EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler wants agency officials to start developing proposals to use cost- benefit analyses in preparing regulations.
In a memo released Tuesday by the agency, Wheeler directs his assistant administrators for the offices of water, air and radiation, land and emergency management, and chemical safety and pollution prevention “to develop reforms, including notice-and-comment rulemakings, that outline how benefit-cost considerations will be applied in areas that are in need of greater clarity, transparency and consistency.”
He said the offices “should evaluate benefits and costs in a manner that applies consistent interpretations of key terms and concepts for specific statutes (e.g. ‘practical,’ ‘appropriate,’ ‘reasonable’ and ‘feasible’).”
National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons welcomed the move, saying, “Reforming the way the EPA performs cost-benefit analysis is likely to have a greater positive impact on the future of manufacturing in America than any single EPA regulatory action. This announcement isn’t deregulation; it’s better regulation. Through this new initiative, the EPA will get regulations done right the first time, delivering clarity and transparency for manufacturers.”
Environmental groups, on the other hand, have complained that the current administration has attempted to underestimate benefits and overestimate costs in rulemakings, pointing in particular to its effort to ignore some of the benefits of its Mercury and Air Toxics Standard.
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