New Environmental Protection Agency Rule To Save as Much as $100 Billion in Health Care Costs by 2015
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday approved "sharp new limits" on power-plant emissions to reduce levels of smog and soot, which can aggravate heart and lung problems, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Clean Air Interstate Rule, imposed under the Clean Air Act, requires power plants in 28 states and the District of Columbia to reduce sulfur-dioxide emissions by 70% and nitrogen oxides by 60% over 2003 levels by 2015.
The new rule is expected to save $85 billion to $100 billion in health care costs over the next 10 years, EPA estimates (Fialka, Wall Street Journal, 3/11). EPA officials said they expect the rule to prevent 17,000 premature deaths; 1.7 million lost workdays; 500,000 missed school days; 22,000 nonfatal heart attacks; and 12,300 hospital admissions annually by 2015.
Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, said, "EPA's action is a big breath of fresh air for the millions of Americans across the eastern U.S. suffering from unhealthy particulate and smog pollution" (Weiss, Washington Post, 3/11).
Jeff Holmstead, EPA's assistant administrator of air-regulation programs, said the rule will cost companies at least $3.6 billion annually over the next decade (Wall Street Journal, 3/11).