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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • EPA Proposes Rule to Increase Consistency and Transparency of Benefit-Cost Analysis

    June 5, 2020
    The Environmental Protection Agency on June 4 released a proposed rule to increase the “consistency and transparency” of benefit-cost analysis (BCA) in Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations. The proposal would require all future “significant” CAA regulations to be accompanied by a BCA, and all BCAs to be conducted according to “best practices.”
  • Trump Executive Order to Expedite Project Approvals

    June 5, 2020
    President Trump on June 4 issued an Executive Order intended to expedite the federal approval process for major infrastructure projects. “Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities” seeks to put people back to work by getting transportation, energy, and other big construction projects underway as quickly as possible.
  • EPA Finalizes Rule Limiting State Abuses of Clean Water Act to Block Fossil Energy Projects

    June 1, 2020
    On June 1, the EPA issued a final rule clarifying that the Clean Water Act cannot be used by states to block energy projects based on climate or any other grounds unrelated to water quality. This rule should help remove roadblocks to many such projects that both create jobs and keep energy affordable for homes and businesses.
  • EPA Removes One Hurdle to Alaska’s Pebble Mine, but Others Remain

    June 1, 2020
    On May 28, the EPA notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it will not challenge its ongoing review of the Pebble Mine in Alaska at this time. Thus, the Army Corps can continue reviewing the project’s Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EIS review and subsequent final decision on the mine permit are expected by the end of the year.
  • COP-26: U.N Climate Conference Delayed until November 2021

    May 29, 2020
    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change announced on May 29 that its 26th Conference of the Parties, originally scheduled for November 9-19, 2020, has been rescheduled for November 1-12, 2021. The extravaganza will still be hosted by the British government in sunny Glasgow, Scotland.
  • IRS Relaxes Requirements for Renewable Energy Tax Credits—Coronavirus Edition

    May 29, 2020
    On May 27, the IRS issued a notice expanding the tax relief for renewable energy developers seeking to qualify for tax credits. Ironically, this announcement comes as the Energy Information Administration announced that renewables have surpassed coal as an electricity source in the U.S. This undercuts a key rationale for the renewable tax credits, which is that renewables they are an infant industry.
  • 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.

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