Thursday, March 23, 2023


A proposed flavored tobacco ban is back on the table in Minnesota, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran must testify in the documents probe, and a "clean slate" bill in Missouri would make "expungement" automatic.


The Fed raises interest rates and reassures the banking system is sound, Norfolk Southern reaffirms a commitment to the people of East Palestine, and TikTok creators gather at the Capitol to support free expression.


Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Economists Fault EPA Mercury Rule Proposal


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Environmental Economics Advisory Committee, says the cost-benefit analysis used to justify the rule change is based on outdated data, didn't use the best available science and underestimates the benefits of the current rule while overestimating its costs.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

In 2020, 35% of Idaho mothers had Medicaid at the time of their child's birth. (WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

With concerning trends emerging for pregnant and postpartum women, frustration is growing that Idaho lawmakers could end the session without …

Health and Wellness

Health advocates are promoting a package of bills this legislative session to make health care easier to get - and more affordable. The Care 4 All …

Social Issues

A new study from the University of New Hampshire found New England's LGBTQ+ residents experience higher rates of food insufficiency, the measure of …

According to the Center for American Progress, nearly nine in 10 employers, four in five landlords, and three in five colleges use background checks to screen for applicants' criminal records. (Yurii Kibalnik/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A large percentage of Missourians who could to have their criminal records "expunged" have not done so, despite the effects expungement -- referred …

Social Issues

A person's work personnel file can be important to review, but some Washingtonians are finding them hard to obtain. A bill in Olympia would ensure …

The most recent Farm Bill covered areas such as agricultural conservation, trade and foreign food assistance, farm credit and research. (Adobe Stock)


The U.S. Farm Bill is up for reauthorization, and Congress faces calls to avoid any delays so certain programs can keep helping farmers and consumers …

Social Issues

Youth advocates continue to sound the alarm over the impact flavored tobacco products have on teenagers, and hope Minnesota lawmakers take another …


New research shows the demand for native seed supply across the Western United States, including Nevada, has increased, but the supply simply is not …


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