When considered collectively, what effect will the Obama administration's clean-air rules have on the economy, public health, and the environment?
Washington's debate over the Environmental Protection Agency's rules is never-ending and polarizing. That's because the rules are so integral to the entire country's environmental and economic well-being. Throughout this fall, House Republicans have passed bills that would roll back several major EPA rules recently finalized or slated to be finalized soon. The Senate may vote on a measure this week that would nullify a recently adopted regulation, called the "good neighbor" rule, that requires utility companies in 27 states to reduce air pollutants like sulfur dioxide that cause air-quality problems in nearby states. The debate over EPA will heat up as the agency issues draft rules aimed at slashing carbon pollution from power plants and oil refineries later this year and early next year.
Has EPA struck the right balance in rolling out its clean-air regulations? How can the agency ensure it addresses the environmental and public health concerns while also not exacerbating the still-weak economy and stubbornly high unemployment? Should EPA be significantly changed and scaled back in its organizational and regulatory authority, such as some GOP presidential candidates like Texas Gov. Rick Perry have suggested?