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Published on November 23rd, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Benefits of EPA Regulations Far Outweigh Costs, Industry Lies

November 23rd, 2010 by  

EPA building in D.C.

We hear all the time that new environmental regulations will cause considerable job losses. This is a straight lie. We hear all the time that we can only protect the environment at the expense of the economy. This is a straight lie.

A recent article by Ruth Greenspan Bell, a Senior Fellow in the Climate & Energy Program at the World Resources Institute (WRI) who was an EPA lawyer for 17 years before that, covers a number of macro-scale and micro-scale studies on this matter and shows us why we need to be more careful regarding the environmental regulation cost-benefit assumptions we make.

Here are some of the key findings Bell discusses:

  • Research extensively shows that the economic, public health and jobs-related benefits of environmental regulations far outweigh their costs.
  • Initial regulation cost estimates are often greatly exaggerated by industry studies.
  • Initial regulation cost estimates are even exaggerated by the EPA most of the time (meaning the costs end up being lower in reality).
  • The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently reported in its thirteenth annual Report to Congress that “estimated annual benefits of major Federal regulations reviewed by OMB from October 1, 1999, to September 30, 2009, for which agencies estimated and monetized both benefits and costs, are in the aggregate between $128 billion and $616 billion, while the estimated annual costs are in the aggregate between $43 billion and $55 billion.”
  • Furthermore, this report found that the estimated annual costs of clean air and water regulations range from $26 to $29 billion whereas their benefits range from $82 to $533 billion (quite a difference).

Bell gets into much more detail on why industry and EPA cost estimates are routinely too high, some micro-scale case studies showing the same findings, and why environmental regulation is not a job killer. Check out the full piece on the World Resources Institute website: For EPA Regulations, Cost Predictions Are Overstated.

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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