Richard L. Revesz

Richard L. Revesz
New York University | NYU · School of Law

B.S.E., M.S., J.D.

About

140
Publications
40,609
Reads
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2,989
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2014 - present
American Law Institute
Position
  • Managing Director
December 2013 - present
New York University
Position
  • Lawrence King Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus
November 2013 - present
New York University
Position
  • Dean Emeritus
Education
August 1980 - May 1983
Yale Law School
Field of study
  • Law
August 1979 - May 1980
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Field of study
  • Civil Engineering (Water Resources and Environmental Engineering)
August 1975 - May 1979
Princeton University
Field of study
  • Civil Engineering/Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Publications

Publications (140)
Article
Full-text available
This Essay criticizes Professor Richard Epstein's approach to climate change regulation, which he characterizes as one involving taking modest steps at first, observing the results of these steps, and then using the lessons learned to inform the next steps. Epstein's approach depends critically on a particular class of damage function determining h...
Article
Full-text available
The Trump administration was unusually aggressive in using an obscure set of tools to undo the Obama administration’s regulatory legacy: Congressional Review Act disapprovals, requests that courts hold in abeyance pending cases challenging Obama-era regulations, and suspensions of final regulations. These actions could be seen as part of the Trump...
Article
Full-text available
Particulate matter emissions give rise to the environmental problem with the worst public health consequences. Despite a half century of regulatory efforts, they still lead to 85,000 to 200,000 additional deaths each year and produce more than 100,000 heart attacks and almost 9 million cases of exacerbated asthma. These enormously serious adverse h...
Article
Full-text available
Distributional analysis has been a formal part of the regulatory state since 1993, when President Clinton directed agencies to consider the distributional consequences of significant regulations alongside the cost-benefit analysis of these regulations. President Obama reaffirmed and somewhat expanded this commitment. And both Presidents Clinton and...
Article
Full-text available
The social cost of greenhouse gases provides the best available method to quantify and monetize the climate damages attributable to the emission of an incremental unit of heat-trapping pollution. Accordingly, the metric can be highly useful for crafting policies that will reduce the nation's greenhouse gas footprint, with potential usages including...
Chapter
Despite objections from certain constituencies, President Obama placed cost-benefit analysis at the very center of his administration’s governing philosophy. He also pursued an aggressive agenda of new regulatory protections for public health, consumers, and the environment. His time in office demonstrated in powerful terms that cost-benefit analys...
Chapter
The Trump administration has, at every turn, taken actions to reverse the climate progress achieved during the Obama administration, moving to repeal or significantly roll back three significant rules to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from existing power plants, passenger cars and light trucks, and oil and gas installations. To mask the t...
Chapter
One of the defining features of politics in the contemporary United States is the central role played by the actions, or inactions, of federal administrative agencies. The complex nature of many policy problems, coupled with the limited ability of Congress to act, has frequently led to statutes that delegate to specialists the task of translating b...
Chapter
The Trump administration is pushing an argument that is at odds with the scientific consensus, claiming that prevalent air pollutants have thresholds below which they produce no adverse health effects. In doing so, the administration can hide an important portion of the health benefits of regulation. A major focus of this effort is particulate matt...
Chapter
The core of the Trump administration’s regulatory agenda is to focus on the costs of regulations while ignoring, trivializing, and mischaracterizing their benefits. The administration has made significant regulatory efforts to delay or repeal important initiatives of the Obama administration designed to protect public health and the environment. In...
Chapter
Established and well-accepted practices for conducting cost-benefit analysis require the consideration not only of the direct consequences of rules but also of their indirect consequences. Such indirect effects must be considered whether they are negative (indirect costs) or positive (indirect benefits, also referred to as ancillary benefits or co-...
Chapter
The Trump administration has called into question the scientific studies supporting the most significant health benefits of regulations, principally from reductions in air pollution. By seeking to ignore validly conducted and well-respected peer-reviewed studies, the Trump administration is not just placing a light thumb on the scale against regula...
Chapter
The Obama administration was remarkably successful in mitigating intraparty conflict while moving forward with major rulemakings. When challenged in court, many of these rules were upheld, and have proven difficult to reverse, because they were supported by rigorous analysis. Over the course of its eight years, the administration pursued rulemaking...
Chapter
In addition to obscuring the costs of its deregulatory agenda—by ignoring or minimizing the health harms associated with repealing or weakening environmental standards—the Trump administration has used methodological tricks to exaggerate the benefits of its actions. One way it has done this is by characterizing certain transfers between two parties...
