Regulatory Policy

Regulatory safeguards play a vital role in protecting us from hazards and ensuring that companies that pollute, make unsafe products, and create workplace hazards bear the cost of cleaning up their messes and preventing injuries and deaths. Still, the regulatory system is far from perfect: Rules take too long to develop; enforcement is often feeble; and political pressure from regulated industries has led to weak safeguards.

These systemic problems are made all the more severe by the determination of the Trump administration to undercut sensible safeguards across virtually all aspects of federal regulation. Moreover, the President and his team have taken aim at the the process by which such safeguards are developed, aiming to take a system already slanted in favor of industry profit at the expense of health, safety and the environment, and make it even less protective. For example, where critics of the use of cost-benefit analysis see a system that understates the value of safeguards and overstates the cost of implementing them -- making it difficult to adopt needed protections -- the Trump administration seeks simply to ignore benefits of safeguards, pretending they do not exist. The result is a regulatory system that fails to enforce landmark laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and more.

CPR exposes and opposes efforts by opponents of sensible safeguards to undermine the regulatory system, fighting back against knee-jerk opposition to environmental, health, and safety protections. Below, see what CPR Members Scholars and staff have had to say in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.

The Progressive Case Against Cost-Benefit Analysis

In James Goodwin's article on the workings of cost-benefit analysis, he writes, "In cost-benefit analysis, small government ideologues and corporate interests have fashioned a powerful weapon for attacking regulatory safeguards and undercutting landmark laws. Much of that power derives from the elaborate mythology that its proponents have woven around the methodology over the course of the past four decades.... For its supporters, the real genius of the cost-benefit analysis myth is that it distracts from the fact that the methodology is in fact neither neutral nor objective."

Type: Reports (Aug. 20, 2020)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
EPA Clean Air Act ‘Benefits-Busting’ Rule: Topline Analysis

With the calendar running out of pages on Donald Trump's first term, EPA is pushing hard to adopt its "benefits-busting" rule, hoping to defeat efforts to implement the Clear Air Act's protections by tilting the cost-benefit analysis process ever more to industry's favor. James Goodwin offers an analysis of the effort.

Type: Reports (July 22, 2020)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
Cost-Benefit-Boomerang-AmProspect
Cost-Benefit-Boomerang-AmProspect
Type: Op-Eds (July 26, 2019)
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Author(s): Amy Sinden
EPA's backward accounting protects polluters, not the people

EPA's backward accounting protects polluters, not the people, op-ed by Amy Sinden and James Goodwin

Type: Op-Eds (July 1, 2019)
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Author(s): Amy Sinden, James Goodwin
June 2019 Update on Trump EPA’s ‘Benefits-Busting’ Rule

CPR's James Goodwin examines the implications of EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler's May 13, 2019, memo to the agency’s Assistant Administrators. In the memo, Wheeler announced the agency was partially backtracking on its pending rulemaking to overhaul how it would perform cost-benefit analyses for its future rules.

Type: Reports (June 4, 2019)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
How Trump Officials Abuse Cost-Benefit Analysis to Attack Regulations

How Trump Officials Abuse Cost-Benefit Analysis to Attack Regulations, op-ed by Dan Farber

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 9, 2019)
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Author(s): Daniel Farber
Joint Letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler re Cost-Benefit Analysis Proposal

Joint Letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler re Cost-Benefit Analysis Proposal from CPR Member Scholars. Nineteen CPR Member Scholars joined in comments calling on Wheeler to withdraw an Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking on cost-benefit analysis. August 13, 2018.

Type: Letters to Agencies (Aug. 13, 2018)
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Author(s): Alejandro Camacho, Kirsten Engel, Victor Flatt, Alexandra Klass, Thomas McGarity, Rebecca Bratspies, Heather Elliott, Daniel Farber, Robert Glicksman, Martha McCluskey, Joel Mintz, Richard Murphy, Amy Sinden, Rena Steinzor, Robert Verchick, Sidney Shapiro, Karen Sokol, Joseph Tomain
Webinar: EPA's Benefits-Busting Proposal

CPR's June 27, 2018 webinar on EPA's benefits-busting proposal to slant EPA's cost-benefit analysis methods even further in favor of pollution, featuring CPR's Amy Sinden and James Goodwin.

Type: Webinars (June 27, 2018)
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Author(s): Amy Sinden, James Goodwin
David Driesen's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law re OIRA's role and cost-benefit analysis.

David Driesen's July 6, 2016, testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law re OIRA's role and cost-benefit analysis.

Type: Legislative Testimony (July 6, 2016)
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Author(s): David Driesen
Comments to the FDA on food safety rules for raw produc

Comments to the FDA on food safety rules for raw produce on several CPR Member Scholars and staff

Type: Letters to Agencies (Nov. 15, 2013)
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Author(s): Lisa Heinzerling, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, Rena Steinzor, Michael Patoka

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