September 28, 2003


Review of Environment Rules Finds Benefits Outweigh Costs (JOHN H. CUSHMAN Jr., 9/28/03, NY Times)

The White House office in charge of reviewing federal regulations has reported that the benefits of some major environmental rules appear to exceed the costs by several times and that the net benefits may be even larger than previously acknowledged. [...]

The report included only a handful of the 4,135 final rules published in the Federal Register during the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2002. Its principal focus was on three rules issued by the Energy Department, the Transportation Department and the E.P.A. They imposed estimated annual costs of $1.6 billion to $2 billion, but produced estimated annual benefits of $2.4 billion to $6.5 billion.

If they save that much money we might be inclined to keep them, but this story is a tad cryptic, no?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2003 3:25 PM

Cryptic indeed. I'm not even sure _which_ environmental rules are being talked about, from the excerpt.

Posted by: Joe at September 28, 2003 7:43 PM

In a related story, the French government announced that all its activities over the last two hundred years netted every French citizen 7.5 Euros, thus proving the wisdom of statism.

Posted by: Peter B at September 28, 2003 7:53 PM

Does it strike you that the phrase "estimated annual benefits" is pretty vague, when one automatically wants to know: benefits to whom or to what?

Posted by: John J. Coupal at September 28, 2003 8:22 PM

Now, for comparisons' sake, there should be some listing of what a year with zero Federal Register pages would save.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 28, 2003 8:50 PM

Personally, I'm wondering how much paper The Paperwork Reduction Act generates.

As for OMB results, you don't see too many rich folks living downwind of a paper mill. Is there a value to that? Is there any value to reducing the stink from a mill? OMB and dang near any economist would say yes. I haven't checked into their methodology, but in this instance I'm inclined to trust that wide margin for error.

Posted by: Jimmy at September 29, 2003 2:04 AM


They get rid of the smell from the paper mills here. They shut them down. Air smells better. Folks just aren't working.

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2003 7:51 AM


Yup, clean smelling air good, greedy business (and the jobs provided) bad. The smaller the private sector the bigger the gov't (coercive) sector. The black and white world of the Left is
so predictable.

I'm sure you take these numbers at face value so I'd like to talk with you for a moment about a number of conspiracy theories I have and this bridge in Brooklyn...I'll assume you're kidding regarding the efficient nature of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at September 29, 2003 10:56 AM

That report would have been much less worthless if it had cited achieved, rather than putative, cost-benefit ratios.

I lived just nort of Montgomery, AL for a year. Occasionally downwind of a paper mill. You noticed the smell for about 15 minutes before your brain put it on disregard.

Last I checked:

- health impact of paper mill odor: zero
- jobs created: thousands
- piles of paper wasted on left wing anti-analytical hooey: mountains

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 29, 2003 11:40 AM