EPA estimates the cost of implementing its proposed standard would be between $19 billion and $90 billion by 2020. Affected counties and states would have up to 20 years to meet the new standard, depending on their level of noncompliance.
The government said the proposal would yield benefits worth between $13 billion and $100 billion in saved emergency room visits, premature deaths and missed school and work days. Unfortunately, the projected benefits claim sounds too much like the administration’s "jobs saved or created” economic statistic — easy to assert, near impossible to quantify.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wants stricter environmental standards on drilling. "We don’t believe we ought to be drilling anywhere and everywhere,” Salazar said.
Interior says its proposal would bring greater consistency within the government on leasing decisions while also engaging the public more — resulting in fewer leases being contested in court. But industry groups fear new layers of bureaucracy that would slow development of resources on federal lands across the West.
In both cases, the public has a right to understand the detailed cost-to-benefit ratio of what is being proposed. We hope Congress, which is better connected to public sentiment, applies common-sense scrutiny to each.