Small Businesses Oppose Energy & Commerce Vote To Undermine Clean Air Protections

Mar 15, 2011, 18:25 ET from The Main Street Alliance, Seattle, WA

Upton-Inhofe Bill Would Leave Small Businesses to Pay Price of Dirtier Air in Lost Work Days, Higher Health Costs

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After the House Energy & Commerce Committee voted today to send the Upton-Inhofe bill, a proposal to block the Environmental Protection Agency from updating air pollution standards under the Clean Air Act, to the full House for consideration, the Main Street Alliance issued the following statement from MSA Network Director Sam Blair:

"We're disappointed to see this proposal to undermine clean air standards and leave small businesses holding the bag move to the House floor. The Energy & Commerce Committee's vote today was out of step with the interests of Main Street small businesses, and will leave small businesses to pay the price for lower air quality.

"Clean air is a Main Street value – it always has been. Common sense standards for clean air do more than promote innovations and job creation in the clean energy field – they also protect the public health, benefiting small businesses across the whole economy by promoting a healthy workforce, preventing lost work days due to illness, and reducing businesses' health care costs.

"A recent report from the EPA showed a nearly $2 trillion annual benefit to the U.S. population and economy from the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, including preventing 13 million lost work days and tens of thousands of emergency room visits in 2010 alone. With the benefits of these updates outweighing the costs by a factor of 30 to 1, that's a healthy return on investment for our communities and local economies.

"What's good for large corporate actors is often not in the best interest of America's small businesses, and that's clearly the case here with big polluters who are pushing to undermine clean air. If Congress hamstrings the EPA and prevents it from updating standards for clean air, corporate polluters will be popping their champagne corks and small businesses will be forced to pick up the tab."

Last week's Second Prospective Report from the EPA includes the following findings about the benefits and costs of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments:

  • In 2010, the Amendments prevented 13 million lost work days, 3.2 million lost school days, and 86,000 emergency room visits.
  • In 2020, the Amendments are projected to prevent 17 million lost work days, 5.4 million lost school days, and 120,000 emergency room visits.
  • The report's central benefits estimate of almost $2 trillion in 2020 exceeds costs ($65 billion) by a factor of more than 30 to one; the high benefits estimate exceeds costs by 90 times.

ABOUT THE MAINSTREET ALLIANCE

The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state-based small business coalitions. The Alliance creates opportunities for small business owners to speak for ourselves, advancing public policies that are good for our businesses, our employees, and the communities we serve.

SOURCE The Main Street Alliance, Seattle, WA