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Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Environment


February 17, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Webinar Only


This event is free and open to the public but you must register. Note: there is no in-person availability for this event.

  • Webinar information will be emailed one business day prior to the event. If you are unsure if you can access the webinar via the GoToMeeting platform, please go HERE to view system requirements prior to registering.
  • All times noted are EASTERN Time. The webinar will begin at 12 noon Eastern, 11:00 AM Central, 10:00 AM Mountain, and 9:00 AM Pacific.
  • There is no CLE for this course. Questions? Contact events@eli.org

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An ELI Public Webinar

For decades, administrative agencies in the United States have used cost-benefit analysis to evaluate and improve regulatory decisions. However, recent changes regarding which costs and benefits to account for have become somewhat controversial.

This is aptly seen with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) April 2020 final rule to no longer account for co-benefits. Co-benefits are benefits that are not directly related to the regulatory goal, but nevertheless produce beneficial outcomes. For instance, EPA’s cost-benefit analysis for its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule accounted for reductions in mercury pollution from power plants required by the rule, but also the indirect benefits from reductions in particulate matter that the agency expected from enforcing the rule.

In announcing the new rule on co-benefits, EPA stated that these changes are key to more accurately accounting for a projects’ costs and benefits, while critics argue this change in methodology can artificially tip the scale against regulation by discounting the potential benefits. Thus, critiques contend, a proposed environmental regulation is less likely to be seen as cost-beneficial as not all benefits are accounted for.

In their new book Reviving Rationality: Saving Cost-Benefit Analysis for the Sake of the Environment and Our Health, Michael A. Livermore and Richard L. Revesz examine the use of cost-benefit analysis during the Obama and Trump administrations, exploring the changes in the norms concerning the role of analysis, evidence, and expertise in regulatory decision-making and how future administrations will treat co-benefits. Join the Environmental Law Institute and expert panelists to explore how cost-benefit analysis has changed in recent years, the impact on environmental projects, and what to expect in the future.

Caroline Cocet, Assistant Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, Moderator (invited)
Leif Hockstad, Group Leader, Air Policy Support, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (invited)
Michael A. Livermore, Edward F. Howrey Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
Liz Perera, Director, Climate Policy, Sierra Club (invited)
Richard L. Revesz, Director, American Law Institute; Dean Emeritus, New York University
Katherine M. Shroeder, Associate Attorney, Keleher & McLeod, P.A. (invited)

Any materials will be posted as they are received.
People Places Planet Podcast: Reviving Regulatory Rationality

ELI members will have subsequent access to any materials/a recording of this session (usually posted w/in 48 hours). If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like this one, go HERE to see the many benefits of membership and how to join.