On Friday September 23, the US House is expected to bring to the floor the TRAIN Act – one of the most extreme anti-environmental bills in memory. The measure, known as the “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act,” or “TRAIN Act (H.R. 2401),” is set for a final vote.
The TRAIN Act would mandate new interagency economic studies of EPA rules. The bill would delay a recently finalized rule to cut interstate power plant emissions that worsen ozone and particulate pollution, and an upcoming rule to cut mercury and other air toxics from power plants. Twenty seven east coast states, would be affected by the Cross-State Air Pollution rule; the mercury rule would affect many industries across the country.
A key Republican is floating an amendment that would mandate longer minimum delays to the power plant rules than the underlying bill requires.
Not surprisingly, the American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce support the Act. “The TRAIN Act would put the brakes on several of EPA’s most damaging regulations until a full study of their cumulative impact is done — one that includes not only health and social benefits but actual impact on economic competitiveness, trade, energy supplies, consumer spending and jobs,” the chamber said in a letter.
Planet hating Republicans and even some moderate Democrats say EPA regulations will impose massive burdens on the economy and cost thousands of jobs.
However, these statements are contradicted by an EPA report released in March finding that between 1990 and 2020, the benefits of Clean Air Act rules will outweigh the costs by a factor of 30 to 1.
The EPA estimates that Clean Air Act rules — particularly for particle pollution — will prevent 230,000 premature deaths by 2020. The EPA analysis also takes into account medical expenses averted, including an estimated 120,000 hospital visits.
“The beneficial economic effects of these two improvements alone are projected to more than offset the expenditures for pollution control,” it concludes.
These clean air rules are life-savers for Americans suffering from heart disease, asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases. Although detractors argue that clean air is simply too expensive, the facts suggest otherwise.
Top 10 utilities combined profits in 2010 – $28.4 billion.
Return on investments for the smog rule that the President delayed – $37 billion in value for a cost of about $20 billion by 2020.
Costs associated with implementing current Clean Air Act standards in 2010 – $1.3 trillion in public and environmental health benefit at a cost of $50 billion.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, that’s more than 9% of the GDP at a cost of .4% of the GDP – a 26 to1 benefits to costs ratio.
In addition to saving lives, clean air is cost effective.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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