Published on January 2nd, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan0
Last-Minute Order Delays Air Pollution Cuts that Would Save 34,000 Lives/Year
On Friday, December 30, a U.S. District Court of Appeals made a last-minute decision delaying an important air pollution rule that was supposed to take effect yesterday, January 1.
Susan and others here on CleanTechnica have written about the rule, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), in depth a few times (see: EPA Sets New Air Pollution Standards for Coal-Fired Power Plants & Obama Wins Cap and Trade War to Cut Ozone Pollution & Obama’s EPA Cues $130 Billion Race to Cut Pollution by 2015.) But, basically, the rule is expected to “save up to 34,000 lives, prevent 15,000 heart attacks and prevent 400,000 asthma attacks each year, providing $120 billion to $280 billion in annual health benefits for the nation,” as Reuters reports.
Any costs in upgrading coal power plants or shutting plants down are supposed to be more than made up for in the health benefits. Some electric company CEOs have gone out of their way to counter opponents of the rule by writing that the overall benefits to U.S. citizens outweigh the costs and that such regulations create jobs (something we sorely need right now).
Nonetheless, some top polluters are concerned about their profits more than the country’s well-being. And the appeals court that received their challenge decided, at the very last minute, that it was strong enough to grant an order delaying implementation of the clean air regulation. Unfortunately, this means more health problems for countless U.S. citizens.
“The pollution reductions at stake are some of the single most important clean air protections for children, families and communities across the eastern half of the United States,” said Vickie Patton, general counsel for Environmental Defense Fund. Again, these are some of the figures on lives saved and serious health problems averted from implementation of the rule:
- 34,000 lives saved each year
- 15,000 heart attacks prevented each year
- 400,000 asthma attacks prevented each year
- $120 billion to $280 billion in annual health savings for the nation
Looks like those savings will have to wait.
Boy about to use asthma inhaler via shutterstock