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News Releases from HeadquartersAir and Radiation (OAR)

EPA Proposes Honest Accounting Standard to Improve Future Clean Air Act Rules

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WASHINGTON (June 4, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposal to improve the rulemaking process under the Clean Air Act by establishing requirements to ensure consistent, high-quality analyses of benefits and costs are provided to the public for significant rules. This proposal, when finalized, will codify best practices for benefit-cost analysis in rulemaking, and provide clarity for states, local communities and industry regarding EPA’s rulemaking considerations.

“Thanks to President Trump’s leadership on fixing broken regulatory mechanisms, today’s proposed action corrects another dishonest accounting method the previous administration used to justify costly, ineffective regulations,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This is the one of many actions this administration has taken that will improve the transparency and consistency of EPA’s cost-benefit analyses.”

As a part of a larger effort of regulatory reform under the Trump Administration, EPA has taken a close look at how to improve the assessment of benefits and costs that underpin regulatory decision-making. Many EPA statutes, including the Clean Air Act, contain language on the consideration of benefits and costs, but there are no regulations that ensure that the public is provided an analysis of the benefits and costs in a consistent manner across offices. This proposal focuses on providing more consistent and transparent application of benefit cost analyses under the Clean Air Act.

Today’s proposal, when finalized, will help ensure that Clean Air Act rules are analyzed consistently, transparently, and appropriately, and will provide the public with a better understanding of how EPA is evaluating benefits and costs when developing regulatory actions.

EPA will accept comments on the proposal for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register


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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