EPA Water Rule Repeal Based on Sloppy Cost Analysis: Economists

Bloomberg BNA discusses claims that repealing Waters of the United States had underestimated economic impacts with William Yeatman.

The Trump administration was sloppy in how it estimated the economic impact of a proposal to repeal an Obama-era water pollution regulation, relying on data and assumptions that industry previously criticized, according to economists and regulatory analysts interviewed by Bloomberg BNA.

Chief among their complaints was that the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used recession-era economic data and failed to account for some of the benefits of leaving the 2015 Clean Water Rule in place. Their economic analysis even drew criticism from David Sunding, a University of California-Berkeley agricultural economist who was hired by industry groups to counter the analysis the Obama administration used to back its regulation.

“I suspect they did this for politics: We did this action and it’s saving us money,” William Yeatman, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Bloomberg BNA.

Yeatman, who has been critical of the Obama-era regulation, said this was a “missed opportunity” for the EPA to perform an in-depth analysis in light of the criticism of the earlier analysis, he said. “I understand why” the EPA chose administrative efficiency and speed to undo the 2015 rule over a more in-depth analysis, he said.

But Yeatman said “you can’t criticize a study for all these faults and use that study.”

Read the full article at Bloomberg BNA.