Economic Policy Institute Says New Air Pollution Rules Will Benefit the Nation

by Duane Nichols on September 24, 2011

Legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and Rep. David McKinley (WV) would delay any EPA action on a cross-state pollution rule and another measure to reduce toxic air emissions from coal-fired power plants. The measure also would create an interagency panel that would study how EPA proposals would impact competitiveness, energy prices and employment. But, the Economic Policy Institute says, “Fears that these rules together will deter economic progress are unjustified.”  Further, “The dollar value of the benefits of the major rules finalized or proposed by the EPA so far during the Obama administration exceeds the rules’ costs by an exceptionally wide margin.” Also,  “Health benefits in terms of lives saved and illnesses avoided will be enormous.”

EPA has done cost-benefit studies on new environmental rules, and the Economic Policy Institute used those studies to examine the broader impacts of new air pollution measures being considered by the agency. The institute concluded: The combined annual benefits from three major proposed rules examined here exceed their costs by $62 billion to $188 billion a year. The benefit-to-cost ratio ranges from 6-to-1 to 15-to-1. When fully in effect in 2014, the combined costs of the major rules finalized by the EPA would amount to significantly less than 0.1 percent of the economy.

“The regulations finalized and proposed by the EPA are likely to be of tremendous value to the nation, producing a wide range of significant health benefits,” the report said. “Further, the finding that the estimated costs of these regulations amount to only about one-thousandth of the size of the economy, as well as the extended period over which they will take effect, indicate that they would not be a major impediment to economic or job growth in the near-term or in the future.”

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