EPA Repeals Rule That Distorted Benefits of Life-Saving Clean Air Protections

May 13, 2021
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – May 13, 2021) EPA is eliminating a harmful Trump-era rule that would have made it harder to protect Americans from air pollution by distorting the agency’s economic analyses.

“By repealing this rule, EPA is safeguarding its ability to protect Americans from harmful air pollution,” said EDF senior attorney Ben Levitan. “Clean Air Act protections save lives, prevent childhood asthma attacks, and provide an enormous range of other health and environmental benefits. The Trump-era rule threatened EPA’s ability to protect families and communities, and the repeal will help EPA fulfill its duties under the Clean Air Act.”

EPA will publish the rule repealing that cost-benefit distortion in the Federal Register tomorrow.

The Trump administration issued its unlawful cost-benefit rule in the final months of its term. It would have made it harder to account for the full benefits of Clean Air Act protections and impeded EPA’s statutory mandate to protect the public from dangerous air pollution.

EPA has now reviewed the Trump-era rule and concluded that it lacked a rational basis, would have limited EPA’s ability to rely on the best available science, and was not authorized under the Clean Air Act.

Multiple analyses have repeatedly shown that the health and environmental benefits of Clean Air Act protections outweigh the costs many times over. But the Trump-era cost-benefit rule imposed arbitrary requirements that interfered with EPA’s ability to fully assess benefits when developing Clean Air Act protections.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan has now recommitted the agency to scientific integrity and fact-based decision-making. Repealing the cost-benefit rule will be a critical step in that direction and will help EPA better protect public health.

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