Michael A. Livermore

Michael A. Livermore is the executive director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law. He is the author, with Richard L. Revesz, of Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environmental and Our Health.

Energy Policy

Just how big are subsidies to fossil-fuel companies? Help us find out

The Institute for Policy Integrity is using crowdsourcing to find out exactly how much companies like Shell and ExxonMobil receive in subsidies and tax breaks.


In State of the Union, Obama should stress that environmental protections don’t kill jobs

President Obama will likely focus heavily on economic growth and job creation. He should also make clear that economic progress need not come at the expense of the environment.

Clean Air

Three cheers for new mercury pollution standards

New mercury pollution standards: something everyone should celebrate.Environmentalists and public health advocates have a reason to stand up and cheer: Finalized rules to cut down on mercury air pollution are set to be announced today by the EPA. But economists can also feel good about this holiday-season gift of clean air: Two decades of agency analysis have found the EPA’s new mercury standards for power plants to be overwhelmingly cost-benefit justified. With annual compliance costs around $11 billion, and health benefits estimated to be up to $140 billion per year, even the most hard-nosed bean counter should be feeling festive. …

Climate Policy

Why is the EPA still an economic scapegoat?

Every time the economy declines, the same anti-EPA rhetoric is trotted out. But a clean environment and a strong economy are not mutually exclusive. A cost-benefit analysis of regulation shows taxpayers coming out on top.

Clean Air

A body of evidence for bodily harm from air pollution

An op-ed writer for the Washington Times demands the EPA "show him the bodies" of victims of power plant emissions. Sadly, that is all too easy to do.

Climate Policy

The EPA goes retro

The EPA's plans for retrospective review of regulations appeal to businesses and include mostly nominal updates.


Wellinghoff hypes IT for electricity

In his vision of an America transitioning away from fossil fuels, Jon Wellinghoff, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, sees information technology as the basis for tremendous financial and employment opportunities. And with the right policies and incentives, this could happen soon. But in our current political reality, it feels like light years away. Speaking on the future of American energy in the United States at Princeton recently, Wellinghoff got into the details of the technologies, many sitting on the shelf today, that could change individuals’ use of electricity and fuel — and would change some of how America does …

Habits making our world uninhabitable

Congress is making ignoring science a habit

In a recent House Energy and Commerce Committee climate hearing, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) jokingly asked if some of his fellow colleagues were going to overturn the law of gravity, “sending us floating about the room.” It seems funny until you realize that it’s in response to a disturbing trend in Congress of misusing, manipulating, or ignoring scientific facts and academic research. As Lisa Jackson, the head of the EPA, put it, if they keep it up, “[p]oliticians overruling scientists on a scientific question would become part of this committee’s legacy.” Just one example: in another Energy and Commerce Committee …

baby steps

New EPA regulations better but not good enough

The regulations will require the installation of scrubbers at plants like this one.Photo: Duke EnergyEPA released revised regulations for industrial and commercial boilers and incinerators this week. Implemented under the Clean Air Act, the move is a step in the right direction for reducing air pollution. But it misses out on opportunities to maximize net economic benefits for the American public.  In this version, revised in the face of significant political backlash, the rules were made less stringent to lower compliance costs. Compared to an earlier draft of the rule, emissions limits for many pollutants are more forgiving, and some …

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