Cleaning The Air And Job Loss: By The Numbers

Posted by | February 25, 2011 02:28 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The first claim from those who oppose cleaning up our environment is that it costs “jobs.”  EPA recently put out a report on the issue and concludes the following:

EPA’s paper contradicts the widespread notion that pollution abatement costs are a huge burden on manufacturing. Citing surveys of manufacturers, the paper reports abatement costs are less than one percent of total manufacturing costs and that these costs consistently represent less than 0.3 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (a measure of the nation’s overall economic activity).

These costs are the costs of all EPA clean air regulations.  While 0.3 of GDP is nothing to sneeze at, keep in mind that these very same regulations have saved and continue to save tens of thousands of lives.  Can we find a few examples of EPA rules that cost jobs and did little to improve public health?  Almost certainly.  But on balance, the regulations issued under the Clean Air Act have been extremely cost effective.  The next time you hear a claim of job loss, ask how many jobs and how many lives saved.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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