At the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference in DC yesterday, Ceres released a report by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst that determined that two pending Clean Air Act rules would create nearly 1.5 million jobs. CAP Energy Intern Lee Hamill has the story.
The first of these is the “Clean Air Transport Rule,”which would reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions that contribute to acid rain and smog. The second rule, known as the “UtilityMACT” (or toxic pollutant rule), would require industrial boilers to cut their hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, arsenic, lead, and hydrochloric acid. Both rules are expected to be finalized in 2011.
In the report, “New Jobs-Cleaner Air: Employment Effects under Planned Changes to EPA’s Air Pollution Rules,” Dr. James Heintz of the Political Economy Research Institute at U-Massachusetts bases his projections on an estimated $200 billion to be invested in pollution controls, new plant construction, and the retirement of less efficient coal plants by the power sector. These investmentswould create 1.5 million jobs-an average of 290,000 new jobs each year for the next five years. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, praised the report’s findings:
These are American jobs in manufacturing, installing and operating modern pollution control technology and producing clean energy – jobs that come at a crucial time as our nation’s economy continues to recover and grow.
The states expected to experience the largest gains in jobs are Virginia, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ohio.
The new jobs created by these pending air pollution standards more than offset any job loss due to the retirement of older, less efficient coal plants. Many of these out-datedplants would eventually shut down even without these rules. These proposed Clean Air Act rules would benefit the economy by generating over 4,200 operation and management (O&M) jobs. O&M jobs also provide permanent employment, similar to positions related to the design, construction, and installation of new pollution controls.
Implementation of the Clean Air Transport Rule and the toxic pollutant rulewould protect Americans’ health in addition to creating jobs. EPA analyses have demonstrated the health and economic benefits of cleaner air. They estimate that the Clean Air Transport Rule alone will avoid14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths annually beginning in 2014, and generate $120 to $290 billion in yearly health benefits.
Big oil companies and their congressional allies falsely claim that reducing pollution is a “job killer.” These opponents of public health protection want to block the newrules to keep their profits hefty. Fortunately, the Ceres report is yet another demonstration that clean air is good for both Americans’ lungs and their paychecks.
— Lee Hamill is a CAP Energy Intern