January 3, 2017
Does it make any sense to spend ever greater sums of money for ever fewer environmental benefits? That’s the very fair question that’s been asked in two recent smart pieces. The first is by C. Boyden Gray in today’s Washington Examiner, and I’ve excerpted its main points below:
We have come a long way since the days when, as a federal judge once described, “the air in the Los Angeles basin was so thick with smog that a mountain, or even a nearby mountain range, could simply disappear.” That's what the Clean Air Act was designed to remedy, and it has worked…
We no longer contend with the largescale environmental crises that still plague the rest of the world.
December 22, 2016Agenda for the 115th Congress highlights specific steps lawmakers can take to rein in unlawful overreach by executive agencies, reduce the costs of federal regulations, and unleash America’s...
October 5, 2016
Washington is still abuzz about the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals oral argument last week on the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards for existing fossil-fuel power plants, the so-called Clean Power Plan. Almost forgotten in the hubbub is the fact that the Power Plan depends upon a prerequisite rulemaking, the agency’s CO2 standards for new fossil-fuel power plants, which has legal vulnerabilities of its own.
The new source rule’s standard for coal power plants—1,400 lbs. CO2/MWh—is based on EPA’s determination that “partial” carbon capture and storage...
August 3, 2016a study that reviews EPA’s performance for more than 1,000 Clean Air Act deadlines. Here’s the big takeaway: the agency missed 84 percent of its date-certain duties by an average of 4.3 years.
In fact, the study is an update and expansion of...
July 28, 2016
Today is World Nature Conservation Day (WNCD), “observed on 28th July all over the world with the objective of increasing awareness about and protecting the natural resources that the Earth is bestowed with,” enthuses a website called Sustainability Initiatives.
Having never heard of WNCD until this morning, I had to wonder whether the event has even less cultural cachet than the unplug protest called Earth Hour. So I checked the home pages of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, and Sierra Club. No mention of WNCD.
I might have gone...
July 22, 2016
of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) claim the program “mitigates” anthropogenic global warming by substituting biofuels for petroleum products in the nation’s motor fuel...
July 21, 2016
Editor’s note: Open Market is publishing a new blog series this week on pressing issues in administrative law and regulatory policy, which we’ve titled “Worst Procedural Abuses of the Obama Era.” It will also include contributions by Marc Scribner, Trey Kovacs, and Ryan Radia.
Since Obama took office, the Environment Protection Agency’s grossest procedural violation was so outrageous that the agency voluntarily reversed course after it came to light. In the summer of 2015, the agency tried and failed to get away with a secret rulemaking.
On July 23, 2015, the EPA...
July 8, 2016a 16 part series on regulatory capture, but almost all the contributors make the same mistake of assuming that industry is the only threat. In fact, ideological special interests...
June 7, 2016
When economists and politicians talk about income inequality, they rarely consider the effects of their policies on the poor, as my co-author Ryan Young has shown. This goes doubly for policies that are not targeted directly at income itself. A particularly good example of this is energy policy.
Energy is fundamental to virtually everything we do, but is particularly important for the poor. They need energy for the most basic things in their lives: heating and lighting their homes, cooking their food, and getting to and from work. Because these basic needs take up a greater percentage of their incomes than for those of better off households, the poor are particularly vulnerable to policies that increase the price of energy.
May 2, 2016
Background: The Regional Haze rule is a Clean Air Act regulation whose purpose is to improve the view at National Parks. Because it is an aesthetic rule, and not a public health regulation, Congress intended for States to be the primary decision-maker. In spite of State primacy under the program, EPA since 2009 has imposed federal Regional Haze plans on 15 States, at a cost of more than $5 billion, in order to achieve an “improvement” in visibility that is literally imperceptible. For a primer on the Rule, see my congressional testimony from March.
This week, EPA proposed a “clarification” of its Regional Haze rule that ranks among the agency’s all-time most mendacious...