Pollution Party: Jobs Vs. EPA

BY ON October 28, 2011

JOBS graphic overlaid with American flag design

In current presidential debates, the attention has turned (finally) to job creation. This is no doubt in response to President Obama’s jobs bill. This would be a good focus if the proposed solutions weren’t so darn scary!

Are candidates really talking about creating jobs by allowing more air pollution? Alarmingly, it seems so. This notion, put forth by at least two Republican candidates goes something like this: If we reverse the proposed protections put in place by the EPA (Rick Perry proposes a 60% EPA budget cut; Michele Bachmann promises to abolish it altogether); provide tax incentives and maintain subsidies to energy industry polluters; while expanding fossil fuel, coal and natural gas extraction, we can create 1.2 million jobs.

As Paul Krugman points out in his article, Party of Pollution, these assertions are faulty on at least two counts:

1. The number of jobs that can be created by removing restrictions on emissions are based on statistics taken from an American Petroleum Institute study and are highly suspect. The estimated job creation relies on “an ‘assumed’ multiplier effect, in which every new job created [within the energy industry] indirectly creates 2.5 jobs elsewhere…”

The Washington Post explained the multiplier effect this way:

“Only a third of the 1.4 million positions created would go to people working directly for the petroleum industry.” API’s job creation estimate includes “a seldom-used category known as ‘induced jobs’ that API [American Petroleum Institute] says covers everything from valets to day-care providers, from librarians to rocket scientists…”

2. Even if you accept the multiplier, all of the proposed jobs don’t appear until way down the road, with only 200,000 created this year and less than 700,000 by 2015.

In addition, the candidates, in proposing to empower industry to continue to pollute, are doing what many in Congress continue to be guilty of as well. That is purposely ignoring the enormous cost of pollution. As Green for All’s Cost of Delay Project puts it, from the date the EPA Mercury Standards and Toxics Rules were announced back in March, 10,432 Americans have died prematurely, 6,744 have suffered heart attacks, children have suffered 67,444 preventable asthma attacks, and Americans have missed 521,159 days of work. This is all while we wait for the rules to be enacted. Environmental disease in children costs the U.S. a staggering 7.6 BILLION annually. The delay in the approval of the EPA rules is unconscionable. For presidential candidates to talk of dismantling them and unraveling the EPA‘s undisputed history of protection and cost savings is beyond the scope of all reason.

Will we really stand by and allow our presidential candidates to play politics with our children’s health? Will we be manipulated to believe that we must choose between employment and the physical health and well-being of our families? This is a ploy to get us to take our eyes off of what is important…and most disturbingly, our focus off of what makes the most sense for the health of our economy and our own health and welfare all the way around.

Have you bought in to this? Are you challenging and fact checking what you are hearing from the candidates? And are you holding your current representatives accountable?

JOIN the Mom’s Clean Air Force and help keep the presidential candidates focused on family.

TOPICS: African-American Community, Asthma, Coal, Economics, Politics, Pollution, Social Justice