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Monday, June 25, 2012

Obama’s EPA Trades 2,000 Premature Deaths for 1,200 Manufacturing Jobs

In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered a 95 percent reduction in emissions of nitrous oxide for heavy-duty diesel engines to take effect in 2010. According to the EPA’s in-house cost-benefit analysis, this reduction would prevent, among other things, 8,300 premature deaths, 23,100 cases of chronic bronchitis, 360,000 asthma attacks, and 386,000 cases of respiratory symptoms in asthmatic children every year.  Over ten years, almost 100 thousand people would be around who would otherwise be underground! EPA cost-benefiters monetized annual benefits of its regulation at $66.2 billion versus a paltry annual cost of $4.2 billion. What a marvel! We can save all these lives and prevent all these illnesses at virtually no cost to anyone.

Come 2010, Navistar, the third largest seller of heavy duty trucks and employer of 4,000 manufacturing workers failed to meet the EPA’s nitrous-oxide standards. Its competitors, largely foreign owned, complied. They are no longer killing people and making children sick, like Navistar.  Instead of shutting Navistar heavy-duty truck division down until it meets its nitrous oxide standards, the EPA substituted a fine ($1919 per vehicle) in January of this year, which allowed Navistar to continue to produce and sell non-compliant trucks.

Using the EPA’s own figures, I calculate that Navistar’s “non-compliance penalty” will cause 2,075 premature deaths, 5,772 cases of chronic bronchitis, and  90,000 asthma attacks in 2012 alone – a small price to pay for 1,200 manufacturing jobs in an election year.  (My calculations use Navistar’s share of the heavy truck market and the fact that heavy-duty trucks account for about a third of its business). 


  1. A very powerful speech by Marco Rubio (June 25, 2012)---Mitt Romney is a lucky Presidential Candidate:

  2. Compare Rubio's speech with:

  3. The link does not work. But, Google "White House scolds guests who flipped off Reagan portrait" to get there.

    While President Reagan's adherence to the principles by which our nation was founded upon let to our liberation from malaise and self-doubt, it set the bar for civility and leadership fairly high. Nonetheless, he helped Tip O'Neill to rise to the occasion. This produced the foundation for the reform and the subsequent economic, social, psychological, and global expansion of our exceptional way of life.

  4. The EPA over-regulates by setting standards that are outrageously expensive for the lives actually saved. That is, safety is achieved at standards which are much less strict.

    For example, eating 150 grams of table salt (5 ounces) might kill 50% of the participants. The EPA would conclude that eating 1/1000th of that amount (.15 grams, 1/30th of a teaspoon) would kill .001 X 50% = 50 per 100,000 people exposed. The regulated level for table salt would need to be one million times less than that to assure safe levels of exposure to table salt.

    The EPA's political willingness to accomodate Navistar, at a supposed cost of 2,075 premature deaths and such, does not show that the EPA is throwing away lives. It shows that the EPA regulations were ridiculous in the first place.

    1. Andrew: So far you are the only one who got my point (See your last sentences).

  5. To Mr. Gregory,

    Thanks. I thought I would make your point explicit. An amazing feature of our times is that it is hard to tell sarcasm from reality.

  6. Well said. Just have watched a video by Ed Butowsky regarding the recent jobs report and how its reading on unemployment will surely impact the upcoming Convention and longer term the election. You can watch the video in this LINK.