Chapter
After the election of Barack Obama, Republican politicians and elites largely adopted a strategy of wholesale opposition to the new president. This included attacking policy tools, such as cost-benefit analysis and the use of market-based mechanisms to control pollution, that had long been core Republican Party orthodoxy. The rise of the Tea Party...
Chapter
Future administration can begin undoing the mistakes of the Trump administration by reinstating prior norms concerning cost-benefit analysis and meaningful regulatory review. Several reforms can go even further and improve the regulatory system. One reform involves rethinking the role of ex-post analysis of regulation, to focus resources on identif...
Chapter
Although the system of guardrails developed over the past several decades to balance the competing demands of competent administration and accountability to the political process was far from perfect, the Trump administration’s many failures demonstrate the value of this system for the American public. The question facing both political parties is...
Article
Full-text available
The Supreme Court has made clear, in the five cases in which it has dealt with this issue, that the major questions doctrine applies only in exceptional cases. In contrast, during its four years in office, the Trump Administration invoked the doctrine routinely in support of its deregulatory assault on the administrative state. In doing so, the Tru...
Book
For decades, administrations of both political parties have used cost-benefit analysis to evaluate and improve federal policy in a variety of areas, including health and the environment. Today, this model is under grave threat. Reviving Rationality explains how Donald Trump has destabilized the decades-long bipartisan consensus that federal agenci...
Article
Full-text available
This Article, written as part of a conference honoring Professor Richard Stewart on his 50 years as a legal academic, focuses on the inconsistent manner in which the Trump Administration has dealt with three of the most important conceptual issues that are central to the design of environmental policy: cost-benefit analysis, federalism, and the tre...
Article
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In Seila Law v. CFPB, the majority of the Supreme Court held that a for-cause removal restriction on a single-headed agency unconstitutionally limits the president’s power. To arrive at this conclusion, the Court relied upon an ex post, static conception of interbranch dynamics. The conception is ex post because it does not ask whether, going forwa...
Article
Full-text available
Greenhouse gases have never been given their rightful place at the regulatory table. Despite the statute’s text and legislative history, anti-regulation groups have consistently argued that the modern Clean Air Act does not apply to these contaminants. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Court held that greenhouse gases are air pollutants for the purposes...
Article
Full-text available
Occasionally during his presidency, Donald Trump has suggested that he cares deeply about clean air and water, even as he expresses deep skepticism about climate change. But the specifics of Trump’s deregulatory approach tell a different story. The Trump administration has undertaken a series of regulatory moves to weaken the analytical foundation...
Article
Full-text available
For the last four decades, benefit-cost analysis has been a mainstay of the U.S. federal regulatory process and, under Executive Orders in effect since 1981, such analysis must generally be used to justify significant federal regulations. While administrations of different parties have occasionally differed on the methodologies used to assess costs...
Article
Full-text available
In 2008 we founded the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law with four overarching goals: to publish scholarship on critical policy issues; to improve government decisionmaking through advocacy; to build the capacity of other organizations to make economic arguments in policy proceedings; and to train and educate futur...
Article
Full-text available
Presidents have long sought to roll back their predecessors’ regulatory policies. They have typically relied on efforts to repeal regulations and to withdraw unpublished or non-final regulations pursuant to “stop-work” orders directed at agency heads. President Trump is no exception. But rather than stick to the typical playbook, he also made aggre...
Article
Full-text available
Advancing energy technology, increasing penetration of distributed energy resources, and climate change concerns are forcing a transformation of the electricity grid. And, this transformation is making the economic inefficiency of the current rate designs increasingly more apparent. Today's typical rate designs not only fail to provide efficient pr...
Article
Full-text available
While Scott Pruitt's aggressive deregulatory agenda while he served as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency got significant attention, many of his actions have been successfully challenged in the courts. This Article argues that these deregulatory efforts have been plagued by five pathologies that contributed to their legal vulnerab...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, critics of the administrative state have been urging Congress to reassert itself and rein in regulatory action that they maintain is both undesirable as a matter of policy and in violation of constitutional principles. This anti-regulatory position is unwarranted. While regulatory agencies have indeed been more active in recent decades, i...
Article
Full-text available
This Article addresses a central battleground of the debate about the future of greenhouse gas regulations: the valuation of particulate matter reductions that accompany reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. The benefits from particulate matter reductions are substantial for climate change rules, accounting for almost one half of the quantified b...
