CEI Attacks New EPA Auto Emissions Proposal: A Black Hole, Sucking In Money While Emitting Zero Health Benefits

Washington, DC, April 30, 1999 – The Competitive Enterprise Institute today denounced the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) forthcoming auto emissions proposal as an incredibly expensive, yet totally ineffective health measure. Michael Gough, CEI Senior Scientist, stated: “EPA’s proposal is an administrative black hole masquerading as a health measure. It will draw in billions of dollars in costs while producing no detectable health benefits whatsoever.”

According to Dr. Gough, the EPA is proceeding on an unproven connection between nitrogen oxide compounds (NOx) and other smog precursors (which react in sunlight to produce ozone) and asthma, despite the fact that its own Clean Air Science Advisory Committee had previously found no clear health benefits from ozone reduction. Ozone levels fell by nearly 30 percent in the quarter century since 1970, yet the incidence of asthma nearly doubled in that same period. Recent research indicates that asthma is correlated not with minor changes in ozone levels, but with such changes in living conditions as increased exposure to roach allergens among inner city children.

In Dr. Gough’s view, the EPA proposal could actually worsen air quality—by making new vehicles more expensive, the rules would increase the retention rate for older, more polluting cars. Moreover, the deadweight economic cost of the rules would reduce disposable income. In short, by reducing the income that consumers have to spend on housing, food and medical care, the EPA will not only cost us money, but very likely lives as well.

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact Emily McGee, director of media relations, at 202-331-1010, ext. 209, or 703-728-0138 (cell).