The Environmental Protection Agency has now made it clear it intends to regulate carbon dioxide as both an air and a water pollutant. Republicans have made it clear they intend to fight such regulation, largely on economic grounds:
In a letter to the EPA last month, Representative Joe Barton, who is the top-ranking Republican on the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee and is in the running to chair the influential committee in the next Congress, accused the EPA of failing to properly consider the economic impact of a variety of proposed environmental regulations including new ozone standards, greenhouse gas emission rules and other air pollution limits.
EPA administrator Lisa Jackson rejected Barton’s analysis, releasing a letter that suggested Barton’s letter and an accompanying chart displaying the economic impacts of the EPA’s actions had willfully ignored the economic benefits that will arise from tighter regulations and which outweigh the economic costs.
A World Resources Institute series on the regulations emphasizes the economic benefits of environmental regulations:
Though costs have always been highlighted by industry — and many policymakers — the fact is that public benefits associated with environmental regulations consistently outweigh the costs. For example, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently released its thirteenth annual Report to Congress [PDF], detailing the estimated benefits and costs of federal regulations, finding that:
The estimated annual benefits of major Federal regulations reviewed by OMB from Oct. 1, 1999, to Sept. 30, 2009, for which agencies estimated and monetized both benefits and costs, are in the aggregate between $128 billion and $616 billion, while the estimated annual costs are in the aggregate between $43 billion and $55 billion.
For clean air and water regulations promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the same time period, the estimated aggregate annual costs range from $26 to $29 billion, while benefits range from $82 to $533 billion.