Article
Full-text available
Recent advances in technology and the consequent decline in manufacturing costs are making energy storage systems a central element of energy and climate change policy debates across the nation. Energy storage systems have the potential to provide many benefits such as lower electricity prices at peak demand times, deferred or avoided new capacity...
Article
Full-text available
This Article tackles a question that has vexed the administrative state for the last half century: how to seriously take account of the distributional consequences of regulation. The academic literature has largely accepted the view that distributional concerns should be moved out of the regulatory domain and into Congress’ tax policy portfolio. In...
Article
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This Article sheds light on significant doctrinal and policy issues that are central to the proper understanding of the administrative state. It grapples with a core question of administrative law: when are agencies established with features that insulate them from direct presidential control? Because of its constitutional significance, the legal l...
Article
Full-text available
As distributed energy generation is becoming increasingly common, the debate on how a utility’s customers should be compensated for the excess energy they sell back to the grid is intensifying. And net metering, the practice of compensating for such energy at the retail rate for electricity, is becoming the subject of intense political disagreement...
Article
Full-text available
The viability and desirability of conducting cost-benefit analysis of financial regulation is a subject of intense academic debate. Opponents claim that such analysis is feasible for environmental regulation but not for financial regulation because of the difference in the benefits that require monetization in the respective areas. This Article arg...
Article
Full-text available
Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to determine the stringency of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), arguably the most important federal environmental program, without considering the costs of achieving these standards. Instead, it must rely exclusively on health-related criteria. Th...
Article
Full-text available
Opponents of the Clean Power Plan claim that it is unprecedented because it relies on beyond-the-fenceline measures, uses the availability of such measures to determine the stringency of its emission guidelines rather than just as a compliance technique, shifts energy generation from relatively dirtier sources to relatively cleaner sources, and aut...
Research
FULL TEXT IS AVAILABLE UNDER "ARTICLES." As distributed energy generation is becoming increasingly common, the debate on how a utility's customers should be compensated for the excess energy they sell back to the grid is intensifying. And net metering, the practice of compensating for such energy at the retail rate for electricity, is becoming the...
Research
Full-text available
FULL TEXT IS AVAILABLE UNDER "ARTICLES." The viability and desirability of conducting cost-benefit analysis of financial regulation is a subject of intense academic debate. Opponents claim that such analysis is feasible for environmental regulation but not for financial regulation because of the difference in the benefits that require monetization...
Chapter
The Walter C. Beckjord Generating Station sits on the banks of the Ohio River, less than twenty miles southeast of Cincinnati, in Clermont County, Ohio. Beckjord offers a near-perfect case study of the costs of grandfathering. Construction of the plant was announced in November 1948, and its first 100-megawatt coal unit was operational by June 1952...
Chapter
In the preceding chapters, we’ve focused largely on what is often called “traditional pollution”: soot and smog and their precursors, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. But power plants are also the nation’s largest source of a very different sort of pollutant: carbon dioxide. Unlike traditional pollution, atmospheric CO2 does not pose a threat to...
Chapter
For polluters, America in 1970 was still something of a Wild West. A number of federal, state, and municipal laws aimed at improving air quality were already on the books, but few were enforced, and pollution from the nation’s ever-growing stock of motor vehicles, power plants, and factories remained uncontrolled in much of the country. A passage f...
Chapter
In Chapter 3, we examined how and why Congress decided to shield existing sources from the bulk of the EPA’s performance standards for stationary sources. In Chapter 4, we showed how the duration of this grandfathering was extended by continued controversy over what qualified as a “modification” under the Act. What we haven’t yet explored in depth...
Chapter
To Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, the threat was clear: “Mr. Speaker, there is a war being waged on energy and on coal in this country. But it’s not coming from another country, it is coming from our own government.” Her colleague, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, agreed: “President Obama’s War on Coal means fewer jobs and higher e...
Chapter
This book chronicles almost five decades of efforts by the United States government to reduce the air pollution associated with burning coal, along with the often misleading political rhetoric surrounding those efforts. Given the central role that coal and its environmental consequences will play in our story, it’s helpful at the outset to understa...
Chapter
Imagine a large wooden ship, in service for generations. As its planks decay, they are swapped out for new—but otherwise identical—timbers. Over time, every piece of the ship is replaced in this manner so that eventually not one of its original planks remains. Is it still the same ship? If not, when did it lose its identity? When the first plank wa...
