it has much broader significance. Some background: The Supreme Court, in a …

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