EPA rejects Trump’s clean air rule over public health and environmental damage

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By Alexandra Jones (Courthouse News)May 14, 2021

Thomas Wolf of Montana Audubon

WASHINGTON (CN) – Abandoning a cost-benefit analysis structure that ignored how Clean Air Act regulations can save lives, the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday touted its intention to “build on the best science available” .

The EPA’s dismissal follows several months of internal reviews ordered by President Joe Biden on his first day in office. In accordance with the ordinance, which instructed officials to review all EPA regulations and policies established by its predecessor, the EPA said on Thursday it would revoke the so-called benefit-cost rule policy in its entirety. of Trump, because it “did not protect public health and the environment.” ”

Released in December, Trump’s rule ordered the agency to count all the economic costs of regulating air pollutants without considering the various fringe benefits that new pollution reduction measures could bring, such as reduced disease. or human deaths caused by pollution or improved quality of life. Cost-benefit calculations generally weigh the projected costs of implementing air quality regulation against the potential benefits to public health.

Trump’s policy has reformulated the calculations of social costs to include “reductions in the welfare of society” among economic factors, defining this term as “the value lost to society of all goods and services that will not be produced and consumed as regulated entities reallocate resources. to comply with the regulations.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan had harsh words for the outgoing policy on Thursday, saying it limited “the EPA’s critical authority under the Clean Air Act to protect the public from pollution harmful atmospheric, among other threats “.

“We will continue to right the wrongs of the past and move forward aggressively to deliver on President Biden’s clear commitment to protect public health and the environment,” Reagan continued.

His agency noted Thursday that the benefit-cost rule “places broad restrictions and requirements on when and how the agency should perform benefit-cost analyzes for the development of the Clean Air Act rules without explaining why these are requirements were necessary “.

The Trump administration has overturned well over 100 environmental policies that conservative groups have deplored as handicaps for industrial companies. The Trump-era benefit-cost rule could have led to further reductions in emission requirements for power plants and other sources of pollution.

Upon its implementation, Trump’s EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler attempted to cover up the rule as a boon for citing a need for public transparency. “The new rule requires that important information about the costs and benefits of important Clean Air Act regulations be made available to the public,” he said.

Public health groups viewed the EPA’s decline on Thursday as a sign the United States is once again prioritizing data and public health. Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, noted in a statement that the Trump era would have “artificially reduced the” value “of cleaning up air pollution.”

“We are very encouraged to see this administration recognize the real value of cleaning up dangerous pollutants that are harmful to health,” said Wimmer.

While the Biden administration plans to issue a final rule on the matter later this year, the EPA’s interim rule will take effect one month after it is published in the Federal Register.


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