EPA standards: No benefits -- just costs

Saturday, December 8, 2012
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

An author and commentator says there are "no benefits" to tougher air pollution standards from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The standards, expected later this month, involve small soot, dust and other particulate matter known as PM2.5. According to the EPA, particles vary in size and can be suspended in the air for long periods of time. Exposure can be deadly, with children and adults considered high-risk groups because of their outdoor activities and ages, respectively.

The EPA now wants to ratchet down the Clinton-era EPA standards of 15 micrograms per cubic meter to as few as 12 micrograms per cubic meter.

Milloy, Steve (JunkScience.com)"This is kind of silly, because the national average, first off, is ten," notes author and JunkScience.com publisher Steve Milloy. "So there's really no need, even if there were some places that violate the standard."

Meanwhile, Milloy says the science behind the standards falls apart. As an example, he compares a non-smoker to someone who smokes a half a pack of cigaretts a day for a year.

"They'd have to breathe thousands of years of ambient air to get as much particulate matter as a smoker would in just a year (36.5 million micrograms to 146 million micrograms)," he reports. "So there are no benefits to this rule -- just costs."

Speaking of the costs, the EPA puts that from $2.9 to $69 million per year, while bringing health benefits worth $88 million to $5.9 billion annually.

Still, Milloy says those are merely compliance costs.

"[A cost of] $69 million a year sounds like a lot, but on a national scale for an EPA regulation, it's really not that much," the author asserts. "The real cost is in terms of what the regulations do -- they set air quality levels at levels that states have to turn away industrial opportunities or curb other 'polluting activities,' which means turning away business and turning down tax revenue."

As a result, Milloy concludes that mindlessly ratcheting down these standards means lost opportunity in the tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars.

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