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Sept. 29, 2011 by Amy Sinden

Auto Dealers Group Wrong About How EPA Considers Costs in Vehicle Efficiency Standards

This post was written by Member Scholar Amy Sinden and Policy Analyst Lena Pons.

Last week, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) sponsored a fly-in lobby day to support an amendment that would strip EPA of the authority to set greenhouse gas emission standards for passenger cars and light trucks for 2017-2025. The amendment, offered earlier this year by Rep. Steve Austria (R-Ohio), would prevent EPA from spending any money to implement the 2017-2025 standards. NADA wants the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to have sole responsibility for regulating vehicle efficiency. Dealers want NHTSA to run the show because, they claim, EPA does not give adequate consideration to costs of the standards.

One problem: the auto dealers have completely misrepresented how EPA and NHTSA’s joint standards work. In fact, EPA, just like NHTSA, kept considerations of cost and technological feasibility front and center in developing the joint fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for 2012-2016. There is no reason to think they will approach the 2017-2025 standards differently. 

Sept. 28, 2011 by Matthew Freeman
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Nothing attracts attacks in politics quite like a show of weakness. That’s obviously how energy industry lobbyists read President Obama’s recent retreat on ozone standards. So now that the Administration has demonstrated its willingness – you might even call it eagerness – to cave in on much needed environmental regulation, it’s no surprise that polluting industries are of a mind to press their luck. 

How else to explain a request to the Environmental Protection Agency from the American Petroleum Institute – that’s the oil and natural gas industry trade group – to delay until late 2013 forthcoming regulations on refineries, including landmark greenhouse gas regulations.

The current plan is for those rules to be finalized at the end of this year.

To review the bidding on this, the greenhouse gas regs would be among the first to emerge from EPA after a long and brutal battle that …

Sept. 27, 2011 by James Goodwin
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Soon after assuming office in January 2009, President Obama promised that, in contrast to George W. Bush, science and law would be the two primary guiding stars for regulatory decision-making during his administration. From that perspective then, the finalized version of the EPA’s ozone standard should have been a no-brainer. After all, the standard was intended to replace the 2008 one issued in the dying days of the Bush Administration, which EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has slammed as legally and scientifically indefensible. The Clean Air Act charges the EPA to set the ozone standard at a level that is protective of human health with an adequate margin of safety, and, consistent with this mandate and with the unanimous recommendation of the EPA’s blue ribbon clean air science advisors for how to achieve this mandate, the agency seem poised to set the new standard somewhere between …

Sept. 27, 2011 by Amy Sinden
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It all started Monday on the Daily Caller. The story claimed that the EPA, in planning regulations on greenhouses gasses, is “asking for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats — at a cost of $21 billion — to attempt to implement the rules.” The story spread like wild among many of the usual suspects, like National Review, Red State  and Fox News. And it was promoted by some of the top anti-regulation advocates in Congress: Senator Jim Inhofe, House Energy & Commerce’s Environment and the Economy subcommittee chair John Shimkus, and Rep. Geoff Davis, chief sponsor of the REINS Act. Inhofe and Davis both reprinted the original article directly on their site.

One problem: the story isn’t true.

Daily Caller writer Matthew Boyle found the 230,000 stat in a brief the EPA filed on September 16. That brief defends the …

Sept. 26, 2011 by Noah Sachs
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In toxics regulation, environmental lawyers face an uphill battle when they challenge a risk assessment performed by a protector agency.  Courts review the agency’s risk assessment under a deferential “arbitrary and capricious” standard, and courts are reluctant to second-guess an agency’s calculation of the risks of a pesticide or other chemicals.

So it was a victory for both children’s health and sound science earlier this month when the Natural Resources Defense Council prevailed in its challenge of EPA’s flawed risk assessment for a commonly-used pesticide called dichlorvos. (NRDC v. EPA, 08-3771-ag, 2nd Cir. September 16, 2011).  The unanimous decision by the 3-judge panel is here.

The Second Circuit vacated a 2006 EPA order denying NRDC’s request to pull dichlorvos off the market.  The court held that EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying the request and that EPA had failed to …

Sept. 26, 2011 by Ben Somberg
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Member Scholar Robert Adler had an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune over the weekend noting a new survey in Utah showing state residents valuing both a sound economy and a healthy environment as fundamental, co-equal requirements of their quality of life. The survey was part of a "Quality of Life Index" from the Utah Foundation, a group supported by many top businesses in the state.

