The Clean Air and Clean Water acts have done their jobs. By all measures, pollution has steadily declined. Some pollutants have reached such low levels that if it weren’t for advances in analytical science, we wouldn’t be able to distinguish them from natural levels. (Major violations excepted, of course.)
The new limits on arsenic emissions from coal plants, for instance, is one-tenth the level of natural arsenic emission from vents and volcanoes. There is zero evidence that those natural levels are harmful to humans; we evolved with them. The new limits are a transparent move to eliminate coal as an energy source. The EPA mandate is to eliminate harmful pollution, not to advance energy policy. The EPA’s established authority is being corrupted.
We have reached the point of diminishing returns. It is more and more costly to try to reduce the levels by smaller and smaller amounts. Even worse, the levels in most cases are now so low that science can’t even reliably find actual people harmed (again, except for spot cases of major violations). In order to justify continuing to tighten limits, activists now resort to self-serving computer models for justification, exaggerating benefits and minimizing costs.
Given this success, how is it that every year EPA produces more new regulations than the previous year? The cleaner the air and water become, the more new regulations are passed. New EPA over-regulation is now a serious and costly burden on our economy, with virtually no measurable benefits.
EPA activism has crossed the line into anti-science and propaganda. Like the assertion that coal plant emissions are responsible for the rise in asthma. Asthma has been steadily rising since the Clean Air Act was passed, while emissions have steadily declined. If there were a causal relationship, which there isn’t, that correlation would argue that emissions prevent asthma.
It’s time to impose a strict cost-benefit mandate on further EPA regulations. We should set up an independent scientific body to evaluate those cost-benefit claims, to prevent EPA from being both the creator and the judge of its actions.