EPA rules could result in higher benefits, study says

A study co-sponsored by the Clean Air Council indicates that the benefits of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Utility MACT rule are greater than analysis originally conducted by the Agency. The report, “Why EPA’s Mercury and Toxics Rule is Good for the Economy and America's Workforce,” authored by Charles J. Cicchetti Ph.D, a senior advisor to Navigant Consulting, Inc., finds that the Utility MACT rule will produce net benefits of up to $139.5 billion and create 115,520 jobs.

The study also uncovered that EPA’s analysis does not account for the $7.17 billion increase in gross domestic product and the $2.689 billion increase in tax revenues expected to result from Utility MACT.

Additionally, while the EPA measured employment losses from the perspective of employees, this report calculates the losses incurred by employers as a result of sick days and other benefits, in addition to wages for each employee. While EPA included some reduced health and insurance costs in its analysis, it did not consider resulting reduced administrative expenses that are expected to occur as a result of the Utility MACT rule.

In terms of EPA overestimating the compliance costs associated with Utility MACT, the study finds that many changes have already been made in the power industry to reduce harmful emissions. The study also asserts that power generation costs are likely to be lower due to the nation’s natural gas boom.

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