Currently, industry and some members of Congress are working to weaken the Clean Air Act, arguing that new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules are bad for the economy. In reality, efforts to stop the EPA from doing its job would stifle job creation.
A new report by Ceres and the PERI Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, finds the Clean Air Transport Rule and the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology Rule would create thousands of jobs in the next five years.
These rules would require power plants to install new air-pollution controls and to build new plants to replace older units. It would take about 1.46 million years of new labor to make those changes happen over the next five years, or about 290,000 skilled, high-paying installation, construction, and professional jobs on average each year.
Additionally, environmental rules would make the U.S. more competitive and innovative by growing an economy around cleaner energy.
The EPA finalized a rule last week, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, aimed to reduce dangerous air pollutants coming from power plants and refineries. These two industries make up 40 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. These greenhouse gases are both contributing to climate change and endangering public health.
The EPA reports that the rule would prevent 34,000 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks, saving $280 billion per year in health costs. This means fewer sick days and fewer days that parents have to tell their kids they can’t play outside. It would bring cleaner air for 240 million Americans.
With benefits to human health, a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, and job creation, it is important these rules be created and enforced for all of us now and for the future.