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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • SAFE Rule Examined Part 5: Statutory Issues

    May 27, 2020
    This post examines some legal objections to the Final Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule and the Trump agencies’ rebuttals. Previous posts in this series examine the SAFE Rule’s potential impacts on climate change, air quality, auto safety, and consumer choice, and the agencies’ critique of the Obama administration’s 2012 motor vehicle rule.
  • EPA Receives Comments on Proposed Revisions to Transparency Rule

    May 22, 2020
    The comment period on the EPA's proposed revisions to its Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science proposal closed on May 18. The proposal aims to ensure that, over time, more of the data and models underlying the EPA’s regulatory science are available for independent validation while safeguarding patient privacy and confidentiality agreements between researchers and subjects.
  • Wood Heaters—One Cheer for Trump EPA’s Modest Regulatory Reform

    May 19, 2020
    The Trump administration’s reforms of past regulatory excesses range from excellent to little better than no change at all. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent coronavirus-inspired modification to wood heater regulations is definitely an example of the latter.
  • Are "Earth-Friendly" New Refrigerants Toxic?

    May 15, 2020
    Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to restrict hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the refrigerants currently used in most air conditioning and refrigeration systems. But now, one of the leading substitutes for HFCs has been identified as a potential toxin.
  • Senate Bill Introduced to Extend Alternative Fuels Tax Credit

    May 15, 2020
    Sens. Lamar Alexander and Tom Carper have introduced Securing America’s Clean Fuels Infrastructure Act, extending and increasing the tax credits for alternative transportation fuels. It is hard to imagine circumstances where this bill is needed any less. Both conventional gasoline and diesel fuel prices are very cheap by historical standards. Prices are unlikely to appreciably rise any time soon.
  • SAFE Rule Examined Part 4 Consumer Choice

    May 14, 2020
    Ccompared to the 2012 Obama administration CAFE rule it repeals and replaces, the SAFE Rule is deregulatory and pro-choice. And pro-life, too, if, as advertised, easing the Obama-era CAFE standards will avoid thousands of fatalities and tens of thousands of serious injuries.
  • Will the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report Rely on Increasingly Overheated Models?

    May 11, 2020
    In a letter published in Nature, Jiang Zhu and Christopher Poulsen of the University of Michigan and Bette Otto-Bliesner of the National Center for Atmospheric Research caution that models used in the Sixth Assessment Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may have unrealistically high equilibrium climate sensitivity estimates. This arcane-sounding issue is a big deal.  
  • SAFE Rule Examined Part 3 Trump Agencies' Critique of Obama Auto Rule

    May 11, 2020
    The Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles rule contains a powerful critique of the 2012 Obama administration rule it repeals and replaces. In a nutshell, the 2012 rule was based on faulty forecasts and unreasonable assumptions that drastically inflated its estimated benefits.
  • Trump Administration to Grant One-Year Extension for Wind, Solar Credits

    May 11, 2020
    The Trump administration indicated this week it will adjust tax credit deadlines to help renewable energy investors to help their businesses survive the economic crisis. This means that wind and solar projects begun in 2016 or 2017 will be eligible to receive the credits over a period of five years instead of four.
  • Harvard Junk Science Study Claims High Pollution Levels Increase Deaths from COVID-19

    May 11, 2020
    Researchers at Harvard University in late April published a draft or preliminary study that concluded, “A small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in the COVID-19 death rate." PM2.5 is fine particulate matter in the air. The fact the study is a quick-and-dirty rush job indicates that the purpose is more to advance a political agenda than to advance scientific knowledge.


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