A cliché is supposed to contain a speck of wisdom. One exception is the tired refrain that strong environmental protection policies damage the economy. The next time you hear that, point out that numerous studies demonstrate otherwise.
One of the most persuasive is a 2008 paper by Robert Bezdek, Robert M. Wendling and Paula DiPerna that concluded that environmental protection, “economic growth, and jobs creation are complementary and compatible.” In 2003, the paper estimated, environment protection was “a major sales-generating, job-creating industry,” nationally generating $300 billion per year and 5 million jobs in 2003.
Perhaps most significantly for debates in the Gopher State, the paper observed that at the state level, strong environmental policies and economic growth have a positive relationship. “States can have strong economies and simultaneously protect the environment,” the authors found.
This is not an isolated blip on the environmental research screen. Study after study, reaching back to a 1992 groundbreaker by Stephen Meyer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has found the same thing. Environmental protection is a net positive for the economy.
The cliché that protecting the environment is a job-killer must die. When it does, there will be an outbreak of superior environmental policy.