In the past 50 years Congress has passed legislation such as the Clean Air Act seeking to improve air quality and the Clean Water Act addressing the cleanliness of waterways in the U.S.

While some improvements has been made nationally in both air pollution and water cleanliness, both laws have resulted in the most complex, comprehensive, and costly environmental laws in existence.

Additionally, environmental improvements in both areas began to improve prior to the 1970s when both laws were enacted. Through pragmatic regulatory reform of both laws, the Competitive Enterprise believes Americans can have clean water and improved air quality without submitting to undue regulations that strangle industry and harm our economy.

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Gutting Kyoto

The worldwide press hailed the December negotiations in <?xml:namespace prefix = u1 /><?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Montreal over the Kyoto…

Energy and Environment

Op-Eds

All Cost, No Benefit

Tomorrow, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Sen. Jeff Bingaman's (D-N.M.) Climate and Economy Insurance Act. Originally…

Antitrust

Op-Eds

Hybrid Hubris?

<?xml:namespace prefix = u1 />The <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Commonwealth of Virginia is faced with an unpleasant problem with its…

Energy and Environment

Newsletter

Cooler Heads

Politics   Kyoto Goes into Force On February 16, 2005, the Kyoto Protocol came into force internationally.  Thirty-four nations are now committed to reducing…

Climate

Op-Eds

Sensible Policy Lost in Smog

 The Environmental Protection Agency recently launched its massive new plan to fight smog. Get ready for another <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Washington mandate that will do more economic harm than environmental good.  Ozone, the primary constituent of smog, is a lung irritant caused by motor vehicle and industrial pollution as well as natural emissions. Smog was perhaps the single biggest reason for the 1970 Clean Air Act, and has been heavily regulated since. According to EPA, it has declined more than 30 percent in the last three decades.   Outside several trouble spots in California, virtually the entire nation now is in or near compliance with existing ozone air quality standards. And, due to measures already in the works (new motor vehicle emissions standards starting with the 2004 model year, new control requirements for power plants), those areas not yet in compliance are on their way toward it.  Despite lack of evidence the existing ozone standard was deficient, the Clinton administration decided to tighten it. EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee concluded this tougher standard would not be “significantly more protective of public health,” and called the change a “policy judgment.” The agency's own cost-benefit analysis found the modest marginal benefits of the new standard outweighed by its costs. Nonetheless, EPA went ahead with the rule, sparking several years of legal challenges, all the way to the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court essentially deferred to EPA's judgment, and upheld the new standard. However, the legal delays meant this Clinton administration's rule, first promulgated in 1997, would have to be implemented by its successor. And George Bush's EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt now has obliged.   Mr. Leavitt estimates compliance costs of $50 billion over the next 15 years. The specific control measures for the 474 counties currently violating the new standard will depend on the extent of noncompliance in each county.  The possibilities include more stringent requirements on new or substantially modified industrial facilities, restrictions on highway construction projects, measures affecting small businesses, and more onerous vehicle inspection programs. Each of the 31 states with non-attainment areas must submit a compliance plan for EPA approval by 2007. These plans will likely remain in effect many years after.  The expense will affect employment, traffic congestion, and the cost of living. Even gasoline prices may be pushed up. Areas violating the new smog standard may have to use one of the costly specialized gasoline blends that have proliferated in recent years. And many refiners now will have more difficulty obtaining approval for much-needed capacity increases.  Of course, EPA's announcement of the rule gave the impression the U.S. smog problem is worsening. Nothing could be more untrue. But while the benefits of this new standard may prove hard to identify, the costs almost certainly will not.

Energy and Environment

Newsletter

Vol. VIII, No. 8

Politics  Candidate Kerry on Kyoto and Global Warming   The campaign web site of Senator John Kerry (D—Mass.) only briefly mentions what…

Climate

Op-Eds

A Clear Mistake

The Clear Skies Initiative, President Bush's big environmental bill targeting power plant emissions, appears to be stalled in Congress.  In an effort to…

Climate

Newsletter

Vol. VII, No. 17

  Politics   Blackouts Mean Uncertainty for Energy Bill   The massive power outage that affected much of the northeastern…

Climate

Newsletter

Vol. VII, No. 15

Politics   Senate Ready to Debate Climate Amendments to Energy Bill   Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has scheduled all…

Climate

Newsletter

Vol. VII, No. 14

Politics   Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate Environment   The Democratic contenders for the White House focused on health issues at an…

Climate

Sam Kazman

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