Garrett Vaughn

Do EPA’s Clean Air Act (CAA) rules produce more than $30 in benefits for every dollar of cost? That’s what the agency claims in a report published earlier this month:

Our central benefits estimate exceeds costs by a factor of more than 30 to one, and the high benefits estimate exceeds costs by 90 times. Even the low benefits estimate exceeds costs by about three to one.

Obama administration officials and their allies tout EPA’s benefit-cost estimates as a reason why Congress should allow the agency to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs). EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, for example, cited the 30 to 1 ratio in her Feb. 9, 2011 testimony opposing the Energy Tax Prevention Act, a bill that would strip EPA of its non-congressionally authorized power to dictate national policy on climate change. Jackson suggested that if Congress lets EPA regulate GHGs, net annual CAA benefits will reach $2 trillion by 2020.

EPA’s GHG rules cannot possibly harm the economy, we’re told, because the CAA has a 40-year track record of delivering trillions of dollars in net benefits.

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