Stephen Stromberg writing for the Washington Post asked: “The GOP can attack what it doesn’t like, but can it govern?” He then goes on to attack Republicans for wanting to do away with many EPA regulations with no concern for the environment. here is some of what he had to say:
Now, Republicans have outlined a jobs agenda that mainly consists of eviscerating federal regulations they don’t like, with a particular focus on rules designed to protect the environment. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) released a memorandum to GOP lawmakers on Monday that targets the ten most “job-destroying” regulations in the federal register. Seven of them are rules the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on track to impose.
But what’s the GOP alternative to EPA restrictions on mercury, acid gases, ozone and greenhouse emissions? Cantor’s memo only talks about delaying and weakening proposed rules, not some different approach to environmental protection. Maybe we just don’t need any more of that?
Mr. Stromberg recognizes that there are indeed cost related to environmental regulations but he says there are also benefits, which he claims Republicans ignore.
There are undoubted costs to environmental regulations. But there are also large benefits. Cantor’s document just doesn’t mention any. A recent Office of Management and Budget review found that existing EPA regulations, particularly those dealing with the air, are among the costliest to comply with — but also among the most valuable, with benefits often vastly exceeding costs, dollar for dollar. In fact, part of the reason the price of environmental regulation is known is that EPA must run rigorous cost-benefit analyses on its rules before finalizing them. That’s how it reckons that every dollar spent on some of the measures Cantor is targeting — those cutting cross-state particulate and ozone pollution — will result in $30 in economic benefits from employees taking fewer sick days, a lower incidence of many chronic illnesses, and fewer early deaths. And let’s not even get into climate change. (emphasis added)
The words I put in bold _ rigorous cost-benefit analyses _ are the crux of the problem. Few people, outside of rabid environmentalist, give any credence to the EPA’s cost benefit analyses. Do any of you really believe that $30 in benefits for every dollar spent story?
There is good reason to be dubious about the EPA’s costs/benefits analysis. We know that environmentalism is a religion for some people. We know that Marxist have a great deal of influence in most environmental groups. We know that the government and the EPA in particular are over run with people who believe that humanity is a cancer on the Mother Earth.
The EPA has a web page dedicated to the Clean Air Act. Here is the opening sentence:
EPA projects that the Clean Air Act Amendments will prevent over 230,000 early deaths in 2020. Learn more about the Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act.
There is no way to prove that 230,000 people won’t die prematurely in the year 2020 due the benefits of the Clean Air Act. These estimates are based on models put together by people who have an agenda. Even if that figure could be proven, a proper question to raise is which regulations had the most benefit? There is something called “The Law fo Diminishing Returns” and this explanation comes from Wikipedia:
The law of diminishing returns (also law of diminishing marginal returns or law of increasing relative cost) states that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant, will at some point yield lower per-unit returns. The law of diminishing returns does not imply that adding more of a factor will decrease the total production, a condition known as negative returns, though in fact this is common.
Let me give you a real life example. My first job as an engineer fresh out of school was with a large copper mining, processing and smelting company in Southwest New Mexico in 1969. The EPA’s clean air regulations for sulphur dioxide emissions were fairly new. The company, which had been operating at this site since the early 1930’s was in the process of building a multi-million dollar facility to remove 90% of the SO2 from their stack gases.
There was a small town of about 600 people very close to this complex, which at one time had been a company owned town. Whenever there was an atmospheric inversion in the area, the stack gases fell on this little town and I can tell you it wasn’t pleasant. When the project was completed, there was a very noticeable improvement in the quality of life in this town.
Removing the SO2 resulted in a new problem for the company. The removed SO2 was now in the form of liquid sulphuric acid which had to be stored and hopefully sold. The sulphuric acid market was soon saturated. In the 12 years I worked for this company, I can only remember a handful of quarters when the sulphuric acid department reported a profit.
I think it was three years after the completion of this project that the EPA came out with new air quality standards for SO2 emissions. The company was then requires to remove 90% of the remaining emissions. This cost the company ten times more than removing the first 90%. No one in the little town could note any difference. That, my friends is a case of diminishing returns.
So, where am I going with this. Here is the final paragraph of the Washington Post article.
If Republicans block putting a price on carbon emissions or other pollutants, and if they criticize federal money spent on things such as clean energy research, they leave anyone concerned with global warming or ambient air and water quality with few choices but to press for robust executive-branch regulation already allowed under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. It might not be pretty, and it might not be cheap. But it’s almost certainly better than doing little or nothing, which seems to be the GOP’s plan.
Republicans know the over regulation is killing the productive sector of our economy. and with it jobs. You can see that the Democrats and the media are preparing to attack the Republican proposals by crying that those will proposals will allow the greedy corporations to poison our air and water and kill American citizens. The Republicans are going to be in the unenviable position of having to prove a negative.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?