The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released “The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020” report estimating the health benefits from the Clean Air Act at $2 trillion by the year 2020, which includes 230,000 saved lives in that year alone. These health benefits are the result of reducing risks of early death associated with breathing in fine particle pollution and ozone as well as reducing breathing illnesses such as chronic bronchitis. The health benefits also extend to protecting the environment, including improved agricultural yields and better visibility conditions.
“The health benefits from the Clean Air Act paint a staggering picture of lives saved and suffering prevented,” said David Baron, DC managing attorney at Earthjustice. “In light of these numbers, it’s truly outlandish for polluters and their allies to seek weakening of the Clean Air Act, as they did in Congress just ten days ago.”
In further detail the EPA analysis estimates that in 2010 the Clean Air Act:
In 2020 the Clean Air Act will:
The Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 built on the Clean Air Act of 1970 and 1977. From this recent analysis the EPA has concluded that the direct benefits of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments significantly exceed the cost of industry compliance. These health benefits exceed the cost of compliance by 30 to one. Moreover, the economy is stronger with the Clean Air Act amendments as cleaner air leads to better health and productivity for Americans and less money is spent on health care to treat air pollution-related health problems.
This health benefit report comes on the heels of several attacks from Congressional leaders targeting air rules. Some of the most important EPA rules that members of Congress have sought to eliminate or stall include: