Mercury Falling

Posted by | December 22, 2011 16:13 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Yesterday the EPA announced new standards for mercury emissions.  David Roberts notes, this is a big deal.

Controlling mercury and toxics will be an advance on par with getting lead out of gasoline. It will save save tens of thousands of lives every year and prevent birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. It will make America a more decent, just, and humane place to live.

The Obama administration is already anticipating the blowback from the right.

To be sure, in the weeks and months to come, there will be some in Congress that will try to prevent these important standards from being implemented. Some will argue that these standards will negatively impact electric reliability across America, even though an independent analysis from the Department of Energy shows clearly that is not the case. Others will claim that there is not enough time to comply with these standards, despite the fact that these rules have been in the works for 20 years. Finally, some will say this step is too costly and we should opt for even more delay, despite the fact that for every one dollar we spend to reduce pollution under these standards, American families will see up to $9 dollars in health benefits.

At least there won’t be criticism from the Conference of Catholic Bishops who praised the rule.  I just hope environmentalists remember this “big deal” the next time they decide to criticize a decision that doesn’t go their way.

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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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