Proposed Clean Air Act Rulemaking Promotes Regulatory Transparency
Posted July 6, 2020
Smart regulatory reforms from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) support responsible energy development and strengthen the economy, while protecting human health and the environment. EPA’S proposed Benefit-Cost Rule under the Clean Air Act certainly fits with that approach.
The proposal would improve the rulemaking process by clarifying the environmental, scientific and economic impacts of newly proposed rules for the public, the industry and all stakeholders.
API Senior Counselor Howard Feldman gave oral comments to EPA:
“This proposal is a step forward in providing a consistent process for new regulations to calculate benefits and costs that can inform the Agency as how to move forward with a rulemaking initiative. Implementation of a robust benefit and cost analysis process could support the Agency and other stakeholders to focus on rulemakings with the best opportunities to support further emission reductions.”
Finalizing this proposal would ensure sound benefit-cost analyses in developing new regulations by requiring that the data used for evaluating environmental, scientific and economic impacts be transparent and replicable. The natural gas and oil industry supports responsible public policies that are developed after accounting for resource priorities and considering the compliance burdens alongside potential risks and uncertainties.
The EPA should explicitly require rulemakings to address uncertainties in the data, models and analyses used in decision making, and all impacts should be calculated using best practice tools to determine the full scope of costs and maximize societal benefits. In other words, the public should be able to understand the potential costs of the benefits that a proposed regulation can deliver.
It’s worth noting that the Clean Air Act has contributed to the development of cleaner fuels and engine efficiencies, complementing industry-led technologies that have dramatically improved U.S. air quality.
According to the EPA, between 1970 and 2019, combined emissions from criteria and precursor pollutants declined by 77%, even as total U.S. energy use increased. And between 2018 and 2019, the number of days listed as unhealthy for sensitive groups dropped by 40% across the country.
The proposed improvements will help America’s natural gas and oil industry continue to develop and deploy sustainable technologies that reduce direct emissions and deliver cleaner fuels for transportation and power generation.
Feldman concluded his testimony, explaining:
“Under improved Clean Air Act provisions such as those being proposed in this rule, continued innovation and technologies developed by the oil and natural gas industry can build on these achievements and provide benefits based on sound benefit-cost analyses.”
About The Author
Sam Winstel is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. He comes to API from Edelman, where he supported communications marketing strategies for clients across the firm’s energy and federal government practices. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Sam graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina, and he currently resides in Washington, D.C.