EPA to Consider Costs Over Benefits with Mercury

The Environmental Protection Agency, under President Donald Trump, is reportedly about to halt a costly regulation on mercury emissions that critics argue is unnecessary.

The EPA, under President Barack Obama, essentially found a way to game the regulatory process to impose some of the costliest regulations in history.

“The benefits of reducing mercury emissions was about $4-6 million, the cost of regulating mercury emission is $9.6 billion, with a 'b,'”says Daren Bakst, senior research fellow in agriculture policy at The Heritage Foundation 

Bakst says the EPA actually used the rule as a way to reduce what it calls"fine particulate matter."

“The public gets mislead into believing a rule such as the one for mercury has so much benefit for reducing mercury emissions, when any benefits the EPA is ever really talking about has nothing to do with mercury emissions, they're pointing to something altogether that is completely different,” he says.

Bakst argues the Clean Air Act already regulates fine particulate matter. The U.S. Supreme Court also ruled in 2015 the EPA must consider costs in developing regulation.

“We're spending billions of dollars a year to achieve nothing when it comes to mercury emissions,” he says.  “If we want to address mercury emissions then let's be transparent about it, understand what the benefits are, what the risks really are, and figure out what those costs are.”

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