Conservation Minnesota

The Importance of Regulation on Health, Jobs and the Environment

There’s been a lot of shouting lately. At Tea Parties. On Wall Street. And a lot of all the talk from the far extremes of both sides seems to be about regulations. Rules. When we were kids, we had to follow rules. Raise your hand. Don’t eat the paste. Stuff like that. And, ok, some are silly.  There’s the one about cars and trolleys must pass a horse by more than 20 feet. Actually, there may be some wisdom to that one.

Other needed regulations, however, are in danger of being repealed. Laws we need to prevent people from getting sick. Regulations hold companies to standards that keep them operating so that the public remains healthy and safe. The Environmental Protection Agency, for example, writes regulations that pertain to clean air, water, and land. Some members of Congress are trying to reduce the authority of the EPA to regulate mercury and clear air standards. They have voted a total 168 times this year alone to minimize clean air and water laws.

Some lawmakers claim that regulations cost jobs, but it’s quite the opposite. There are landfill operators and builders who keep our drinking water safe from contamination and people who design new technology or scrubbers at power plants. The result of these newly created jobs is a safer public that is spared the damages of environmental clean up, liability lawsuits, and health-care costs.

The new EPA rules that regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants alone, for example, could save 34,000 people from premature deaths a year, according to Grist. That’s one statistic especially important to parents of kids with respiratory illnesses. Not to mention, with the new rules, sulfur dioxide emissions will be reduced by 73 percent, which could result in $280 billion less in healthcare costs per year.  Americans enjoy a a clear economic benefit from having regulations in place, as well as the health benefit associated with them.   Now that’s something to shout about.

About Paul Austin

Paul Austin

Paul Austin has 23 years of public service as an elected leader, advocate and political strategist, Paul Austin brings a rare combination of skills and experience to his position as Executive Director. At age 25, Paul was elected Mayor of Clinton, Connecticut – the youngest in state history. Paul has served as Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota since 2004.

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