Regulatory Analysis & Support
Since IEc’s inception, our consulting work has focused on regulatory analysis and support. In the past 35 years we have grown and evolved this core service area. First, we have fortified our reputation as one of the premier firms analyzing prospective environmental regulatory strategies, establishing expertise in areas ranging from air and water quality to solid and hazardous waste management. At the same time, we have expanded our expertise to new regulatory realms such as public health, energy, natural resource management, consumer safety, and homeland security.
Regardless of the specific subject area, IEc consultants bring unique proficiency to regulatory analysis projects:
- We offer a comprehensive understanding of evolving federal and state regulatory requirements, giving us the right legal and institutional context for retrospective and prospective analysis of regulations.
- We are versed in the procedural requirements governing particular rulemakings, including peer review, public outreach, management of public comments, and administrative record maintenance.
- IEc’s size and collaborative environment allow us to leverage the technical expertise that resides in all parts of the company, bringing that expertise to bear on regulatory analysis and support. These skills may include resource economics, finance, human health risk analysis, spatial analysis, data management, statistical analysis, and quantitative modeling.
- Finally, IEc’s experience allows us to bring insight and innovation to our regulatory analyses. We can advise clients on traditional strategies that may be effective, but also assess the potential of innovative approaches such as economic incentive mechanisms.
IEc has assisted public sector clients with an array of regulatory impact analyses, ranging from initial, exploratory analyses for emerging policies, to formal regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) associated with major rulemakings. Formal RIAs are performed in a highly structured and demanding analytic environment and must meet review standards of both client agencies as well as the Office of Management and Budget.
A central component of RIAs involves accurately characterizing the response of regulated industries. IEc works closely with clients to align our internal expertise with each rulemaking’s key economic actors. We are expert at coordinating direct communications with trade associations, industry representatives, and academic experts through interviews, surveys, and other outreach. In this way, we ensure that quantitative models of industry responses and compliance costs are accurate and reflect real-life incentives facing decision-makers affected by the regulation.
RIAs also draw on IEc’s benefits analysis expertise. Clients call on IEc to evaluate human health risks associated with environmental and regulatory compliance, and we often monetize those benefits so that they can be fully integrated into decision-making. Likewise, IEc’s proficiency in resource economics allows us to assess a variety of other non-market benefits associated with natural resources, including recreational uses, ecological services, and aesthetic benefits.
Analyses required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) represent a specialized form of regulatory support. Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) typically are required for major federal actions, while other study levels (e.g., Environmental Assessments) accompany smaller-scale rulemakings and projects. In all cases, the studies evaluate a set of regulatory alternatives, comparing their environmental consequences and socioeconomic implications. Actions subject to NEPA review present uniquely challenging analytic and procedural requirements, including extensive public review and outreach.
IEc has developed NEPA analyses for a number of complex, high-profile projects and policies. We help clients throughout the federal government navigate the myriad procedural requirements of NEPA, while also assisting on substantive analytic tasks such as definition of alternatives; characterization of the affected environment and industries; and completion of cumulative effects analyses designed to consider interactions between past, current, and future regulatory actions.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and subsequent amendments require agencies to assess whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Such regulatory flexibility analyses frequently accompany broader impact analyses. They require both detailed knowledge of the RFA requirements as well as proficiency with economic census and regional economic data. IEc has completed numerous regulatory flexibility analyses in support of rulemakings affecting air quality, land use, marine mammal protection, and other regulatory actions.