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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bang for the Buck: EPA Emissions Rule Gives 4000% ROI

I mentioned the EPA's new emissions regulation in a postscript yesterday. The new rule, revamped Bush-era rules strengthened and tweaked to pass muster with the courts, will substantially reduce sulfur dioxoide and nitrogen oxide emissions. It also will produce a spectacular return on investment:

The regulation’s price tag is an estimated $2.8 billion in 2014. But EPA officials say it would save between $120 billion and $290 billion in annual health and welfare benefits the same year and help prevent up to 36,000 deaths [Darren Goode, "EPA Issues New Rule to Reduce Emissions," The Hill: E2 Wire, 2010.07.06].

The low-end estimate says we get a 4186% return on our investment in pure dollar terms, before counting in the pleasure of keeping 36,000 fellow Americans alive.

Spend $2.8 billion, save Americans $120 billion or more in health and welfare costs. Now that's money well spent!


  1. You are light-years ahead of me on this stuff, Cory; there's just so much to get ones head around. SO2 mostly from coal plants and NOX from gas and diesel, right? Where is ethanol considering its overall effects on localized watershed health?

    See any flaws? Are you getting any of the rewilding juices flowing yet?

  2. As I understand it, this rule applies only to power plants. The EPA appears to think ethanol is good for the air; I'll keep an eye out for clean water regulations.


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