The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Thursday that it would repeal a Trump-era rule that controlled how the EPA could conduct benefit-cost analyses (BCAs) before enacting rules related to the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA to monitor and control air emissions that can harm public health.
Under administrator Andrew Wheeler, a longtime critic of environmental regulations, the EPA enacted the benefit-cost rule, or rule 84130, to ensure that BCA information was provided “in a consistent and transparent manner.”
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued executive order 13990, which included a directive to the EPA to reexamine the benefit-cost rule “as soon as possible” to protect America’s “air from harmful pollution.”
Upon review, the EPA found that the former administration did not supply any justification for the increased restrictions on BCAs. Without the rule, the EPA can continue to perform BCAs when necessary that are adequately transparent. According to a statement by the EPA, the rule also “limited the EPA’s ability to rely on the best available science.”
Current administrator Michael Regan commented, “Revoking this unnecessary and misguided rule is proof positive of this Administration’s commitment to science. … We will continue to fix the wrongs of the past and move forward aggressively to deliver on President Biden’s clear commitment to protecting public health and the environment.”
The EPA will accept public comments on the new rule here. The final, post-comment rule will incorporate any necessary responses to public comments.