Can America Really Be ‘Great Again’ With A Gutted EPA?
by Margo T. Oge (Huffington Post) … Businessmen are always looking for a good return on investment. America’s environmental protections are a steal. The public health benefits of a cleaner environment and a healthier workforce are far greater than the costs of achieving them. By 2020, for example, the benefits of enforcing the 1990 Clean Air Act will likely exceed compliance costs by a factor of 30 to 1. A recent 2013 study by the Office of Management and Budget that examined the cost benefits of EPA regulations over the last decade found that $45 billion in costs drove as much as $640 billion in benefits.
You may not be aware that the US has already acted in a significant way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that saves consumers trillions. A program which is improving fuel efficiency while reducing greenhouse gases also is already on the way to generating as much as $1.7 trillion savings for drivers based on an investment of around $150B by the automotive industry. Consumers have more money in their pockets while the planet is spared four billion tons of additional carbon dioxide.
It doesn’t matter if you are a politician, environmentalist or businessman: This is a win-win.
EPA standards promote innovation
Because EPA protections create markets for new solutions, companies are encouraged to invest in groundbreaking technology from power plants, factories and cars.
Even more impressive: this innovation has made America great. Our country is the world leader in production and consumption of environmental protection technology. In 2008, the environmental technologies and services industry supported 1.7 million jobs and generated $300 billion in revenues. And these jobs are typically high value and well paying – just what your supporters asked for on the campaign trail. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that demand for environmental engineers who already command an annual average $85K, will grow faster than the national average for all occupations between 2014 and 2024, increasing by 12 percent.
Between 2020 and 2025, China, Japan, the United States and Europe will all converge on largely common standards for automobile fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.
The EPA could begin the process of pulling the United States out of this group, but why? To be globally competitive, American automakers will still have to compete with Chinese and German companies, who are making huge investments in electric vehicles.
Between 1970, when President Nixon created the EPA, and 2011, emission of common air pollutants dropped by over a third. How did the economy do over that same time? Very well: US GDP grew 212% and total private sector jobs increased by 88%. Just as the space race fostered a whole generation of innovation, the race to save the environment is doing the same. Part of the reason for this phenomenon is that compliance costs don’t go to the EPA – they go to other private companies that design, build, install and maintain the pollution reducing equipment.
The tired claim that environmental protections hurt the economy is also undercut by the prosperity of California. With the sixth largest economy in the world, the Golden State has the most stringent environmental regulations and the most aggressive climate policies in the whole country – and, in some cases, the world. Yet its GDP has outpaced the country as a whole in recent years, in part because of a boost in green industries. READ MORE and MORE (CNN)