The Price of Pollution Politics

Date Published: 
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A handful of companies are spending millions to finance an assault on clean air—lobbying and litigating to block, weaken and delay clean air standards that would save lives and protect Americans’ health from the power sector’s dangerous and deadly air pollution.

Leading this effort to weaken, delay or block cleaner air standards are eight companies which spent a combined $67 million lobbying Congress between 2010 and the first quarter of 2012, including on EPA clean air standards and authority, among other topics.

Their coal-fired power plants generated enough air pollution last year to contribute to as many as 10,300 deaths, 65,000 asthma attacks and incidents, 6,600 hospital and emergency room visits, and 3.4 million lost work-days. All told, the combined economic toll for that pollution reaches as high as $78 billion, based on a new analysis conducted for the Natural Resources Defense Council by energy consulting firm MSB Energy Associates, Inc. The analysis is based on a widely-accepted, peer-reviewed model that links air pollution to adverse health consequences.

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