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Policy

EPA rules generate big cost, bigger benefits

March 26, 2007 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 85, ISSUE 13

Rules from EPA continue to account for most of the benefits and the costs of federal regulations, the White House Office of Management & Budget reported earlier this month. From fiscal 1997 to 2006, federal agencies issued 91 major rules (those with yearly costs of more than $100 million), which altogether reap annual benefits of between $98 billion and $484 billion and generate yearly costs between $39 billion and $46 billion, OMB says in a draft report to Congress. During that decade, EPA issued 39 of those major rules, which generate yearly benefits of between $63 billion and $430 billion and costs that range from $25 billion to $28 billion. Of the seven major rules that the U.S. government adopted in fiscal 2006, EPA's tightened air quality standard for particulate matter accounted for most of the benefits and most of the costs, according to the draft report. That new limit on air pollution has an annual cost of about $3 billion and benefits of between $4 billion and $40 billion, OMB estimates. The draft report is available at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg/2007_cb/2007_draft_cb_report.pdf.

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