The EPA has justified much of its job-killing regulatory agenda by citing promises of improved public health and reduced health care costs to treat respiratory illnesses it claims are exacerbated by airborne pollution. They’ve even recruited advocacy groups like the American Lung Association to publicly endorse the rules.
However, the medical community remains unconvinced. Medical professionals and U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, Larry Bucshon, Michael Burgess, Bill Cassidy, John Fleming, Phil Gingrey and Paul Gosar have written a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging her to delay implementation of the proposed Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule (MACT), which imposes stringent new standards on coal-fueled power plants.
Why this particular policy? Well, the Utility MACT rule is expected to cause widespread shutdowns of power plants across the country. The letter signers state that the proposed rule will actually hurt public health by raising electricity prices and thus health care costs, therefore negating any supposed longer-term health benefits.
From the letter:
We ask that the EPA take into account the direct and indirect costs associated with the proposed rule and withdraw the rule until we can be assured of its positive contribution to public health…
It is well established that additional costs placed upon the healthcare and economic sectors of our country may actually damage public health and raise premature death rates. Given the extremely high cost of the Utility MACT proposal – perhaps the most expensive in the Agency’s history – we ask that the EPA take into account the direct and indirect costs associated with the proposed rule and withdraw the rule until we can be assured of its positive contribution to public health. The American public deserves no less.
Unlike Jackson and other EPA bureaucreats, those who drafted and signed the letter all have medical degrees and thus presumably know what they’re talking about when it comes to healthcare costs.
Now, one would think that this development would spur the EPA to rally their existing allies within the medical community, but think again. As the American Lung Association does the administration a solid by airing ads promoting the EPA’s job-killing agenda by dubiously tying enforcement of the Clean Air Act to asthma prevention, the agency is pulling the rug out from under the group by moving to ban asthma inhalers:
Asthma patients who rely on over-the-counter inhalers will need to switch to prescription-only alternatives as part of the federal government’s latest attempt to protect the Earth’s atmosphere.
The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday patients who use the epinephrine inhalers to treat mild asthma will need to switch by Dec. 31 to other types that do not contain chlorofluorocarbons, an aerosol substance once found in a variety of spray products.
The action is part of an agreement signed by the U.S. and other nations to stop using substances that deplete the ozone layer, a region in the atmosphere that helps block harmful ultraviolet rays from the Sun.
But the switch to a greener inhaler will cost consumers more. Epinephrine inhalers are available via online retailers for around $20, whereas the alternatives, which contain the drug albuterol, range from $30 to $60.
Yes, you read that right; the EPA is legitimately trying to argue that over-the-counter inhalers used by the tiny percentage of the population that suffers from asthma are significantly contributing to air pollution.
Between these two developments, the EPA had better come up with some new justifications for imposing its punishing Utility MACT rule on American businesses and taxpayers. The public health argument is a dog that just won’t hunt.