Cost-benefit analysis overhaul at EPA in response to Trump executive order

Offices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are formulating rules to clarify how they weigh the costs and benefits of potential regulations. These rules follow a May 13, 2019, memo from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler saying that cost-benefit analyses have varied across the agency in the past and that new rules will promote more transparent and consistent processes.
Wheeler’s memo says that the EPA is standardizing its cost-benefit analysis practices in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13777, which directed agencies to find regulations that impose higher costs than benefits. The memo lists the following guidelines for the new cost-benefit analysis rules:
• The EPA should measure and consider costs and benefits when making decisions
• The EPA should have consistent interpretations of terms like “practical,” “appropriate,” “reasonable,” and “feasible”
• The EPA should explain which factors go into regulatory analyses and how they are used to shape the outcome of regulations
• The EPA analyses should follow best practices and sound economic and scientific principles

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Jace Lington

Jace Lington is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at