You’ve never heard of him, but he’s remaking the pollution fight

You’ve never heard of him, but he’s remaking the pollution fight

The New York Times reports:

This spring the Biden administration proposed or implemented eight major environmental regulations, including the nation’s toughest climate rule, rolling out what experts say are the most ambitious limits on polluting industries by the government in a single season.

Piloting all of that is a man most Americans have never heard of, running an agency that is even less well known.

But Richard Revesz has begun to change the fundamental math that underpins federal regulations designed to protect human health and the environment. And those calculations could affect American life and the economy for years to come.

Mr. Revesz, 65, heads the obscure but powerful White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which is effectively the gatekeeper and final word on all new federal regulations. It has been known as the place where new rules proposed by government agencies, particularly environmental standards, go to die — or at least to be weakened or delayed.

But Mr. Revesz, a climate law expert and former dean of the New York University School of Law, joined the Biden administration in January to flip the script. Each time a major regulatory proposal has landed on his desk, Mr. Revesz has used his authority to strengthen its legal analysis and make it more stringent.

What’s more, he has proposed a new method of calculating the cost of potential regulation that would bolster the legal and economic justifications for those rules to protect them against an expected onslaught of court fights.

With his halo of snowy curls and Spanish lilt — a vestige of his childhood in Argentina — Mr. Revesz is known as “Ricky” to everyone from his law students to his legal opponents. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has called him “a legend.” John Podesta, a senior climate adviser to Mr. Biden who also served in top roles in the Obama and Clinton administrations, considers Mr. Revesz his hero.

Conservatives see Mr. Revesz differently. [Continue reading…]

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