The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will evaluate the costs its own regulations impose on jobs and the economy, according to an agency report.
The EPA released a report Wednesday on agency efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on the U.S. energy industry. That report included a promise to assess how EPA rules affect the economy and job creation.
EPA also laid out plans to review regulations on power plant permitting and how the agency sets national air quality standards, with a particular focus on EPA’s collaboration with the states.
“EPA is committed to President Trump’s agenda,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment.”
“At EPA, that means we are working to curb unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens that do not serve the American people – while continuing to partner with states, tribes and stakeholders to protect our air, land, and water,” Pruitt said.
About four months ago, a federal court ruled EPA did not have to complete a special study on how its regulations affect the coal industry.
The ruling overturned a lower federal court ruling from 2016, ordering EPA to conduct a special analysis of how regulations hurt the coal industry. A group of West Virginia coal companies asked the court to force EPA to issue a report.
Now, EPA will conduct the reviews anyways. EPA said five environmental laws require it to evaluate how its regulations affect the economy.
“Congress expressed its intent that EPA conduct continuing evaluations of potential losses or shifts of employment that may result from implementation of these statutes,” EPA wrote in its plan to promote “energy independence.”
“However, the Agency historically has not conducted these assessments,” EPA wrote. “Accordingly, EPA intends to conduct these evaluations consistent with the statutes.”
Environmentalists argue EPA regulations may have high price tags, but they yield much more in public health benefits due to fewer death and illness.
EPA regulations issued between 2004 and 2014 were estimated to have cost up to $45.4 billion, but yield $787.7 billion in benefits to public health, according to a 2015 federal report. Almost all the benefits come from reducing fine particulate matter in the air.
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