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Anti-Environment Attacks in Congress
Defending clean air and water laws against anti-environmental attacks
Under the guise of fiscal responsibility, anti-environmental forces are working in Congress to gut many of the nation's essential safeguards that for decades have helped protect our environment and health.
Big polluters and their allies routinely claim that strengthening environment protections will cost too much, produce too few benefits, and send workers to the breadlines. At a time when many American families are indeed hurting financially, such false claims inflame the public discourse and threaten to reverse years of progress.
Don't Fall For It
The truth is, environmental regulation had nothing to do with getting us into the current financial crisis. In fact, history shows that laws such as the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act typically cost far less than claimed and often spur technological innovation, job creation, and economic growth. Check out SELC's fact sheet to see the gulf between dire industry predictions and what actually occurs.
Clean Air Act: Decades of Benefits
For example, in 2003, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget calculated that stronger air quality regulations-currently under harsh attack on Capitol Hill-cost up to $21 billion in power plant improvements, but yielded as much as $177 billion in benefits from fewer lost workdays, hospital visits, and premature deaths.
Now, a 2011 report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that pollution controls under the same law will yield approximately $2 trillion in benefits in 2020 and will save 230,000 people from early death in that year alone.
SELC Defending the South's Environment
SELC is providing the leadership and the law and policy expertise needed for an effective response. In Washington, D.C., we are serving as a strong voice for the South in Congress, with the message that sound fiscal policy and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive.
In all of our six states-with regard both to broader policies and to on-the-ground projects-we are arguing that investing in healthy air, clean water, smart growth, and clean energy can create jobs and save money-and lives-in the long term.
Some of the specific issues we are focused on include: offshore oil drilling, biomass as an energy source, natural gas "fracking," coal ash disposal, sound transportation planning, national forest "roadless" areas, and proposed new wilderness lands for Tennessee.