April 6th, 2011
Clean air. Is it good for the economy or a drag on the economy?
That is the fair, but complex question under consideration in Congress this week, as several lawmakers try to conscript the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. Their attacks on the EPA have come in the form of separate bills and as riders to the overall budget bill which must be passed in some form to keep the government operating. (Presumably the riders would skate through, though these riders are more like flares, which everyone can see coming.)
Those fighting the EPA’s plan to regulate carbon pollution — ok let’s just say it out loud Greenhouse Gas Emissions — say that it amounts to over-regulation, will cost businesses dearly and cut into their ability to hire employees. At its most frenzied, this argument seems to pit the EPA against the well-being of the U.S. domestic economy. It’s a worthy point for debate. But it’s been entirely overblown. And the flip side, the harm that can come from ignoring air pollution has been ignored. Is it possible that air pollution, which hurts people and communities could be the real enemy of businesses also?