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Small Businesses Oppose Move to Hamstring EPA on Clean Air

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Blocking EPA from Updating Clean Air Standards Would Leave Small Businesses to Pay the Price in Lost Work Days, Higher Health Costs

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — After a subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee passed the Upton-Inhofe bill, a proposal to block the Environmental Protection Agency from updating air pollution standards under the Clean Air Act, the Main Street Alliance issued the following statement from MSA Network Director Sam Blair:

“We’re disappointed to see this proposal to block the EPA’s ability to update standards for clean air move forward in the House. The proposal is 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 and always has been. Common sense standards for clean air promote innovations in clean energy and protect public health, benefiting small businesses by preventing lost work days due to illness and reducing health care costs.

“Last week, a 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 big corporate actors is often not in the best interest of America’s small businesses. If Congress hamstrings the EPA and prevents it from updating standards for clean air, corporate polluters may like it, but small businesses will pay the price in lost work days and continuing increases in health insurance costs.”

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.


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.


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