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James Goodwin | September 29, 2022

The EPA Shows It Can Do Better Regulatory Analysis. Will Biden Follow?

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released what is almost certainly the best regulatory analysis it has performed in over 40 years. (To be clear, though, the bar for these analyses is pretty low.) More importantly, it provides President Biden with new impetus to finally follow through with the long overdue implementation of his administration’s “Modernizing Regulatory Review” memorandum.

James Goodwin | September 28, 2022

Biden Has Fallen Behind on Regulatory Policy. Revesz’s Confirmation Won’t Change That.

What does President Joe Biden believe on regulatory policy? It is striking that after 20 months of his administration, we still do not know. Unfortunately, rather than shed light on this crucial issue, September 29th's Senate confirmation hearing to consider the nomination of law professor Richard Revesz as the next administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is likely to raise more uncertainty.

The Founders of the Center stand together

Alexandra Rogan, Allison Stevens | September 28, 2022

The Center’s “Battery Pack”: Toasting our Member Scholars on Our 20th Anniversary

This month, three Member Scholars – Dave Owen, Rob Fischman, and Rob Glicksman – take center stage in the latest edition of Land Use and Environment Law Review (LUELR), an anthology of last year’s best writing on environmental law. In August, Member Scholar Rebecca Bratspies, earned the 2022 International Human Rights Award from the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, and […]

Daniel Farber | September 22, 2022

Cost-Benefit Analysis and Deep Uncertainty

Since 1981, cost-benefit analysis has been at the core of the rulemaking process. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the so-called “regulatory czar” in the White House, must approve every significant regulation based on a review of its cost-benefit analysis. But cost-benefit analysis has had a major blind spot. It embodies techniques for analyzing possible harmful outcomes when the probability of those outcomes can be quantified with reasonable confidence. When those probabilities cannot be quantified (“deep uncertainty”), the analytic path is more difficult. This issue is especially important in the context of climate change, given the potential for tipping points to produce disastrous outcomes.

Collage of images and the Center's logo

Allison Stevens | September 13, 2022

A New Look for a New Era

The founding of the United States was far from perfect, reflecting the deep flaws and exploitative practices of the founders themselves. But there was one thing they got right: They created a government charged, in part, with protecting the general welfare. That includes you, me, the American people writ large, and our environment. We at […]

James Goodwin | August 10, 2022

Op-Ed: Information Justice Offers Stronger Clean Air Protections to Fenceline Communities

After more than 50 years, the Clean Air Act is due for an upgrade to account for changing circumstances. We can now recognize how the law is insufficiently attentive to the realities of structural racism and systemic disparities in environmental protections. Polluters have exacerbated these problems by weaponizing uncertainty to oppose stronger protections for those who need them most. In speaking to both challenges, the Public Health Air Quality Act would help ensure that the Clean Air Act is well positioned to continue serving the American people for the next 50 years.

Daniel Farber | August 8, 2022

Will the Supreme Court Gut the Clean Water Act?

What wetlands and waterbodies does the Clean Water Act protect? Congress failed to provide a clear answer when it passed the statute, and the issue has been a bone of contention ever since. The Biden administration is in the process of issuing a new regulation on the subject. Normally, you'd expect the Supreme Court to wait to jump in until then. Instead, the Court reached out to grab Sackett v. EPA, where landowners take a really extreme position on the subject. Not a good sign.

James Goodwin | July 27, 2022

Op-Ed: Manchin and the Supreme Court Told Biden to Modernize Regulatory Review — Will He Listen?

The Biden administration’s path forward on climate change -- as the widely deployed metaphor goes -- has become more difficult with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in West Virginia vs. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If the Biden administration is to successfully navigate that path -- and it must if we are to avert the worst consequences of the climate crisis -- the president will need to abandon the “compass” that his predecessors have relied on for decades to guide their policy agenda: Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review.

Thomas McGarity, Wendy Wagner | July 25, 2022

Do Not Blame Us

Law professors dream of the day when the U.S. Supreme Court will rely on one of their publications for a proposition that is crucial to the outcome of an important case. What better validation of all the blood, sweat, and tears that were poured into the publication? What an existential high to know that they have finally arrived at the pinnacle. We experienced none of those emotions when reading Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion in West Virginia v. EPA. The citations to our work were both minor and innocuous, so that fact helps allay any sense of accomplishment. But equally significant, the Court's analysis bears little relationship to our own understanding of Section 111(a) of the Clean Air Act.