There are many different types of regulations, laws, and acts under EPA, such as the Clean Air Act. The Trump administration believes that the CAA is a “job-killing” environmental regulation that is oppressing the U.S. economic growth, nevertheless, the CAA and a healthy economy can go hand in hand, because the public health and environmental benefits are far greater than the costs of achieving them.
The CAA was established in 1963, however important amendments we know today were added to the Act in 1970 and 1990. The CAA started by getting the federal government involved with interstate pollution issues, then in 1965 it required the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Services to create and enforce auto emission standards (Clean). In 1970, three major amendments were added;
it placed National Ambient Air Quality Standards that targeted crucial polluting chemicals to protect the environment and public health, New Source Performance Standards determined how much pollution is allowed by different industries, and the CAA specified standards for controlling and reducing various gases of auto emissions. 1990 was the last time the CAA was amended, it focused on environmental issues like acid rain, where certain gas emissions were decreased and controlled; an increase of regulation for toxic pollutants; areas that were not at regulation standard received deadlines; and ozone layer depletion that had the three vital chemical components phased out (Clean).
Apart from the regulations the CAA produces, it is beneficial to the economy, because the money that is used towards reducing pollution does not just disappear or go to one CAA industry. It is transferred throughout many different companies that design, build, install, maintain and operate the equipment that all goes into pollution-reducing processes (Economy). In 2010, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s and EPA’s peer-review study showed that the CAA had gained approximately $1.3 trillion in public health and environmental benefits for a cost of only $50 billion, that is of more than nine percent of Gross Domestic Product for a cost of 0.4 percent of GDP.
For comparison, the NRDC spent roughly five percent of their GDP on the defense budget, the ratio of benefits to costs being more than 26-to-1 (Johnson). By 2020, the study’s predicts a gain of $2 trillion in benefits at a cost of $65 billion, that is a value of more than 14 percent of today’s GDP for a cost of 0.46 percent, The ratio of central benefit-to-cost being more than 30-to-1, higher benefit-to-cost estimate being more than 90-to-1, and lower benefit-to-costs estimate being more than 3-to-1 (Economy; Johnson).
Pollutant control industries contribute to overall economic growth and activity should not be overlooked. According to 2005 data from U.S. manufacturers, their total pollution reduction spendings represented less than one percent of the $4.74 trillion value of the goods they shipped. The reduction costs included capital and operating costs for all pollution controls, not just those related to clean air. Air pollution control is responsible for less than half of these costs (Economy).
In 2011, EPA’s study found that clean air programs yield direct benefits to U.S. citizens which vastly exceed compliance costs. Economic growth rates and welfare improved because cleaner air means less people are likely to get air-pollution-related illnesses, which in turn means lower absenteeism among U.S. workers. The study projects that the beneficial economic effects of clean air improvements more than counterbalance the economic impacts from spendings for pollution control. Shows how the CAA can prevent workers from being absent and losing out on pay because of air-pollution illnesses.
Environmental regulations should not be reduced to promote job creations and economic growth, because they already have an abundant quantity of jobs within their respective fields and the economical benefit on public health helps economic growth. Getting rid of or diminishing any part of the CAA could cause major health risks for U.S. citizens. Fifty-five years of the CAA has shown that the U.S. can shape its economy and create jobs while minimizing pollution to protect the health of U.S. citizens and their workforce.
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