Saturday, July 4, 2015

Are Mercury Emission Rules Cost Effective?

See The Mercurial Court: The Supremes rebuke the EPA but decline to rein in its abuses, a WSJ editorial. Excerpt:
"The EPA later calculated—after the rule had been written and finalized—that the mercury rule would cost industry and electricity consumers $9.6 billion a year but yield direct benefits that were between 1,600 and 2,400 times smaller. A narrow 5-4 majority of the Court ruled that failing even to consider costs violates the Clean Air Act and the general requirement that executive agencies engage in “reasoned decision-making.”

“One would not say that it is even rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits,” Justice Antonin Scalia writes. “EPA’s interpretation precludes the agency from considering any type of cost—including, for instance, harms that regulation might do to human health or the environment.”

Though the direct benefits from reducing mercury only amount to $4 million to $6 million annually, the EPA conjured “co-benefits” of $37 billion to $90 billion on reality-free assumptions. As an example of how the EPA rigs such analysis, it claims that 15% of pregnant women in Wisconsin catch and eat 300 pounds of lake fish a year and thus fewer newborns would be exposed to the toxic substance in utero. That’s a lot of fishing by pregnant women."

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