media and advocacy

Don’t be afraid of bot-generated comments

Everyone from the New York State Attorney General to John Oliver have raised the alarm about automated comments gumming up the regulatory system. Here are some reasons to be optimistic that bots could actually facilitate meaningful participation and improve the regulatory process. [click here for full piece]


Opinion piece in The Regulatory Review urges both parties to reject the Trump “anticanon of regulatory mismanagement.”

After the Trump administration’s break with four decades of bipartisan consensus over the role of cost-benefit analysis in regulatory decision making, President Biden’s Day One memorandum Modernizing Regulatory Review represents “an almost radical return to normalcy after four years of recklessness.” [click here for full piece]


France kicks data scientists out of its courts

 A new law in France makes it illegal to engage in what is often called “judicial analytics,” which is (roughly) the use of statistics and machine learning to understand or predict judicial behavior.  [click here for full article]


Livermore testifies at U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing
“Undermining Mercury Protections: EPA Endangers Human Health and the Environment,” held on Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The agency is more interested in providing cover for its decision than in truly understanding the consequences of its actions.  

Michael Livermore, testimony on Trump EPA proposal

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) was one of the signature environmental achievements of the Obama administration. The rule, which controlled air pollution from power plants, was projected to save the lives of many thousands of Americans who otherwise would have died. In its effort to undermine this rule, the Trump administration distorted the original cost-benefit analysis by ignore these life saving benefits. Livermore testified on this proposal before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. [click here for the full written testimony]


David Roberts highlights research by Livermore and Howard on the importance of immediate action on climate change

Greta Thunberg is right: It’s time to haul ass on climate change
Economically and politically, early ambition is better.
By David Roberts
Oct 4, 2019, 1:47pm EDT

When Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed the elites assembled at the World Economic Forum in Davos, she concluded with a simple message: “I want you to act as if our house is on fire.” [click here for full article]

“Humankind is wasting a short window of opportunity to address climate change,” Howard and Livermore warn, “one that may soon shut as climate damages incapacitate effective political action.”


Pelican affected by oil spill. Photo by the Louisiana Governor’s Office

When governments decide to lease public lands for the extraction valuable non-resources, they do so under conditions of great uncertainty. This combination of irreversibly and uncertainty gives rise to “option value,” which is the information value of delay.

Patience is an Economic Virtue explains why the U.S. government is under a statutory obligation to consider option value when balancing the costs and benefits of issuing offshore oil drilling leases.

This issue was raised in a challenge by the environmental group Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE) to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s 5-year 2012-2017 leasing program. Livermore argued the case for CSE before the D.C. Circuit in September 2014. Although the court ultimately found in CSE v. Jewell that the Bureau’s quantitative analysis was sufficient, it also held that option value was an essential component of properly conducted economic analysis of leasing decisions. While the case was being decided, the Bureau developed its 2017-2022 leasing program, which devoted considerably more attention to analyzing option value.