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Republicans Continue War on EPA

English: Picture I took of a small puddle of t...

I have to believe that the rank and file right-winger really has no idea of the benefits of having an effective Environmental Protection Agency.

These guys hunt, fish, breathe air, drink water and enjoy good health, right?

That’s why it is so frustrating to see them piling on the EPA at every opportunity:

Springtime for Toxics

Paul Krugman takes them to task for their war on the environment:

With everything else that has been going on in U.S. politics recently, the G.O.P.’s radical anti-environmental turn hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. But something remarkable has happened on this front. Only a few years ago, it seemed possible to be both a Republican in good standing and a serious environmentalist; during the 2008 campaign John McCain warned of the dangers of global warming and proposed a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. Today, however, the party line is that we must not only avoid any new environmental regulations but roll back the protection we already have.

Krugman is speaking specifically about recently passed but long-overdue EPA regulations on mercury.

Republicans, who allegedly carry the fiscally conservative banner are showing their true colors on this one:

In fact, the benefits of reduced fine particle pollution account for most of the quantifiable gains from the new rules. The key word here is “quantifiable”: E.P.A.’s cost-benefit analysis only considers one benefit of mercury regulation, the reduced loss in future wages for children whose I.Q.’s are damaged by eating fish caught by freshwater anglers. There are without doubt many other benefits to cutting mercury emissions, but at this point the agency doesn’t know how to put a dollar figure on those benefits.

Even so, the payoff to the new rules is huge: up to $90 billion a year in benefits compared with around $10 billion a year of costs in the form of slightly higher electricity prices. This is, as David Roberts of Grist says, a very big deal.

And it’s a deal Republicans very much want to kill.

Unfortunately, the GOP pathological phobia of short-term costs explains a lot about the current state of the nation, from their shortsighted view of taxation and infrastructure investment, to their view of Wall Street regulation.

Along with Krugman, I celebrate the new rules and hope they are a harbinger for a move to hold industry accountable for the real harm they do — to health and the economy.

-Chris

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December 27, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

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