Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Clean Air Watch hails landmark EPA report on Clean Air Act costs and benefits

As you may know, the US EPA today released a landmark report on the costs and benefits of the Clean Air Act.


A fact sheet and summary are attached.

We have long been tracking the progress of this report, which has been reviewed by a federal science advisory panel of outside experts.

In this cynical era of government-bashing, it is stunning to see just how well a government program can work.

This is not only a ringing endorsement of the Clean Air Act, but can be read as a stinging rebuke to those on Capitol Hill who would tamper with it.

This is the most thoughtful and comprehensive study ever done about the Clean Air Act’s costs and staggering benefits. It is a benchmark against which all attacks on the law should be measured. Indeed, it shows that the Clean Air Act promotes better health and a better economy.

The report underscores that the Clean Air Act is the gold standard of federal environmental law – and that the law’s detractors are offering up fool’s gold.

For example, The House of Representatives in its recent “continuing resolution” included an amendment that would block EPA standards for toxic mercury emissions from cement plants. Similarly, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), the former coal-hauling railroad lobbyist and coal-industry advocate who heads the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, earlier this year promised a full review of the law. "We have to look at the Clean Air Act itself, and get down into it," he said. In another interview, Whitfield said: “The whole issue is not just jobs and the economy but how competitive we are in the global marketplace. This is a much broader issue than the health of the American people and lungs and emphysema; it’s how can we balance that in the global marketplace for jobs.” http://www.nationaljournal.com/member/daily/whitfield-wants-a-long-hard-look-at-clean-air-act-20110118?print=true)

Whitfield is holding a hearing this afternoon on EPA greenhouse gas controls. Consistent with his parochial bias, Whitfield will have the coal industry testify ahead of the EPA. http://energycommerce.house.gov/news/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=8276

Without noting explicitly, the study also points to the risk of radical budget cuts for EPA as well as attempts to slash state budgets. If too many people are laid off, who is going to enforce the law?

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