Bryn Mawr Economics Professor David Ross recently spoke at a “citizens’ hearing” in Philadelphia’s City Council Chamber in support of a recently adopted resolution in support of the Clean Air Act.
Ross spoke specifically about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon standard for new power plants.
“From an economic standpoint, air pollution represents theft of environmental services. A fossil fuel-burning power plant needs air to absorb emissions from combustion just as much as it needs coal or natural gas. But, whereas it pays miners for the coal, workers for their labor, and the lenders for financing the plant, it pays nothing for the clean air it fouls, nothing to the children afflicted with asthma, nothing to the elderly confined to their homes on hazardous air-quality days, nothing to homeowners inundated with rising flood waters,” Ross said during his remarks.
“A perfect environmental policy would end the theft by putting a price on the environmental services all of us use and it would compensate innocents injured by the shift to an environmentally responsible economy. But, the perfect is the enemy of the good–so we look for cost effective ways to make things better. By that definition, the proposed EPA Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants is a no-brainer. It threatens no jobs and has no effect on the return to existing investments. It offers future investors a guide to avoiding the worst environmental impacts as they consider how to meet future energy needs,” he says.
Organized by Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Penn Environment, the hearing was an opportunity for citizens to comment on proposed EPA regulations to limit carbon emissions from new power plants. Reynolds Brown was a co-sponsor of City Council Resolution 120356, which supports the reduction of Greenhouse Gas Pollution under the Clean Air Act and urges the Environmental Protection Agency to move swiftly to fully employ and enforce the Clean Air Act.