Benefits of U.S. Clean-Air Rules Far Outweigh Costs, Report Says

The benefits of some major U.S. environmental laws appear to dramatically outweigh the costs, according to a new federal report that is giving environmentalists reason to cheer. The Office of Management and Budget found that tough clean-air regulations implemented over the past decade brought health and social benefits — including fewer premature deaths, emergency room visits, and lost workdays — that were five to seven times greater in economic terms than the costs of complying with the rules. “In this case, the data show that the [EPA]’s clean-air office has issued some highly beneficial rules,” said John Graham, director of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Enviros and some lawmakers accuse the Bush administration of trying to roll back clean-air regulations just as the nation is coming to recognize their effectiveness.