Benefits of StandardsOn December 16, the Environmental Protection Agency will finalize its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Each year it will reduce or prevent hundreds of thousands of illnesses and 17,000 premature deaths. The EPA estimates the standards will cost $11.4 billion to implement, but that the health benefits will range between $59 billion and $140 billion in 2016.
Utility Industry ResponseThe utility industry claims that these standards will increase electricity rates and result in the loss of thousands of jobs. It relies principally upon modeling done by the National Economic Research Associates.
Polluters have been claiming for decades that environmental regulations will result in the loss of jobs and hurt the economy. Decades of studies have shown that these claims are baseless. Eban Goodstein, Professor of Economics at Lewis and Clark College, reports that "the great majority of studies which have examined this issue find that jobs created in environmental and related sectors more than balance jobs lost as a result of higher regulatory costs, leading to small net employment gains economy-wide." An MIT study [pdf] reached the same conclusion.
The utility industry is urging citizens to write their senators and representatives to block the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Citizens concerned about the environment and public health need to make their voices heard. Contact william.kramer (at) sierraclub.org to get background materials so you can write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Write today!