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GAO: EPA uses stale data

Paul Taylor

The nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been using decades-old economic data to analyze today’s environmental regulations.

Today’s gratuitous and politically-partisan green-government regulations inflate the costs of all goods, services, activities and energies, and kill jobs and prosperity. The aging green movement must now be seen as a subversive political threat to American security and prosperity. And, today eco-groups exert undue influence in the EPA’s rule-making process.

The EPA is required by law to conduct and publish “regulatory impact analyses” (RIAs) for significant new and costly environmental regulations. The GAO finds that the EPA “estimated effects of its regulations on employment… using a study that… was based on data that were more than 20 years old and may not have represented the regulated entities addressed” in its regulatory impact analyses. “Without improvements in its estimates, EPA’s RIAs may be limited in their usefulness for helping decision makers and the public understand these important effects,” the GAO reported.

The EPA’s use of decades-old economic data cannot account for, among other factors, the U.S. has been recovering since 2008 from a historic economic recession at the slowest rate in over 100 years. In addition, the U.S. unemployment rate 20 years ago was 5.5%, 10 years ago 5.0%, and has remained above 5.0% since the 2008 recession. EPA officials admit using decades-old data in June 2013 to analyze job impacts from its regulations concerning water and pending "Climate Action Plans."

While the EPA cannot clearly analyze the costs and benefits of its regulations, it was able to include the Obama administration’s “social cost of carbon” estimate into its regulatory analyses -- a process that GAO says yielded “inconsistencies in some of EPA’s estimates and has raised questions about whether its approach was consistent” with any federal guidelines. Economists have criticized Obama’s “social cost of carbon” estimate, saying there is little science and a lot of politics behind the administration’s effort to price carbon emissions. (Daily Caller, August 12, 2014)