Tuesday, June 28, 2011

White House report to Congress: EPA air standards worth more than any other federal rules

As big polluters continue to bash the EPA, as some Republican presidential candidates call for the agency's elimination, and as President Obama's White House appears to in regulatory retreat as a way of trying to placate the critics,this new report appears to be pretty timely.

It is a report from the White House Office of Management and Budget on the costs and benefits of federal regulations. The OMB bean counters looked back at thousands of rules issued during the past decade.


And guess what they found: EPA air pollution control requirements bring the biggest benefits!

It should be clear that the rules with the highest benefits and the highest costs, by far, come from the Environmental Protection Agency and in particular its Office of Air. More specifically, EPA rules account for 62 to 84 percent of the monetized benefits and 46 to 53 percent of the monetized costs.18 The rules that aim to improve air quality account for 95 to 97 percent of the benefits of EPA rules.

It is important to emphasize that the large estimated benefits of EPA rules are mostly attributable to the reduction in public exposure to a single air pollutant: fine particulate matter. Of its 20 air rules, the rule with the highest estimated benefits is the Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule, with benefits ranging from $19 billion to $167 billion per year. While the benefits of this rule far exceed the costs, the cost estimate for the Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule is also the highest at $7.3 billion per year.

Perhaps others in the White House should read this report and take note.

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