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EPA releases new soot pollution standard based on secret data sets

“Multiple senior Obama Administration officials have promised to ensure release of this data, but have yet to fulfill such commitments, raising further questions regarding the seriousness of the President’s repeated statements that he is operating ‘the most open and transparent Administration in history,’” the letter continues.

The requested data sets are the sole basis for 85 percent of the EPA’s claim of $2 trillion worth of Clean Air Act benefits between 1990 and 2020. Also, the EPA’s assertion that benefits of CAA regulations exceed the costs by a 30-to-1 ratio originates from the secret data sets.

“Put succinctly, it is likely that a majority of the benefits claimed from all federal regulations are grounded in data sets that have never been made available to the public,” the letter reads.

The new EPA national air quality standards reduce pollution from soot by 20 percent and force local governments across the U.S. to improve air quality standards in the next decade.

The rule limits soot, or fine particulate matter that comes from activities like burning wood and diesel vehicles.

The agency estimates that the health benefits from the new rule will range from $4 billion to $9 billion per year and will cost between $53 million and $350 million.

According to the EPA, 99 percent of U.S. counties will meet the the new standard by 2020 without taking any additional action.

“These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air Act. We will save lives and reduce the burden of illness in our communities, and families across the country will benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

“EPA has ignored repeated expressions of concern by industry, including the Chamber, that the agency must not rush to issue this rule,” Bill Kovacs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s senior vice president for environment, technology, and regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

“Despite EPA’s acknowledgment that the complexity of the rule required a year-long review, EPA took less than six months to finalize the rule,” he added. “EPA engaged in result-oriented rulemaking to justify the most restrictive air quality standards ever issued.”

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