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New EPA air quality rules outweigh costs and provide major health and environmental benefits
Date:12/21/2011

A report by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health provides an expanded review of six new air quality regulations proposed or recently adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA). These include the first national standards for reducing dangerous emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants. Though the cost of implementing the new regulations is estimated to be about $195 billion over the next 20 years or so, the economic, environmental and health benefits amount to well over $1 trillion, considerably outweighing the control costs, according to the report, which was issued by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a non-profit think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Patrick L. Kinney, ScD, professor of Environmental Health Sciences and director of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health's Program on Climate and Health, and MPH candidate Amruta Nori-Sarma also examined the role that environmental justice issues play in the development of EPA regulations. The researchers further analyzed the findings in light of a recent poll conducted by the Joint Center on climate change, health and conservation behaviors.

Building on the data from EPA, the report finds that six new air quality regulations would offer benefits and savings in doctors' visits, hospitalizations, and a reduction in cases of bronchitis, respiratory illness, and aggravated asthma particularly for African American populations and residents in vulnerable communities. The rules analyzed include the Heavy-duty Vehicles Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Standards, the 2017-2025 Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Emissions and Caf Standards, the Utility Air Toxics Rule, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Boiler MACT, and the standards of Performance for Petroleum Refineries

The paper highlights the importance of the two motor vehicle rules, since urban air pollution tends to be dominated
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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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