B6: Costs, Benefits, and Deaths: Changes to Science-Based Standard-Setting at EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mission of protecting human health and the environment is best served by using legitimate science to inform its policy decisions. A series of recent federal policy actions have challenged long-standing guidance and scientific approaches to calculating costs and benefits of regulations and treatment of scientific evidence in agency decision-making. The implications of these actions on the EPA’s approach to protecting public health and the environment are profound and have the potential to reverberate long into the future.

In this session, we will review these regulatory changes, examine their implications for future rulemakings, and propose a path forward for ensuring a robust role for science-based decision-making at EPA. In particular, panelists will discuss the significance of the changes to cost-benefit analysis and implications for our nation’s ability to protect public health and the environment. Recent proposals to restrict the use of science in the rulemaking process, curtail the social cost of carbon, and discount the scientific evidence connecting air pollution and premature death will also be covered. The conversation will then explore current actions working against these changes, as well as additional actions that can be implemented to ensure a robust role for science and evidence in future EPA decision-making processes.


  • Julie McNamara, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Gretchen Goldman, Research Director, Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Dallas Burtraw, Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
  • Richard Revesz, Director, Institute for Policy Integrity, New York University School of Law
  • Maureen Cropper, Distinguished University Professor of Economics, University of Maryland; Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future