Clean Air Act benefits

Preliminary analysis by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that in 2010, the Clean Air Act's fine particles and ozone programs will prevent more than 160,000 premature deaths. The economic value of air quality improvements is estimated to reach almost US$2 trillion for the year 2020, a value that exceeds the costs to comply with the 1990 Clean Air Act and related programs.

When fully implemented in 2030, vehicle and fuel programs will produce US$186 billion in air quality and health benefits, with only US$11 billion in costs, a nearly 16:1 benefit to cost ratio.

The EPA's acid rain program has reduced damage to water quality in lakes and streams, and improved the health of ecosystems and forests. Reductions in fine particle levels yielded benefits including the avoidance of about 20,000 to 50,000 premature deaths annually. The benefits of the acid rain program outweigh the costs by at least 40:1.

Source: US EPA, 14 September 2010.

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