Sunday, August 14, 2011

Time to Reign in the EPA

So says my friend and colleague Tracy Miller in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. As he notes,
Under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed and promulgated numerous rules without a complete and accurate assessment of their impacts on consumers, jobs and small businesses. These rules include limits on the emissions of greenhouse gases, more stringent regulations for particulate matter and ozone, and "maximum achievable control technology" standards for power plants. Each will likely raise production costs, reduce economic output and reduce employment in affected industries.
Miller then makes the case for using sensible cost-benefit analysis.
Although levels of ozone and particulate matter permitted under existing standards may be harmful to health, the question arises -- are the benefits of more stringent standards worth the cost, in terms of reduced output, economic growth and employment?
Of course it is hard, when no actual voluntary exchanges occur, to properly assess true costs and benefits. Even if market prices for costs and benefits could be estimated, they are ultimately subjective to the people affected. Nevertheless, Miller's point stands. The EPA should not be an avenue toward despotism.

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