NAM Weighs in on the EPA’s Proposed Cost-Benefit Analysis Reform

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would solicit public input on whether and how to change the way it considers costs and benefits in making regulatory decisions. As was first reported in Politico on Tuesday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed comments outlining manufacturers’ priorities for reform and listed numerous examples of flawed and costly rulemaking.

The NAM’s comments included the following recommendations:

  • If costs and benefits will accrue over a 30-year time horizon, the agency should provide cost and benefit estimates for the whole time horizon, not simply a snapshot of what costs and benefits would look like in a given year within the range.
  • When compliance with a rule is based on unknown controls, the EPA must base its calculation of those unknown controls on realistic assumptions.
  • When costs and benefits will accrue to the whole economy, the EPA should model the impact on the whole economy, not just a part of it.
  • The agency should avoid relying on outdated data, studies and methodologies, and it should similarly avoid being overly speculative.
  • The agency can achieve the consistency and specificity it seeks through statute-specific rulemakings that allow for more tailored approaches reflecting the unique statutory requirements.

As I wrote in our filing:

Manufacturers strongly support the EPA’s mission. Moreover, the benefits of appropriate regulations are clear and supported by the public. The issue is how to enable the regulatory system to address legitimate concerns without unreasonably impeding innovation, research, development and product deployment. Too often in the regulatory process, the vital national public policy objectives of international competitiveness and technological innovation are given short shrift due to other competing mandates. To protect public health and the environment, the NAM supports a regulatory process designed to adhere to sound principles of science, risk assessment and robust benefit-cost analysis.…In our view, there are three pillars of effective regulatory cost considerations: transparency, scientific integrity and accountability. In other words, the rule-making process should be conducted out in the open and backed up by objective, unimpeachable science, while being overseen by officials who are held accountable.

The NAM’s full comments can be viewed here.

Ross Eisenberg

Ross Eisenberg

Ross Eisenberg is vice president of energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Mr. Eisenberg oversees the NAM’s energy and environmental policy work and has expertise on issues ranging from energy production and use to air and water quality, climate change, energy efficiency and environmental regulation. He is a key voice for manufacturing on Capitol Hill, at federal agencies and across all forms of media.
Ross Eisenberg

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