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GAO Criticizes EPA’s Cost-Benefit Analysis of New Power-Plant Rules



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The Government Accounting Office has found that the “most transparent administration” in history isn’t transparent enough on the analysis of new power-plant regulations. From The Hill:

A government report made public Monday finds fault with the Environmental Protection Agency’s analyses of the costs and benefits of its regulations. 

The Government Accountability Office report concluded that information incorporated into the EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIA) was sometimes murky. 

Additionally, the GAO found that the agency did not always monetize the costs and benefits of proposed actions and that the EPA had estimated effects of its regulations on employment by, in part, using a study that is more than two decades old. 

“Without improvements in its estimates, EPA’s RIAs may be limited in their usefulness for helping decision makers and the public understand these important effects,” the GAO concluded. 

And . . .

The EPA’s rules lacked transparency, the GAO found. 

“Specifically, the information EPA included and presented in the RIAs was not always clear,” the report found. “According to OMB guidance, RIAs should communicate information supporting regulatory decisions and enable a third party to understand how the agency arrives at its conclusions.” 
 
EPA officials told GAO researchers that the costs and benefits cannot always be gauged, given the limits of agency resources and available data. 

The report concedes that such estimates are not always possible. 

“However, without doing so, the public may face challenges understanding the trade-offs associated with regulatory alternatives,” the GAO found.

The entire piece here.



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