Book
Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, conservative politicians have railed against the President's "War on Coal." As evidence of this supposed siege, they point to a series of rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency that aim to slash air pollution from the nation's power sector . Because coal produces far more pollution than...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Book
This casebook emphasizes environmental policy, as well as the structure and details of the federal environmental statutes. It focuses students’ attention on how tradeoffs between environmental goals and social goals are resolved in different and difficult contexts. The book pays close attention to the political context in which regulation takes pla...
Article
In Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, the Supreme Court largely upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act's Prevention of Significant Deterioration program for new or modified major stationary sources of air pollution. Although the Court rejected the Environmental Protection Agency's...
Article
Full-text available
This Essay makes three principal claims. First, it shows that breakeven analysis is a useful technique for adding structure to cost-benefit analysis when a regulatory benefit has not been quantified. In particular, breakeven analysis can sometimes address the judicial hostility to using nonquantified benefits as trumps. But it is a second-best appr...
Article
Full-text available
This Essay examines and explains the positions of the principal interest groups over the past four decades with respect to the two central questions of environmental policy: the appropriate policy goal and the instrument that should be used to carry out the policy. With respect to the first question, the Essay observes that, at the beginning of the...
Article
Full-text available
This Essay takes as its starting point the idea that U.S. environmental policy should operate in accordance with five major components of rationality. First, cost-benefit analysis provides a tractable means of weighing the tradeoffs involved in setting environmental policy between environmental goals and other social values. Improving environmental...
Article
Full-text available
Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to determine the stringency of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), arguably the most important federal environmental program, without considering the costs of achieving these standards. Instead, it must rely exclusively on health-related criteria. Th...
Chapter
Full-text available
Since the publication of Revesz and Stavins (2007), there have been some significant normative advances in the area of environmental law and economics. For example, the emergence of climate change as the area of central concern for environmental regulation has brought a great deal of attention to the question of how to discount benefits that accrue...
Chapter
Full-text available
INTRODUCTION Centralized review of federal regulations has become a core institution in the contemporary administrative state. Presidents of both political parties have embraced it, with relatively few changes since President Reagan put in place the basic architecture in 1981. Although the institution of centralized review continues to receive crit...
Book
Cost-benefit analysis -- the formal estimating and weighing of the costs and benefits of policy alternatives -- is a standard tool for governments in advanced economies. Through decades of research and innovation, institutions have developed in the United States, European Union, and other developed countries that examine and weigh policy alternativ...
Article
Full-text available
Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to determine the stringency of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), arguably the most important federal environmental program, without considering the costs of achieving these standards. Instead, it must rely exclusively on health-related criteria. Thi...
Article
Full-text available
Volumes have been written - both by courts and commentators - about the so-called independent agencies. These agencies are thought to be distinct from executive branch agencies and constitutionally insulated from presidential influence. Yet few have paused to ask what features make an agency "independent" as opposed to "executive." To answer that q...
Book
This casebook emphasizes environmental policy and the structure and details of the federal environmental statutes. It focuses students’ attention on how tradeoffs between environmental goals and social goals are resolved in different and difficult contexts. The book pays close attention to the political context in which regulation takes place, look...
Article
Full-text available
This Article highlights the role of capture in providing a normative foundation for regulatory review of administrative action, which at the federal level is conducted by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It also establishes a reform agenda to help bring the practic...
Article
Whenever legislators and regulators adopt a regulatory change, they face an important question: how should existing actors be required to respond to the new law? For example, if regulators drastically reduce the level of emissions that new plants are permitted to discharge, they might grandfather existing plants, gradually phasing in the new regula...
Article
Full-text available
In May 2008, we published Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health. In that book, we argued that cost-benefit analysis as a tool of government decisionmaking was “here to stay” and that, to be successful in promoting stronger environmental and public-health regulation, advocacy groups should...
Article
Full-text available
Efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and control climate change implicate a wide range of social, moral, economic, and political issues, none of them simple or clear. But when regulators evaluate the desirability of climate change mitigation through cost-benefit analysis, one factor typically determines whether mitigation is justified: the discount r...
Article
Full-text available
La toma de decisiones constituye una parte esencial de la acción gubernamental. El gobierno tiene la responsabilidad de utilizar los instrumentos a su disposición que le permitan tomar las mejores decisiones posibles. Este artículo sostiene que el análisis costo-beneficio, adecuadamente utilizado, puede mejorar las políticas ambientales y de salud...
