That’s why the EPA came down today with new standards on soot (or “small particulate matter”).
Why is soot a big deal? Mary Ann Hitt of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign explains:
Soot particles are released into the air by burning dirty fuels like coal. Soot is composed of dangerous metals and chemicals, and the particles are so small — as tiny as 1/30th the width of a human hair — that they can lodge deep within the lungs and move into our blood streams, carrying with them toxic pollutants like arsenic and lead. Even at very low levels, soot is harmful to human health and can cause heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks, cancer, developmental and reproductive harm, and even premature death.
So, while these new standards will cost coal-burning power companies a few more dollars, they’ll SAVE a ton:
- They’ll prevent approximately 15,000 premature deaths every year.
- They’ll save $118 billion in health care costs every year. Do the math: That means that over the ten year time frame that the budget deficit cutters are looking at, this will save more than $1 trillion…. and a good chunk of that will be saved on medicare and medicaid.
The right wing will complain, as they always do, that the new standards cost money and will cost jobs.
But, as said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said at the Clean Air Act’s 40th anniversary, ’The total benefits of the Clean Air Act amount to more than 40 times the costs of regulation. For every dollar we have spent, we get more than $40 of benefits in return.’
And I’ll repeat something that I’ve been saying for years, and really needs to be a meme: “If your business model requires that you take a dump on my living room carpet every day, then you need to change your business model. Because that’s not okay.”