Category Archives: Administration

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Cost-Benefit Analyses: Focus of the Next Wave of APA Litigation

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. An engineer, a mathematician, and an economist find themselves stuck in a 30-foot-deep ditch.  Two of them start working away furiously—the engineer is scratching out plans to alter the slope of the ditch to allow them to climb to safety, and the mathematician is calculating the items of … Continue Reading

Writing an EIS Like a College Application

Ask most parents with children who have recently gone through the college application process to identify the most frustrating part of the entire enterprise, and they will likely say helping their kids with the essays and short answers.  On certain applications my two children completed, responses to questions like: “Tell us what makes you different … Continue Reading

Administration’s New Streamlining Executive Order – Does It Move the Needle?

The release of the administration’s latest Executive Order on permit and NEPA streamlining has been overshadowed by recent events.  Whatever positive momentum the EO could have created for the long-overdue focus on infrastructure was undeniably quickly lost.  However, it is still a worthwhile exercise to review any opportunities for progress that may be reflected in … Continue Reading

When Regulatory Policy Sounds Like an Ad

Ask anyone in my family, and they’ll tell you to hide my cellphone when I’m watching late-night TV.  I absolutely love advertisements for products promising better this or faster that, and with unbelievably low prices in three convenient payments to boot.  As a result of my purchases, I have enjoyed juicier chicken, fresher vegetables, and … Continue Reading

Now THAT’S Streamlining!

It is a welcome day when headlines focused on infrastructure make the front page.  Of course, they provide inspiration for the blog.  They also take my attention off, well, everything else. Today’s headline was certainly an eye-catcher:  “Elon Musk says he has ‘verbal’ government approval for hyperloop.”  Anyone spellbound by the possibility of the hyperloop … Continue Reading

DC Circuit Vacates Stay of Clean Air Act Methane Rule – a Canary in EPA’s Regulatory Reform Coal Mine?

Immediate reaction to the D.C. Circuit’s July 3 ruling in Clean Air Council v. Pruitt spanned the predictable political divide.  The decision was either a major rebuke of the administration’s efforts to rethink a number of environmental regulations, or it merely represented a case-specific blip on the policy radar screen.  A close reading of the … Continue Reading

Waters of the United States: The Struggle to “Repeal and Replace” Isn’t Limited to Healthcare

The USEPA and Army Corps of Engineers finally announced what has been expected since Inauguration Day – the repeal of the 2015 “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.  Not unlike the more prominent political battle raging over the Affordable Care Act, the administration now faces the stern challenge of replacing the controversial rule.  Many … Continue Reading

We’ll Always Have Paris

Certainly nothing in President Trump’s Rose Garden announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement resembled that bittersweet moment between Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca.  Despite the momentous decision, however, it remains likely that the citizens of this country and around the world “will always have Paris.” This is not some … Continue Reading

When Does $1,000,000,000,000 ≠ $1,000,000,000,000?

The long-anticipated Trump infrastructure plan is almost ready, but the preview of that plan as reflected in the administration’s proposed FY 2018 budget has already prompted strong reactions.  Two things are clear: the promised $1 trillion dollar investment in infrastructure may be illusory, at best, and the plan’s outline represents a fundamental shift in the … Continue Reading

Buy American/Hire American Policies Previewed in Latest Executive Order

  When clients ask about “Buy American” restrictions, which apply to direct purchases by the federal government, they don’t always realize that they are referring to a shifting body of legislation that has been around for more than 80 years, since the Buy American Act of 1933 was passed. Since then, Buy American legislation has grown … Continue Reading

Regulatory Reform: Be Careful What You Wish For

A constant refrain from clients over the years, in both the public and private sectors, is that certainty may be the most valuable characteristic of any regulatory program.  The “Waters of the United States” controversy perfectly illustrates this perspective.  One could argue whether the Army Corps of Engineers’ reach over jurisdictional waters governed by Section … Continue Reading

Poof! Administration Makes CEQ Greenhouse Gas NEPA Guidance Disappear. Or Did It?

The duo of Penn & Teller is one of my favorite acts. I appreciate not only their irreverent sense of humor, but their unabashed respect for their audiences.  Their tricks are designed to amaze, but they just as quickly reveal exactly how they performed the illusion.  Somehow, knowing how their magic works in no way … Continue Reading

Hidden Behind the President’s Proposed EPA Cuts, an Infrastructure Silver Lining

As expected, President Trump’s recently released “skinny budget” proposes deep cuts to EPA’s 2018 fiscal year funding. The outline calls for Congress to slash $2.4 billion from EPA’s existing budget, reducing the agency’s funding from $8.1 billion to $5.7 billion.  This 31 percent budget reduction would force the agency to axe over 50 programs and … Continue Reading
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