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Environmental Cost Determination: Improving and Modernizing Cost-Benefit Analysis in Rulemaking Process

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will focus on key issues associated with the cost-benefit analysis used to evaluate environmental regulations during the rulemaking process.


The development and implementation of environmental regulations inevitably imposes economic costs that must be considered, with or without formal cost-benefit techniques. A cost-benefit analysis, whether formal or informal, does for government what the market does for business: it compares the benefits of a public policy to the costs of that policy. The two sides of the ledger, however, raise different issues.

In theory, the cost side of cost-benefit analysis should be relatively straightforward, since it typically involves valuing the cost of the additional control measures required, which can often be easily reduced to a monetary value. However, in practice, valuing costs can be difficult, particularly where the policy in question allows some flexibility in the measures used to comply or whether the policy requires new techniques not widely used before.

The next step in the analysis can be even more challenging: monetizing the benefits achieved by the regulation. Since there are no natural "prices" for a healthy environment, cost-benefit analysis requires the creation of artificial ones that depend on a wide variety of assumptions about the value of certain human health and environmental outcomes.

Finally, the costs and benefits of a policy frequently occur at different times and at a different scope. Often, costs are incurred today or in the near future to prevent harm in the more distant future. When the analysis spans several years, future costs and benefits are discounted or treated as equivalent to money in today's dollars, requiring an assumption about the time value of money that raises questions about what interest rate is most appropriate to use. In addition, the scope of costs is typically easy to define, based on the activities subject to the regulation, whereas the scope of the benefits may be more difficult to delineate, as benefits may accrue locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally.

Listen as our expert panel discusses the state of cost-benefit determinations in environmental regulations and how the current administration's policies may affect the analysis of these decisions.



  1. Cost-benefit determinations and analysis
    1. Cost projections
    2. Benefit analysis
    3. Impact of time and scope
  2. Alternative evaluations
  3. Biden administration policies


The panel will address these and other topics:

  • What are the key issues that typically arise in cost-benefit evaluations of environmental regulations, and what are the legal implications of those issues?
  • What are some examples of how cost-benefit analyses have had a direct impact on environmental policy?
  • What is the current policy by the Biden administration in evaluating the costs and benefits of environmental regulations?
  • How can the costs and benefits of regulation be monetized?
  • How does time and scope affect evaluations of costs and benefits?
  • What are alternative methods to assigning prices or costs associated with environmental regulations?


Leopold, Matthew
Matthew Z. Leopold

Hunton Andrews Kurth

Mr. Leopold advises and defends clients across industries with the strategic insights as former General Counsel for the...  |  Read More

McGuffey, Mack
Mack McGuffey

Troutman Pepper

Mr. McGuffey specializes in the Clean Air Act and helps clients obtain necessary permits, solve compliance challenges,...  |  Read More

Sahay, Shailesh
Shailesh Sahay

Foley Hoag

Mr. Sahay is one of the leading energy and environmental attorneys in the nation. He served for over six years as...  |  Read More

Stifter, Ryan
Ryan Stifter, M.S.

Principal, Economic & Complex Analytics

Mr. Stifter leads quantitative economic research and analysis into issues arising in litigation, insurance claims,...  |  Read More

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