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[greenyes] Bush Administration Environmental Policies Critiqued by NYTimes
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/01/opinion/01WED4.html

NEW YORK TIMES EDITOTIAL

RULES THAT WORK - October 1, 2003

The Bush administration has spent the better part of three years weakening
federal regulations and belittling their value. Now, from a most unlikely
source - the fervently anti-regulatory Office of Management and Budget -
comes persuasive evidence that the health and social benefits of these rules
greatly outweigh their costs.

In a report issued last week, the budget office said that an examination of
107 major rules finalized over the last 10 years found quantifiable benefits
of between $146 billion and $230 billion, compared with costs of $36 billion
to $42 billion. Of particular interest was the finding that just four clean
air rules administered by the Environmental Protection Agency - all
challenged at one time or another by industry - accounted for a big chunk of
the benefits. Designed partly to meet Clinton-era health standards, the
rules limit emissions of soot and other pollutants from power plants, cars
and trucks. These four rules produced even better ratios - annual benefits
of between $101 billion and $119 billion measured in terms of fewer
premature deaths, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and lost work
days, compared with costs of only $8 billion to $8.8 billion.

Whether these findings will alter the administration's suspicion of federal
regulation is unclear. President Bush has rarely allowed science (or, for
that matter, logic) to interfere with his policies - witness his attempts to
suppress or ignore alarming evidence about global warming to justify his
cost-free strategy. Whatever the numbers, fundamental policy shifts are
probably not in the cards. Even now there are efforts afoot to weaken rules
protecting water quality, transportation safety and the public lands.
Nevertheless, the positive results are now there for all to see, and it
should become harder for the administration to keep blaming everything from
the California energy crisis to the economic slowdown on environmental
regulations.







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