Adler explained the bigger picture:

Fortunately, clean air and water are not incompatible with jobs and a healthy economy. In the four decades in which the Clean Air Act has been implemented, air pollution in the United States has been reduced by 63 percent while the economy has grown by 210 percent and the nation has created 60 million jobs. Many business people in Utah understand that bad air and dirty water are bad for both quality of life and for …

Sept. 23, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro
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Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) once remarked, “I’ll let you write the substance … you let me write the procedure, and I’ll screw you every time.” Legislation introduced yesterday in the Senate by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and in the House by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) to amend the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) proves Rep. Dingell knew what he was talking about. The APA is the law that governs the way the various agencies of the federal government do their regulatory business – requiring them to operate in the sunlight and to solicit and weigh public comment about proposed regulations, and establishing a framework for judicial review of regulations. The new bill makes more than 30 pages worth of changes to the current APA, which is now about 45 pages long (not counting its Freedom of Information …

Sept. 22, 2011 by Ben Somberg
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Today the House is taking up debate on the “TRAIN Act”, a sweeping anti-regulatory bill that would serve to gum up the works at agencies that work to protect our health and the environment.

The bill was bad to start with; then it became a true circus, with all sorts of regulation-blocking amendments being tacked on (See NRDC, and NRDC). An amendment offered by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) would completely rewrite the Clean Air Act, forcing the EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQSs) based partly on what is best for industry’s bottom line, rather than what is best for public health. With this change, Americans would never know whether the air they are breathing is truly healthy.

The base bill requires the EPA to conduct a new detailed study of the various economic impacts of several of its rules. The study elements range …

Sept. 21, 2011 by Rena Steinzor
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In a dispiriting reminder that the more things change, the more they remain the same, Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) plucked a page from former Rep. Tom Delay’s playbook, denouncing federal civil servants as “the Gestapo” because when he popped into a local office unannounced and without an appointment last week, staff kept him waiting for 20 minutes. When federal deepwater drilling permit chief Michael Bromwich objected to Landry’s appalling rhetoric, the Representative doubled down on idiotic and demanded that Bromwich apologize. Both Landry’s campaign and his congressional websites featured his pugnacious reiteration of the comment when checked immediately before this blog was posted.

First things first. I am a Jew. The extended family on my maternal grandmother’s side was wiped out by the Nazis. I had a typical upbringing for those born within a couple of decades of the Holocaust: the horror was …

Sept. 21, 2011 by Robert Verchick
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Let’s stipulate: EPA’s withdrawal of a stronger ozone rule was the low point. And for many, a betrayal, a sedition, the nation’s biggest sell-out since Dylan went electric (or played China, take your pick).

Still, Jackson’s EPA has accomplished a great deal. Last week the EPA showcased new policy devoted to one issue with which Jackson has associated herself since day one: environmental justice.

The policy is called Plan EJ 2014, the agency’s comprehensive environmental justice strategy, planned to correspond with the 20th anniversary of President Clinton’s formative executive order on environmental justice (full disclosure: I was involved in the development of some parts of Plan EJ 2014 when I was in the Obama administration). The planoffers a road map for integrating environmental justice and civil rights into EPA’s daily work, including rulemaking, permitting, compliance and enforcement, community-based programs …

CPR HOMEPAGE
More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
Sept. 29, 2011

Auto Dealers Group Wrong About How EPA Considers Costs in Vehicle Efficiency Standards

Sept. 28, 2011

API's Request for Delay on Greenhouse Gas Reg is a True Pitch in the Dirt

Sept. 27, 2011

Top Regulatory Opponents Tout Story Claiming EPA Wants to Make 230,000 New Hires; Turns Out Agency Was Arguing Specifically Against It

Sept. 27, 2011

Looking Back at the Ozone Retreat: A Step Back for the Obama Administration on Science Integrity

Sept. 26, 2011

Robert Adler Op-ed in Salt Lake Tribune Points to Utahn's Desires for Clean Environment and Healthy Economy

Sept. 26, 2011

Big Win for Children's Health in Second Circuit Risk Assessment Decision

Sept. 23, 2011

The Regulatory Accountability Act: Putting the Screws to Health, Safety and Environmental Regulation