Analysis: "Why Republican Attacks on Environment Laws Are Flawed"

"Republicans have been attacking environmental regulations, arguing that they hurt the economy and that the costs outweigh the benefits. But four decades of data show they are wrong."

"In recent months, some in Congress have been waging a whole-scale war against the Environmental Protection Agency. By now it has reached comical dimensions, with three separate bills aimed at preventing a so-called EPA "dust rule" that has never even existed.

The spectacle would indeed be funny, if it wasn't deadly serious. Republicans in Congress and in the GOP presidential debates are seeking to defund an already cash-strapped EPA under the pretense of caring about the federal deficit and are trying to hamper the agency by arguing that its rules hurt the economy.

Quite to the contrary. We have 40 years of data to show that a cleaner environment goes hand in hand with solid economic growth.

Harvard Professor Dale W. Jorgenson, one of the deans of macroeconomic modeling who has been honing his model of the U.S. economy for decades, calculates that gross domestic product in 2010 was 1.5 percent higher because of the Clean Air Act of 1970. It turns out that protecting children from foul air leads to more productive adult workers."

Gernot Wagner reports for Yale Environment 360 November 15, 2011.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011