It is difficult to pin down the new standard’s economic impact, partly because some of the required reductions will be achieved under other EPA rules limiting mercury and sulfur dioxide. But one of the main rules that would have cut sulfur dioxide emissions in the eastern half of the country, the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, was struck down in federal court this summer. Also, some members of Congress are threatening to block an upcoming rule curbing cruise ship pollution.
Jackson said that by 2020, the net annual benefits would range from $3.9 billion to $8.75 billion, because the EPA has already imposed pollution limits on everything from medical incinerators to off-road vehicles. “The federal government is stepping in to do most of the heavy lifting here,” she said.
Eisenberg questioned that analysis, however: “We don’t think it’s quite that clean.”
Brad Muller, vice president of marketing for Charlotte Pipe and Foundry, said his company couldn’t get an air permit to build a facility in rural North Carolina because county officials feared it would push them out of compliance.