Clear Air Act saved 160,000 in 2010
The report, titled "The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020", was reviewed by the Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis - an independent panel of economists, scientists and public health experts established by Congress in 1991.
The effects of the Clean Air Act on the economy, public health and environment between 1990 and 2020 were analysed. The report found that in 2010 the Clean Air Act prevented 13 million lost workdays, with this figure expected to rise to 17 million in 2020. The reduction in fine particle and ground level ozone pollution, in addition to economic benefit, is predicted to save 230,000 people from an early death in 2020 alone.
The benefits of preventing early death, reducing the risk of heart disease and asthma, and reducing the number of employee sick days was shown to far exceed the cost of implementing and enforcing the CAA. Benefits to public health lead to a more productive workforce, which will only strengthen the U.S. economy.
The actual benefit from the Clean Air Act could be much higher, as the EPA's report only considers the benefits arising from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments.
These amendments built on the existing Clean Air Act of 1970, suggesting that millions of lives could have been saved through this innovative environmental legislation.
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said ''This report outlines the extraordinary health and economic benefits of one of our nations most transformative environmental laws and demonstrates the power of bipartisan approaches to protecting the health of the American people from pollution in our environment.''
This news is timely for the EPA. The Republican-led House of Representatives has proposed to curtail the EPA's regulatory powers and cut its budget by nearly a third, as reported in USA Today. These proposed budget cuts are now due to go before the Democrat-led Senate. Will the EPA's findings save them from the axe?