Article
This article assesses the various methodologies that have been used to devise equitable approaches in the joint utilization of water resources shared by two or more countries. Noting that no single technique is applicable in all or even most situations, the article first presents a review of the approaches taken in three cases, the basins of the Ur...
Book
That America's natural environment has been degraded and despoiled over the past 25 years is beyond dispute. Nor has there been any shortage of reasons why - short-sighted politicians, a society built on over-consumption, and the dramatic weakening of environmental regulations. In Retaking Rationality, Richard Revesz and Michael Livermore argue con...
Article
Full-text available
The grandfathering of existing sources of pollution is a common feature of the regulatory state. Sources in operation at the time of the enactment of new regulatory requirements are typically exempted from these requirements because of the high cost of retrofitting their operations. Grandfathering regimes give existing sources a significant advanta...
Article
Full-text available
Born out of a Reagan-era desire to minimize regulatory costs, and not fundamentally reconsidered since its inception, the centralized review of agency rulemakings has arguably become the most important institutional feature of the regulatory state. Yet it is a puzzling feature: although centralized review is sometimes justified on the ground it cou...
Article
This chapter provides an economic perspective of environmental law and policy with regard to both normative and positive dimensions. It begins with an examination of the central problem in environmental regulation: the tendency of pollution generators in an unconstrained market economy to externalize some of the costs of their production, leading t...
Article
Full-text available
The primary benefit of many important environmental regulations, as determined by the dollar value assigned by cost-benefit analysis, is the human lives that are saved. Thus, the methodology used to determine the value assigned to the lives that would be saved by an environmental program is central to the determination of whether such a program is...
Article
Full-text available
This chapter provides an economic perspective of environmental law and policy with regard to both normative and positive dimensions. It begins with an examination of the central problem in environmental regulation: the tendency of pollution generators in an unconstrained market economy to externalize some of the costs of their production, leading t...
Article
Full-text available
Risk tradeoff analysis is in the process of transforming the practice of regulation. Its core idea is simple and intuitively appealing: Regulations undertaken to minimize or eliminate certain health risks often have the perverse effect of promoting other risks. A serious analysis of the impact of a regulation should pay attention not only to its pr...
Chapter
In recent years, there has been a steady rise in the use of marketable permits in environmental regulation. They have been employed as tools to control both air and water pollution, and have been implemented on local, regional, and national scales. These trading regimes - based upon a single market in emission permits - do not control the distribut...
Article
Full-text available
This Article challenges the influential claim that primary responsibility for environmental regulation should be assigned to the federal government because public choice pathologies cause systematic underrepresentation of environmental interests at the state level. The Article first disputes the theoretical argument by advocates of federal regulati...
Article
Full-text available
Building on his earlier work, on judicial decisionmaking in the D.C Circuit, Professor Revesz nog, examines whether this court's ideological divisions are affected by, changes in the composition of the political branches: the two chambers of Congress and the Presidency. Thus, he seeks to test empirically the plausibility of positive political theor...
Article
Full-text available
In an essay published in the October 1998 issue of the Virginia Law Review, Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards responds to my article analyzing the role of ideology in the D.C. Circuit's decisions concerning environmental regulation. It is somewhat sobering when one of the Nation's leading federal appellate judges criticizes one's work with great vehemen...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, there has been a steady rise in the use of marketable permits in environmental regulation. They have been employed as tools to control both air and water pollution, and have been implemented on local, regional, and national scales. These trading regimes - based upon a single market in emission permits - do not control the distribut...
Book
This book provides a comparative analysis of environmental regulation in multi-jurisdictional legal and political systems, focusing on the United States, the European Union, and the international community. Each of these systems must deal with environmental interdependencies that cross local borders, in some cases creating regional problems, such a...
Article
Full-text available
This article extends the author's prior work concerning how responsibility over environmental regulation in the United States should be allocated between the federal government and the states. It shows why the structure of the environmental regulation in the European Union is poorly suited for the control of interstate externalities, and exposes th...
Article
Full-text available
This article compares the D.C. Circuit practice of announcing the composition of its panels before the parties have prepared their briefs with that of the remaining federal circuit courts, which announce their panels only after the filing of the briefs. The D.C. Circuit appears to have believed that its practice would reduce the court's adjudicator...
Article
Full-text available
This chapter compares the properties of joint and several liability with those of non-joint liability. It considers three criteria: deterrence, settlement inducing properties and fairness. The analysis is performed for both full and limited solvency. The central conclusion is that neither rule dominates the other. With respect to deterrence, the re...

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