Particulate matter is a killer. –Lisa Jackson, EPA, 17 March 2011

Listening to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about EPA’s proposed new mercury rules, for me, the live feed on facebook did not work, but the one on did. A few quotes:
Particulate matter is a killer. We know it results in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

That matches some local concerns in Lowndes County.

How much of a killer?

17,000 premature deaths will be avoided. 11,000 heart attacks will be avoided. [large number of] asthma attacks will be avoided.

So Georgia Power says it’s shutting down coal plants because of such regulations. What about the expense?

This is an expensive rule… but health benefits will be ten times the cost.

For every dollar spent, there will be ten more dollars that someone doesn’t see in health care costs.

The NY Times reported on those benefits 1 March, Benefits of Clean Air Act Rules to Reach $2T, EPA Says, By GABRIEL NELSON of Greenwire:

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.

The study was ordered by the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, which were signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. Most of the stricter limits on smog and soot also date back to those amendments, which passed with support from both parties.

Here are links to that and the preceding studies from EPA. The earlier reports go all the way back to 1970, when President Nixon created the EPA. All three reports show that “the public health protection and environmental benefits of the Clean Air Act exceeded the costs of its programs by a large margin.”

Lisa Jackson also talked about exporting catalytic converters and other technology developed to conform with the Clean Air Act. So this regulation is a financial plus to the country in several ways, in addition to making our air cleaner.