“Job Killing” or “Overheating the Economy” — Which Is It?
“Job-killing regulations” is a longtime conservative meme. That attack has now been joined by the claim that major new spending for clean energy is overheating the economy. The inflation claim is new, prompted by the passage of the 2021 Infrastructure law and the 2022 IRA. And if they were both right, the two problems would …CONTINUE READING
Economists ousted lawyers (and law) from their central role in the regulatory process. That’s changing.
As you’ve probably heard, the Biden Administration has proposed aggressive new targets for greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles. That’s great news. One really important aspect of the proposal relates to the justification for the proposal rather than the proposal itself. Following a recent trend, the justification is based on the factors specified by Congress …CONTINUE READING
Why have technology-based standards if you have air quality standards?
The Clean Air Act has two kinds of standards. It sounds like having two kinds of standards should improve air quality more than a single standard. But in reality, one type of standard can result in canceling out the benefits of the other type. If you understand the statute, this is actually pretty obvious once …CONTINUE READING
We’re beginning to get a clearer understanding of the major questions doctrine.
In November, I wrote a post posing “some major questions about the major questions doctrine.” In West Virginia v. EPA, Chief Justice Roberts starts supplying some answers to those questions. In particular, he seems to be using a narrower four-factor approach to decide what constitutes a “major question.” As we all know, the West Virginia case …CONTINUE READING
An unfamiliar concept for most that just might make cost-benefit analysis more progressive.
A technique called equity weighting could make regulation more progressive. Implementing this technique may be harder than it sounds, however, for a variety of practical, legal, and political reasons. Agencies might do best to use equity weighting as a way to check their regulatory decisions rather than as their main decision tool.CONTINUE READING
If we need to build lots of things fast to address climate and housing crises, how will we do that?
There’s been a lot of buzz about this column by Ezra Klein in the New York Times. Klein’s basic argument: We need to do a lot of infrastructure and other development projects to make the world a better place. For example, we’ll need to build power lines and renewable projects to address climate change. But …CONTINUE READING
OIRA oversees the whole regulatory state. We probably know more about the inner workings of the CIA.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) oversees government regulation across the federal government. Some portray it as a guardian of rationality, others as biased in favor of industry. Public information about OIRA is so limited that it’s impossible to know one way or the other, due to the veil of secrecy that surrounds …CONTINUE READING
They’re even worse than you probably thought.
The decision at the Glasgow climate conference to phase down fossil fuels is an important step forward — and not just because of climate change. We think of fossil fuels as a source of climate change, but that’s only a one part of the problem. From their extraction to their combustion, everything about them is …CONTINUE READING
Lives can be lost when agencies fall down on the job.
What happens when agencies fail in their jobs? People can die. The most dramatic example is the opioid crisis, in which a whole series of state and federal agencies fell short. The result has been hundreds of thousands of deaths. The FDA was one of the prime culprits. It bought into a myth, carefully cultivated …CONTINUE READING
A complicated cannabis regulatory system may be squeezing out small cannabis cultivators
In a prior blog post, I discussed how California’s experiment in legalizing cannabis has not been as effective as hoped for in bringing cultivators into the legal regulatory system. Low levels of compliance might be undermining the possibility of improved environmental outcomes – proponents of legalization argued that bringing formerly illegal cannabis cultivation into a …CONTINUE READING