Friday, May 1, 2015

EPA's authority to regulate in question

    The Case of Michigan vs. EPA will surely be a landmark case for the environmental movement in the United States. Michigan, representing about 20 other states, is suing the EPA for what they claim is over-stepping the EPA’s authority to regulate a state’s emissions. Under the Clean Air Act the EPA is allowed to set standards for pollutants that a state is allowed to produce. The process of how the States do that is usually up to the states however. The Obama administration is attempting to change that by demanding regulations on coal burning power plants to regulate mercury, arsenic and various other pollutants. This new policy of regulating mercury and arsenic will cost the U.S about $9.6 billion annually for what the opponents of this new rule will only produce about $6 million in direct benefits. The proponents of the bill have very different figures saying that the co-benefits from prevention of 11,000 premature deaths, 4700 nonfatal heart attacks, and 540,000 lost days of work annually will save the country anywhere from $37 billion to $90 billion.
    [Although the benefits clearly exceed the costs, these states are saying that the EPA did not do the cost-benefit analysis at the right time: it should have been done sooner.--JM]
    In my personal opinion I am heavily in favor of this new rule. I think that the benefits from this rule far outweigh the cost of putting air quality regulation in certain power plants. The fact that Michigan and these other states are trying to win this case on a technicality of the EPA's not factoring in the cost to the states at the appropriate stage is a move of desperation in my opinion. However I see that Michigan does have a point with the costs not being assessed at the right stage and while I don’t think it will stop the bill from eventually being put into action I could see it possibly delaying the implementation of the new rule.
--Derek Pittman

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