Environment: President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” is on pause, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in March after more than two dozen states filed suit to stop it. A new report shows why the plan should be scrapped entirely, and the EPA sued for fraud.
By its own admission, the EPA says Clean Power Plan is one of the most sweeping regulations ever enacted. It would require electric companies to cut CO2 emissions 32% within 25 years — basically by shuttering coal plants and force feeding “renewable energy.”
In pushing the Clean Power Plan, the EPA claimed it would cost industry $9 billion a year, but produce up to $54 billion in annual health benefits, including “avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.”
Who could complain about that?
Turns out, the benefits of the Clean Power Plan will be closer to $0, while the costs would be far higher than the EPA claims.
That’s the conclusion in an in-depth report by the Manhattan Institute’s Jonathan Lesser.
Put simply, Lesser says the EPA’s benefit calculations are based on faulty assumptions and statistical legerdemain. He notes, for example, that since the Clean Power Plan will have an infinitesimal impact on global CO2 levels, it can’t have a $20 billion impact on health.
The EPA also claims $34 billion in side benefits because the rules will reduce other pollutants. But Lesser notes that the EPA has been double counting this co-benefits, using them to justify other costly rules, and that there’s likely to be zero improvement in health, given how clean the air is already.
EPA regulations to cut mercury emissions, for example, relied almost entirely on these supposed co-benefits to justify the $9.6 billion price tag. The direct health benefits from the reduction in mercury was negligible.
While the EPA wildly exaggerated the health benefits of the Clean Power Plan, it also made assumptions guaranteed to minimize the actual cost of the rule, Lesser found.
This isn’t the first time the EPA has been charged with fudging the numbers and relying on faulty science to justify massively expensive regulation.
The EPA has long claimed, for example, that cutting smog pollution will sharply reduce asthma attacks, as it is doing with the Clean Power Plan.
But the data show the opposite. As smog levels have plunged across the country, asthma levels have climbed.
The EPA also assumes in all its regulations that there is no safe level for any pollutant, a claim that defies science and common sense. At some point, there’s nothing to gain from squeezing another molecule of pollution out of the air.
Even those who take global warming seriously should insist that the EPA come clean about the real costs and dubious benefits of its regulations.
Source: IBD Editorials