Study Finds Maryland Healthy Air Act Will Save Lives, Benefit Economy - Southern Maryland Headline News

Study Finds Maryland Healthy Air Act Will Save Lives, Benefit Economy

New Economic Analysis Shows Benefits Far Outweigh the Costs

Washington, DC (March 6) – An independent analysis of Maryland’s proposed Healthy Air Act shows that the health and economic benefits of air pollution reduction, including the saving of 96 lives per year, far outweigh the costs by nearly 9:1.

"This study shows clearing the air in Maryland would boost the state’s economy as well as protects its environment," says Olivia Campbell, Mercury Campaign Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, which commissioned the study. "We have yet another piece of evidence showing that reducing the state’s air pollution is achievable and economically sound. The technology is available and cost-effective. Now we’re calling on the state’s leaders to enact protective air quality standards for future generations of people and wildlife."

The proposed Healthy Air Act would reduce pollutants of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2) and mercury. The study compares the costs and benefits of reducing these pollutants under the Healthy Air Act to reductions under federal rules for three of the four pollutants. The study finds that:

• Benefits of the Healthy Air Act include 96 lives saved annually in 2010 compared to 27 lives saved under the federal air rules, and 17,350 work days saved annually in 2010 compared to 4,925 word days saved under the federal rule.

• For mercury reductions, benefits include reduced IQ impacts in children, reduced cardiovascular effects and mortality in adults, and a range of benefits from $10,000 to $100,000 per pound of mercury reduction.

• For economic benefits, the annual net benefits of the Healthy Air Act would be $532.7 million in 2010.

Other benefits of air pollution reduction in Maryland are the jobs created by the need to install pollution reduction equipment. The Institute of Clean Air Companies estimates that there will be approximately 3,000 person-years of labor required to install this equipment in Maryland. If we assume an annual wage of $50,000, this translates to $150 million in wages.

The Maryland State Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee is expected to take up the Healthy Air Act (SB 154) on Tuesday.

The analysis is available on the Internet at:

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