EPA Proposes Changes to Clean Air Rulemaking

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed changes to how clean air rules are developed by gutting currently used legal justifications.

The proposed changes would focus on the economic impact of potential new rules and forgo the standing practice of taking into account “co-benefits” such as positive impacts on public health. In April, EPA altered the way costs and benefits are calculated in reviews of hazardous air pollutant abatement policies when it looked at Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Changing the cost-benefit formula left the standards open to legal challenges. Under the proposed new rule, co-benefits could no longer be used to justify EPA rules, and will only be considered separately. EPA believes the inclusion of co-benefits overstates the effectiveness of environmental standards, while environmental advocates believe they are a necessary part of the equation.

From the press release:

“…today’s proposed action corrects another dishonest accounting method the previous administration used to justify costly, ineffective regulations,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This is the one of many actions this administration has taken that will improve the transparency and consistency of EPA’s cost-benefit analyses.”

From coverage in Reuters:

“It’s disgraceful that Andrew Wheeler is still seeking to undercut the public’s health and welfare during a time of pandemic and deep mourning in our country,” said Liz Perera, climate policy director at the Sierra Club.

Useful Links:

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: EPA Finalizes Rollback to Mercury Emissions Rule

EPA Press Release

Coverage in Reuters