Commentary Archive

Susan Dudley

The Ozone Charade

October 28, 2015

By Susan E. Dudley, Director
10/28/15 - EPA asserts its new 70 parts per billion (ppb) ozone standard, published in the Federal Register on October 26, will avoid 320 to 660 premature deaths each year. However, the agency’s own analysis claims that a more stringent 65 ppb standard would have saved an additional 1,274 to 2,660 lives per year. This commentary examines how, if EPA is required to base the standard on health considerations only, without considering economic factors, can it reconcile setting a standard that leaves so many lives unprotected?

Sofie Miller

OMB Reports Higher Costs and Lower Benefits in 2015 Draft Report

October 21, 2015

by Sofie E. Miller, Senior Policy Analyst
10/21/15 - On October 16, the Office Management and Budget released its annual Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations, which provides a window into regulatory activity conducted by federal agencies in Fiscal Year 2014. The Report estimates that the new regulations issued last fiscal year have both higher costs and lower benefits than those issued in FY 2013, and that the Environmental Protection Agency remains by far the largest contributor to both regulatory costs and benefits in this Report.

Brian Mannix

The Tension between Optimization and Competition in Rulemaking: The Case of Proposed Fuel-Efficiency Standards for Trucks

October 08, 2015

by Brian Mannix, Research Professor
10/8/15 - Choosing regulatory options that maximize net benefits is a sound principle, but it needs to be applied with an appropriate measure of humility. Regulators may be tempted to think that they can use benefit-cost analysis to determine what is “best” for the economy, and then simply mandate it. The collateral damage to competition and innovation can easily turn an otherwise well-intentioned rule into an economic disaster. Regulatory specification of a particular technology can be especially damaging when the technology is proprietary, because then the law may simultaneously lock out competitors and lock in customers.

Susan Dudley

EPA’s Ozone Rule and the Scientization of Policy

October 07, 2015

by Susan E. Dudley, Director
10/7/15 - This commentary questions EPA’s claim that its new ozone standard is based purely on science, untainted by economic or political considerations. When science is the only factor that can legally be considered in setting a standard, no one is immune to the temptation to put a spin on science to advance policy goals. Current procedures are not transparent and lead to distortions and false precision in the presentation of scientific information, blurring the line between science and policy and contributing to what Dudley calls the “scientization of policy.”