by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Trump administration will overhaul how it analyzes the costs and benefits of environmental regulations, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memo.
“With these improvements, the EPA is taking another step to provide the public with a more open federal government and more effective environmental and public health protection,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote to agency officials in a memo released Tuesday.
In the memo, Wheeler asked EPA assistant administrators to ensure they take costs and benefits into consideration when issuing rules, consistently interpret federal laws, provide more transparency in regulatory decisions and use “best practices” when conducting technical analysis for new rules.
Wheeler pointed out public comments claiming the “agency underestimated costs, overestimated benefits or evaluated benefits and costs inconsistently,” and he said officials will aim for “greater clarity, transparency and consistency” in future rulemakings.
The memo also directs EPA officials to consistently use key regulatory terms — like “appropriate,” “feasible,” “practical” and “reasonable” — that form the backbone requirements on pollution control equipment.
Conservatives long critical of how EPA analyzes the costs and benefits of sweeping environmental regulations celebrated Wheeler’s move.