"The Obama administration on Thursday proposed tougher standards for reducing smog in a move it said would save lives and reduce respiratory illness, but businesses said the change would inflict new costs on employers and consumers in a weak economy."Here is what the new policy will do:
"Under the proposal, the EPA would set the acceptable ozone level in the air between 0.06 and 0.07 parts per million, stricter than the current 0.075 ppm."What are the costs?
"The EPA estimated that the costs of complying with the new standards could range between $19 billion and $90 billion annually, depending on the final standard. Much of the cost will be in the form of new technologies."What are the benefits?
"EPA officials and public-health groups claim the new standards would mean fewer visits to the emergency room for children with asthma, and longer lives for people with chronic lung disease -- saving the U.S. $13 billion to $100 billion annually."So the cost could be as high as $90 billion while the benefits could be as low as $13 billion. There is such a huge range as to what might happen with the costs and benefits. That makes it hard to know if it is a good idea.
A couple of years ago I posted the following:
"Last week in the San Antonio Express-News, Michael E. Kraft, professor of environmental sciences at the Unviersity of Wisconsin-Green Bay, said that "in writing the Clean Air Act, Congress explicitly instructed the agency (EPA) to base its decisions on public health and not economic costs.""So if we don't base anything on cost, how do we know if the policy is a good idea?