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Recent Projects

Viewing recent projects in Climate Change and Energy Policy
  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA on Water and Air Pollution Limitations from Electric Power Generation

    January 21, 2020

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to weaken technology standards adopted in 2015 that act as crucial controls on effluent and emissions from electric power generation. Our comments focus on EPA’s flawed legal and economic justifications for the proposed rule, which contravenes the Clean Water Act, creates harmful incentives to delay compliance with guidelines, and relies on flawed cost-benefit analysis. We also submitted joint comments that detail how EPA severely undervalues the proposed rule’s climate costs and must monetize the full social cost of carbon using the best available data and methodologies.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA’s Chartered Science Advisory Board

    January 10, 2020

    We submitted four comments in advance of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) January 2020 meeting of its Chartered Science Advisory Board (SAB).

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  • Reports

    Look Before You Lease

    January 7, 2020

    While the Trump administration’s goal of “energy dominance” has increased the public lands available for oil and gas development, no effort has been made to modernize the leasing system, even in the face of climate change. Our report explains how option value—which accounts for the informational value gained by delaying leasing decisions—can and should be factored into the Bureau of Land Management’s land use planning processes. Accounting for option value at multiple stages of the land use planning process would significantly improve BLM’s public lands stewardship, better protect the environment, and regain some of the economic and strategic advantages it has ceded to private developers. The report also describes case studies where BLM’s failure to consider option value has led to costly litigation and missed opportunities.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to BLM on Proposed Farmington Drilling Projects

    January 6, 2020

    The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Farmington Field Office in New Mexico released an addendum to its environmental assessment for eighty-six drilling applications. The addendum estimates that the projects, in total, would result in more than 483 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent over the lifetimes of the assessments. BLM’s analysis, however, fails to consider the climate impacts of these emissions, which would amount to more than $25 billion. Our comments ask that BLM provide monetized estimates of these real-world climate impacts using social cost of greenhouse gases metrics.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to FERC on Putnam Expansion Project

    January 6, 2020

    The Putnam Expansion Project involves the construction and installation of natural gas infrastructure that will result in downstream emissions of approximately 3.26 million metric tons carbon dioxide-equivalent each year. Our comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) focus on its environmental assessment of the project, which provides unclear and inadequate analysis of the emissions and their climate impacts. We urge FERC to monetize climate damages by using social cost of greenhouse gas metrics.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to FERC on Offshore Wind Transmission

    December 19, 2019

    Due to a significant buildout of offshore wind in the mid-Atlantic as a result of falling costs and state policy commitments, new offshore transmission will be required. However, the market rules for the nation’s largest electricity grid operator, PJM, currently provide no practical path for the development of open-access transmission to connect planned but not-yet-developed offshore wind generation. We submitted comments urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to eliminate barriers to these projects, lowering transmission costs and ensuring just and reasonable rates.

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  • Court Filings

    Amicus Brief on NHTSA Rule Lowering Penalty for Violations of Fuel-Economy Standards

    December 17, 2019

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently finalized a rule that significantly reduces the penalties that automakers pay for violating the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. In reducing the penalty, NHTSA rolled back an adjustment that had been made to the penalty under the Inflation Act, a statute requiring agencies to adjust civil monetary penalties to account for decades of inflation. We submitted an amicus brief in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit focusing on NHTSA’s faulty economic justifications for the rule, arguing that this repeal was unlawful.

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  • Academic Articles/Working Papers

    (Not So) Clean Peak Energy Standards

    December 10, 2019

    Growth in electricity storage has the potential to increase emissions from power generation. Concerns about this outcome are currently prompting many policies to address the issue. We study a particularly popular policy proposal called the “Clean Peak Standard” that incentivizes storage to discharge during periods of high electricity demand. The stated goal of the policy is to shift storage discharge to offset production from generators with high pollution emissions. We show that the policy is largely ineffective at achieving this emissions reduction goal. The policy reinforces existing incentives faced by storage operators, so it does not have a strong effect on discharging behavior. It is also unable to capture high-frequency changes in marginal operating emissions rates. Alternative policies, such as a carbon tax, are more effective at reducing the emissions increase caused by storage. Policymakers considering Clean Peak-style policies should instead consider these alternative policies.

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  • Reports

    Getting the Value of Distributed Energy Resources Right

    December 3, 2019

    Our report notes the growing presence of distributed energy resources, like solar panels and energy storage installations, and explains how they should be compensated for providing electricity services valued by utilities and their customers. Currently, 40 states use net energy metering programs to compensate DERs. We describe a promising alternative, “value stacking,” which better reflects DERs’ value, and provide suggestions for how to implement this approach.

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  • Public Comments

    Comments to EPA on Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations

    November 25, 2019

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed revisions to New Source Performance Standards for methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the oil and natural gas sector. We submitted comments focusing on EPA’s flawed and legal economic justifications for the rule.

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