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EPA Finalizes Benefit-Cost Analyses Procedures to Increase Consistency, Honest Accounting in Future Clean Air Act Rulemakings

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WASHINGTON (December 9, 2020) — Today, at a virtual event with the Heritage Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the finalization of a rule to improve the rulemaking process under the Clean Air Act by establishing requirements to ensure that high-quality analyses of benefits and costs are developed for all significant Clean Air Act rules, and considered to the extent allowed by law. This rule will help ensure that Clean Air Act rules are analyzed consistently, transparently, and appropriately. It also outlines best-practice procedures for assessing benefits and costs when developing regulatory actions.

“Today’s action ensures that EPA is consistent in evaluating costs and benefits when developing broad-reaching policies that affect the American public,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, we are ensuring that future rulemakings under the Clean Air Act are transparent, fair, and consistent with EPA governing statutes, the American public deserves to know the benefits and costs of federal regulations.”

This procedural rule will provide clarity for states, local communities, industry, and other stakeholders regarding EPA’s rulemaking considerations.

As a part of a larger effort of regulatory reform under the Trump Administration, EPA has taken a close look at how to improve assessments of benefits and costs that accompany regulatory actions. Many EPA statutes, including the Clean Air Act, contain language regarding cost consideration, but there are no regulations that ensure that EPA conducts an analysis of the benefits and costs in a consistent manner. This rule provides more consistent and transparent procedures to provide benefit cost analyses for significant rules promulgated under Clean Air Act.


In 2018, EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit public input on whether and how to change the way it considers benefits and costs in making regulatory decisions. 

In response to comment received, in May 2019, Administrator Wheeler sent a memo directing agency leadership to develop rules for notice and comment that outline how benefit-cost considerations will be applied to future rulemakings in a more consistent and transparent manner.

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