In President Obama’s Year of Action, the EPA levied another unilateral tax on America’s struggling economy Monday with expensive new sulfur standards. The new mandates will cost the energy industry an estimated $10 billion, impact small refineries most, and goose gas prices by 6 to 9 cents per gallon.
And all for no benefit to human health.
“The benefits far outweigh the costs,” claimed EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “These standards will reduce pollution, they’ll clean the air we breathe and protect the health of American families.” There’s no evidence to support that statement.
“It’s made up science,” says Steve Milloy, a regulatory scholar with the Competitive Enterprise Institute and publisher of JunkScience.com, of the restriction on gasoline’s sulfur content — part of EPA’s so-called Tier 3 rules.
EPA administrators justify the reduction of smog-inducing PM2.5 particulates to 12 micrograms (from 15 mcg) because they say there is no safe level of PM2.5 exposure. That is absurd. In fact, the EPA routinely funds lab tests that expose humans to diesel fumes containing PM2.5 particulates. The air Americans breath today is clean. Our worst metropolitan areas rarely exceed 15 mcg a day — as compared with the estimated 10,000-40,000 mcg that a smoker inhales from a single cigarette, says Milloy.
“Saying that there is no safe exposure gives EPA carte blanche to regulate whatever they want,” says Milloy.
That regulation inflicts real pain. Higher gas prices hurt low-income Americans most. And EPA regs have made the U.S. refinery business a regulatory thicket — resulting in the closure of over 100 refineries in the last 40 years — mostly small businesses that can’t afford the regulatory costs. So much for White House claims that it backs the little guy.
The EPA’s rule pitted refineries against Big Auto, which had lobbied hard for the costs to be borne by the energy sector to help autos meet their own stringent government mandates. “This rule’s biggest impact is to increase the cost of delivering energy to Americans,” protested Bob Greco of the American Petroleum Institute. “But it will provide negligible, if any, environmental benefits.”
“This rule is all pain and no gain,” says House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R., Mich.). An apt summary of the Obama presidency.