Clean Air Act Will Save $2 Trillion & 230,000 Lives by 2020


Photo: d.boyd via Flickr, CC BY

... And cost an estimated $65 billion to implement. Do the math. Because we live in crazy times, the body charged with the task of ensuring Americans breathe clean air and drink clean water is under a heavily politicized attack. Politicians are attacking the EPA, saying that we can't afford to update the pollution standards on the nation's most heavily polluting industries. But those politicians conveniently forget something: that pollution makes people sick, even kills. And those sick people need to be treated with expensive medical treatments -- which those polluting industries don't have to pay for. But it's a huge cost nonetheless. Just check out this graph:


Seems like quite a deal to me. Bear in mind that these calculations do not take into account the impacts of climate change at all. This is just the cost of preventing the particulate matter from entering our air -- and people's lungs. From the report:

In 2020, the Clean Air Act Amendments will prevent over 230,000 early deaths. Most of the $2 trillion in economic benefits (about 85 percent) are attributable to reductions in premature mortality associated with reductions in ambient particulate matter.
And here's another graph, showing what kind of savings we can expect to see in other costs -- most importantly, the human lives that will be saved by clamping down on pollution:


Still think fighting these regulations so huge corporations can keep their profit margins fatter is a good idea? Didn't think so. So c'mon Congress. Let's stop with the absurd political wrangling and let the EPA do its job -- 77% of Americans want you to.

More on the EPA
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