by Bob Beauprez
Hat tip: Greenie Watch
Air quality has improved dramatically in America since 1980.
According to the EPA nitrogen dioxide emissions are down 40%, sulfur dioxide dropped by 56%, and lead emissions by a whopping 96%. And, these improvements happened while the population grew by 22% and energy consumption jumped 19%.
This would seem ample reason for the government to leave well enough alone, but that's not the case for the current Administration. The Obama EPA is preparing to implement two major new air quality regulations that will cost consumers hundreds of billions of dollars more in their energy bills and destroy great numbers of American jobs.
H. Sterling Burnett and Kenney Meier of the National Center for Policy Analysis have looked at the ramifications of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.
They [url=http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba750]concluded [/url]that because of higher costs and power plant closures by 2020 these two new regulations could destroy another 1.4 million jobs, and drive up electricity costs for consumers by 11.5% and some businesses could see as much as a 35% increase.
Environmental activists like the current EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, always claim improved air quality will translate to significant health benefits, but Burnett and Meier found those claims to be dramatically overstated. That's because very little of the targeted pollutants actually come from the air we breathe.
According to the researchers, "completely eliminating all U.S. power plant pollution would reduce hospital visits resulting from serious respiratory and cardiovascular health events by only 0.4 percent to 1.6 percent, according to estimates in a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, an activist group."
With little to gain and considerable additional cost to be borne by business and consumers alike and with the U.S. economy in serious disrepair, Burnett and Meier say these new regulations are "arguably unnecessary." Reasonable people would likely arrive at the same conclusion, but don't look for the Obama Administration to back off any time soon – or ever.
After all, Obama declared war on the coal industry. In January of 2008, candidate Obama said, "If somebody wants to build a coal fired plant they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."
And, job destruction and higher energy costs won't stop him from his mission.
World's Top Ten Most Polluted Places
The Top 10 most polluted places for 2006, in alphabetical order by country:
Linfen, China, where residents say they literally choke on coal dust in the evenings, exemplifies many Chinese cities;
Haina, Dominican Republic, has severe lead contamination because of lead battery recycling, a problem common throughout poorer countries [image];
Ranipet, India, where leather tanning wastes contaminate groundwater with hexavalent chromium, made famous by Erin Brockovich, resulting in water that apparently stings like an insect bite [image];
Mailuu-Suu, Kyrgyzstan, home to nearly 2 million cubic meters of radioactive mining waste that threatens the entire Ferghana valley, one of the most fertile and densely populated areas in Central Asia that also experiences high rates of seismic activity;
La Oroya, Peru, where the metal processing plant, owned by the Missouri-based Doe Run Corporation, leads to toxic emissions of lead;
Dzerzinsk, Russia, one of the country's principal chemical weapons manufacturing sites until the end of the Cold War;
Norilsk, Russia, which houses the world's largest heavy metals smelting complex;
Rudnaya Pristan, Russia, where lead contamination resulted in child blood lead levels eight to 20 times maximum allowable U.S. levels;
Chernobyl, Ukraine, infamous site of a nuclear meltdown 20 years ago; and
Kabwe, Zambia, where child blood levels of lead are five to 10 times the allowable EPA maximum.
25 Most Dirtiest Cities In The World
No. 25: Port Harcourt, Nigeria
No. 24: New Delhi, India
No. 23: Maputo, Mozambique
No. 22: Luanda, Angola
No. 21: Niamey, Niger
No. 20: Nouakchott, Mauritania
No. 19: Conakry, Guinea Republic
No. 18: Lome, Togo
No. 17: Pointe Noire, Congo
No. 16: Bamako, Mali
No. 15: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
No. 14: Moscow, Russia
No. 13: Bangui, Central African Republic
No. 12: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
No. 11: Ndjamena, Chad
No. 10: Brazzaville, Congo
No. 9: Almaty, Kazakhstan
No. 8: Baghdad, Iraq
No. 7: Mumbai, India
No. 6: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
No. 5: Mexico City, Mexico
No. 4: Port au Prince, Haiti
No. 3: Antananarivo, Madagascar
No. 2: Dhaka, Bangladesh
No. 1: Baku, Azerbaijan
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