regulation

On the future of climate policy

A response to William Nordhaus’s comments about how essential carbon taxes are to addressing climate change

William Nordhaus recently (and deservedly) won the Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on the economic implications of climate change and policies to respond to climate change. In the press coverage after the award, some comments were attributed to Nordhaus that I think are important to consider in more depth – in part because …

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When EPA Pays Lip Service to Public Comment, the Environmental Community Steps Up

Environment and public health advocates voice their concerns about EPA’s regulatory reform efforts under EO 13777

The public health and environmental communities took a small victory on an EPA conference call yesterday. In a three-hour public comment call that could have been dominated by industry seeking regulatory rollbacks, about half of the speakers supported strengthening environmental and public health protections. And many of them took EPA to task for such a …

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The Dangers of the New Executive Order on “Reducing Regulation”

The Order is Designed to Prevent Federal Agencies from Protecting Health, Safety, and the Environment

Dan Farber just posted an insightful, brief analysis of the executive order “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” that was issued this morning. As Dan notes, the order is absurd and arbitrary – but more than that, it’s extraordinary in its potential for doing harm to our country and its residents. It is meant to kneecap …

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Michigan v. EPA: Policymaking in the Guise of Statutory Interpretation

In Michigan v. EPA, the majority followed its own policy views, not those in the statute.

The majority opinion by Justice Scalia has gotten most of the attention.  Most notably, he wrote that “[o]ne would not say that it is even rational, never mind “appropriate”, to impose billions of dollars in economic costs for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.”  Indeed, “[n]o regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly …

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Jobs & Regs

The empirical evidence suggests that job loss from regulation is small.

It seems to be easy to make arguments one way or another about the effect of regulation on jobs.  What does the evidence say?  Those seeking an answer would do well to look at a recent book on the subject by Coglianese, Finkel, and Carrigan.  Although the book is broader in scope, it provides a careful …

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Justice Thomas Declares War on Rulemaking

His Amtrak dissent would wipe out most regulations of the last 40 years.

It didn’t get much attention, but Justice Thomas’s dissent two weeks ago in the Amtrak case was extraordinarily radical, even for him. The case involved a relatively obscure issue about the legal status of Amtrak. Justice Thomas used the occasion for a frontal attack on administrative law, including most of environmental law.. The heart of …

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Econ101, Ideological Blinders, and the New Head of CBO

There are troubling indications that Keith Hall lets ideology blind him to basic economics.

Last week, in a post about the employment effect of regulations, I mentioned briefly that the new Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Keith Hall, had endorsed some questionable views on the subject.  A reader pointed me toward an additional writing that has done a lot to escalate my concerns.  There are disturbing signs about both Hall’s ideological bias …

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How to Erode Public Confidence in Regulatory Decisions: Meet With Parties Behind Closed Doors

A scandal at the California Public Utilities Commissions brings a questionable practice to light.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has an unusual way of doing business. Most state and federal regulatory agencies prohibit private, closed-door discussions with interested parties about contested matters (ex parte communications). Even though it makes decisions affecting the welfare of Californians and the disposition of billions of dollars, the CPUC does not discourage ex …

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Rand Paul and the Environment (Take 2)

Guess what: he’s no friend of the environment.

Yesterday I posted a confused discussion of Paul’s environmental views. (Probably due to brain lock from spending  too many hours puzzling over the numerical examples in EME Homer!) I wanted to replace it with a clearer description of his views, so I pulled it from the website.  Let’s try this again. This first thing to know about Senator Paul is …

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EPA Is One of the (Relatively) Popular Kids

Despite all the attacks it has suffered, EPA has a better image than either political party. Not to mention Congress.

Republicans — especially the House GOP — often lambaste EPA.  The phrase “jack-booted thugs” will stick in my memory a long time.  A recent NBC/WSJ poll, however, shows EPA is actually one of our more popular institutions: %Positive %Negative Difference EPA 40 28 +7 Barack Obama 38 40 -4 Democratic Party 38 50 -2 Republican …

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