Monday :: Jun 29, 2015

EPA Must Do Better Staff Work


by Deacon Blues

There are times, rarely, when I do find myself agreeing with the conservatives on the Supreme Court of the United States. Today is one of those days. The media is widely reporting today's 5-4 decision against the Environmental Protection Agency on power plant emissions as a major setback for the Obama administration and the environment. Well, yes and no.

Yes, it's a setback because the five conservatives ruled that the EPA was defective in its regulatory process under the Clean Air Act for not explicitly considering industry costs in complying with the new rule aimed at limiting emissions of mercury and other pollutants from power plants, mainly coal-fired plants. But why isn't the EPA doing a standard cost/benefit analysis with their regulatory rule-making? Yes, the industry faces costs from complying with any new government regulation, and every level of government that I know of is supposed to account for costs in any analysis supporting a proposed regulation. The fact that the EPA didn't think it needed to address the industry's estimated $9.6 billion in compliance costs against the estimated $90 billion annual public health benefit frankly startles me.

The decision is not a setback because the solution is quite simple: re-do the flawed regulatory package for submission to the lower court to explicitly include this cost and benefit analysis, as the conservative majority dictated, and be done with it. End of story, setback mitigated.

As for the EPA, do better staff work next time.

Deacon Blues :: 9:59 AM :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!