The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently claimed that it is saving millions of lives and making the U.S. trillions of dollars through the Clean Air Act. These claims are false.
JunkScience.com has prepared a response to the agency’s fanciful claims — The EPA’s Clean Air Act: Pretending air pollution is worse than it is. The executive summary is below:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to tighten air quality standards at considerable societal expense under the guise that new standards are necessary to protect public health. Focusing on the EPA’s proposed Clean Air Transport Rule (CATR), this analysis shows that:
- America’s air is already safe to breathe and it is much better than the EPA would have the public believe; and that
- The EPA relies on health studies that exaggerate harm and economic studies that understate regulatory costs in order to maintain the fiction that its ever-more stringent regulations are providing meaningful public health benefits.
Some of this analysis’ notable points include:
- Among the 32 Midwest and Eastern states that would be covered by the CATR, the daily air quality standard for fine particulate matter (i.e., soot) was violated less than one-tenth of a percent of the time (0.096%) in 2009.
- According to the most recent data for ground-level ozone (i.e., smog), the 8-hour ozone standard was violated only 1.3 percent of the time in the 32 CATR states.
- There is no tangible scientific evidence that current air quality standards are not already more than sufficiently protective of public health. Data has been hidden from the public by the agency and by a clique of EPA-funded researchers. The EPA’s scientific research has not been systematic or comprehensive despite the availability of data to the agency. Purported links between exposures to particulate matter and ground-level ozone, and health effects range from the entirely hypothetical to the subclinical (i.e., temporary changes that are physiologically detectable, but not otherwise meaningful).
- EPA’s economic analysis of its air quality rules is utterly fantastic. The EPA claims, for example, that the estimated $7 billion in one-time costs of the CATR may produce economic benefits that equate to as much as $840 billion annually or 5.7 percent of U.S. GDP for 2009. The EPA claims that its implementation of the Clean Air Act produces monetized health benefits amounting to $1.3 trillion annually, or about 9 percent of 2009 U.S. GDP.
- There is no meaningful or independent oversight of the EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act by Congress or the courts.
Congress should amend the Clean Air Act to better manage the current state of U.S. air quality, instead of allowing the EPA to pretend that it is still 1970 and air quality is poor and emissions are unregulated.