Monday, February 6, 2023

Play

Fare-free public transit benefits Kansas City residents and businesses; farmers prioritize food, not feed in the 2023 Farm Bill; and a new survey: students want a more diverse inclusive curriculum.

Play

The Democratic National Committee votes to shake up the presidential primary calendar, President Biden gets a better than expected jobs report before his second State of the Union, and lawmakers from both parties question the response to a Chinese data gathering balloon.

Play

Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

Economists Fault EPA Mercury Rule Proposal

Play

Thursday, December 5, 2019   

NEW YORK – A new report says the Trump administration's proposal to weaken rules for emissions of mercury and other toxic substances is based on a faulty economic analysis.

The report, from the External Environmental Economics Advisory Committee, says the cost-benefit analysis used to justify the rule change is based on outdated data, didn't use the best available science and underestimates the benefits of the current rule while overestimating its costs.

According to report coauthor Joe Aldy, a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, the analysis ignores the public health benefits associated with cutting mercury emissions such as reducing the risk of heart attacks.

"Some of this recent research suggests that the impact there may be on the order of billions of dollars a year in terms of the public health benefits of reducing those heart attacks if we reduce people's exposure to mercury," he points out.

The EPA's analysis says the Obama-era rule only saves about $6 million a year. The agency is expected to issue a final rule by the end of this year.

Aldy points out that one reason the EPA's estimate of health benefits from the mercury rule is so low is that it eliminates the effect of reduced particulate and sulfur dioxide emissions, which are reduced when mercury emissions are cut.

"That's a large category of benefits that's estimated by EPA in their initial analysis in 2011 of up to $90 billion of public health benefits per year," he states.

The EPA says it is not doing away with the mercury rule, but the Trump administration is expected to overturn the finding that regulating power plant emissions is "appropriate and necessary."

Aldy notes that throwing out that finding would eliminate the legal basis for having the rule at all.

"Doing so creates potentially some legal risk and begs the question if these regulations are no longer justified, according to EPA, it's hard to continue them as compliance obligations on coal-fired power plants across the country," he states.

Aldy adds that even power plant operators who have invested in equipment to reduce mercury emissions are opposed to weakening the mercury rule.


get more stories like this via email

Michigan environmental activists have begun to focus on environmental justice issues in low-income communities that bear the brunt of industrial pollution and political indifference. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

By Tom Perkins for Planet Detroit.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Michigan News Connection with support from the Solutions Journalism Network…


Environment

By Jared Brey for Governing.Broadcast version by Deborah Van Fleet for Missouri News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-Public New…

Social Issues

South Dakota is once again locked in a debate over a bill concerning transgender youth. It seeks to ban gender-affirming care, with supporters …


Voters in Pittsburgh-area districts 32, 34 and 35 will head to the polls Tuesday to fill three vacancies in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. (MoiraM/AdobeStock)

Social Issues

While the Pennsylvania House is still out of session and won't resume until late February, the public and advocacy groups are voicing their concerns…

Social Issues

Better health and educational outcomes are being touted as the potential benefits as Minnesota lawmakers discuss whether to provide free school meals …

Sixty schools piloted College Board's new AP African American Studies course, which is set to appear in over 200 schools starting in the 2024-2025 school year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CORRECTION: YouthTruth surveyed more than 28,000 high school seniors from the class of 2022 and the class of 2019 in 19 states, including New York…

Social Issues

For more than two decades, a workforce development program in El Paso has invested in the economically disadvantaged to help them attain the …

Health and Wellness

Nebraska's long-term care facilities face staffing shortages and other factors that could lead to more closures if state funding isn't increased…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021