EPA Air Toxics Rule Will Spur Job Growth

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to limit toxic chemical emissions from power plants will create between 28,000 and 158,000 jobs in the next four years, according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Written by Josh Bivens, the study analyzes the impact of the EPA’s toxics proposal on job growth in the power plant industry, as well as its effects on industries such as construction that will develop and install pollution-abatement equipment for the power plants. Bivens finds that in addition to the health and environmental benefits of the proposed rule, “the jobs-impact of the rule will be modest, but it will be positive” (emphasis original)

The proposed toxics rule, which the EPA released in March, would reduce emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants. Specifically, the rule would create more stringent limits on the amounts of mercury, arsenic, acidic gases and other highly toxic pollutants power plants can release into the environment. According to the EPA’s cost-benefit analysis, when the rule is fully implemented in 2016, it will prevent:
  • 6,800 – 17,000 premature deaths
  • 12,200 hospital and emergency room visits
  • 120,000 cases of asthma
  • 850,000 missed days of work
This report comes on the heels of another EPI study, which finds that the benefits of major EPA rules finalized during the Obama administration outweigh the costs by between $32 billion and $142 billion each year.
Despite the clear evidence that this and other EPA proposals will be a “net benefit” for the health and well-being of the American people, congressional Republicans continue their unwarranted attacks on the agency and the entire regulatory system. The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011, a.k.a. the “TRAIN Act,” introduced in the House by Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK), would be a train wreck, singling out the EPA for additional economic scrutiny of regulatory action. This review, which would be on top of reviews already performed by EPA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would delay important health and environmental standards while giving polluters yet another opportunity to kill rules they don’t like.
Similarly, the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act introduced by Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) would require congressional approval of all economically significant regulations. The two bills are designed to stop regulatory progress in its tracks, making agency decisions subject to political whim. Both bills are expected to come to the floor of the House during the summer.

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