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EPA Cost-Benefit Analysis

Rule­mak­ing Process

2017-2021

  • June 2018

    In June 2018, the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA) released an advanced notice of pro­posed rule­mak­ing (ANPR) to change how the agency weighs the costs and ben­e­fits of pro­posed pol­lu­tion con­trol mech­a­nisms on indus­try, pub­lic health and the envi­ron­ment in its gen­er­al rule­mak­ing process.

  • August 2018

    New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bar­bara Under­wood led a coali­tion of 13 attor­neys gen­er­al in August 2018 in sub­mit­ting com­ments on the ANPR, call­ing on the EPA to with­draw the ANPR.

    The com­ments not­ed that while the EPA assert­ed it wants to pro­mote increased con­sis­ten­cy and trans­paren­cy in its con­sid­er­a­tion of costs and ben­e­fits in rule­mak­ing pro­ceed­ings, the ANPR iden­ti­fied no exam­ples of a lack of con­sis­ten­cy or trans­paren­cy in cost-ben­e­fit analy­ses. An effort to impose addi­tion­al con­sis­ten­cy or trans­paren­cy require­ments could cur­tail the EPA’s abil­i­ty to car­ry out its man­date to pro­tect human health and the envi­ron­ment in a man­ner con­sis­tent with statutes that instruct how the agency is to car­ry out its cost-ben­e­fit analy­ses for spe­cif­ic types of pollution.

Clean Air Act

2017-2021

  • June 2020

    In June 2020, the EPA released a pro­posed rule to change how the costs and ben­e­fits of envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions under the Clean Air Act are ana­lyzed. The pro­pos­al would estab­lish a one-size-fits-all method­ol­o­gy for cost-ben­e­fit analy­ses and would bar con­sid­er­a­tion of co-ben­e­fits, which result from reduc­tions in pol­lu­tants that are not the direct sub­ject of the regulation.

  • August 2020

    In August 2020, a coali­tion of 18 attor­neys gen­er­al led by New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James filed com­ments object­ing to the pro­pos­al and crit­i­ciz­ing its fail­ure to pro­tect pub­lic health and the envi­ron­ment. In their com­ments, the attor­neys gen­er­al not­ed that fail­ing to con­sid­er co-ben­e­fits not only dis­re­gards fun­da­men­tal eco­nom­ic prin­ci­ples but vio­lates EPA’s statu­to­ry duties and under­cuts the agency’s core mis­sion to pro­tect human health and the envi­ron­ment. The coali­tion also cau­tioned that the proposal’s lan­guage appears designed to con­sid­er only those ben­e­fits that are direct­ly relat­ed to the Clean Air Act pro­vi­sion that under­lies a rule­mak­ing, even if the rule would pro­vide oth­er Clean Air Act ben­e­fits. The attor­neys gen­er­al urged the EPA to aban­don the pro­pos­al, call­ing the changes unnec­es­sary, con­trary to law, arbi­trary, and unworkable.

  • Decem­ber 2020

    In Decem­ber 2020, the EPA released the final ver­sion of its rule for cal­cu­lat­ing costs and ben­e­fits asso­ci­at­ed with Clean Air Act reg­u­la­tions. The final rule large­ly tracks the pro­posed rule. Fol­low­ing the release of the rule, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Xavier Becer­ra released a state­ment, crit­i­ciz­ing the rule for ignor­ing the pub­lic health ben­e­fits asso­ci­at­ed with imple­ment­ing clean air reg­u­la­tions while mag­ni­fy­ing the cost to indus­try of com­ply­ing with Clean Air Act rules.

  • Jan­u­ary 2021

    On the last full day of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in Jan­u­ary 2021, New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al James led a coali­tion of 18 attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing a peti­tion for review chal­leng­ing the Decem­ber 2020 rule.

  • May 2021

    In May 2021, the Biden admin­is­tra­tion rescind­ed the rule.