A two-decade-old crackdown on smog and soot under the Clean Air Act will yield about $2 trillion in annual benefits by 2020, according to a study (pdf) that was released by U.S. EPA this morning and was touted as proof that the embattled agency's rules are an economic boon for the American people.
Those rules prevented an estimated 160,000 deaths last year, according to the analysis, and within a decade, that number is projected to rise to about 230,000. That year, the new pollution controls will prevent an estimated 200,000 cases of heart disease, 2.4 million asthma flare-ups and 22.4 million missed school and work days.
"In this cynical era of government-bashing, it is stunning to see just how well a government program can work," said Frank O'Donnell, president of the advocacy group Clean Air Watch. "This is not only a ringing endorsement of the Clean Air Act, but can be read as a stinging rebuke to those on Capitol Hill who would tamper with it."