Energy, the Environment, and Public Policy: Issues for the 1990s

By David L. McKee | Go to book overview

policy to ensure environmental problems are addressed cost- effectively and in order of the magnitude of risk they present to the public and environment.

It is expected that Congress will pass new amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990. The cost of this legislation to the U.S. public is expected to be $21.5 billion per year. Once implemented, the United States will have the most stringent pollution standards in the world. Even so, some environmental groups have claimed these standards are still not sufficiently stringent.

Encountering such claims, the public must also become cognizant of the fact that environmental quality and economic vitality are inextricably linked. To the extent that some would have us chase such fleeting goals as "zero emissions" and "zero risk," the economy and welfare of the American people will ultimately suffer.

How effectively we deal with issues such as these in the future will determine how prudently and efficiently we use the limited resources at our disposal. Additionally, and more importantly, how effectively and prudently we deal with these issues will determine the state of the world (both environmentally and economically) we leave to future generations.


NOTE
1.
Three examples of many articles that have, through sensationalism, influenced public opinion on the environmental issue of acid rain are "Acid Rain Spreads Its Deadly Sting", U.S. News & World Report, October 7, 1985; a series of articles under the heading "Poison from the Skies", The Plain Dealer (beginning August 1, 1982); and "Acid Rain: Scourge from the Skies", Reader's Digest, January 1981.

-100-

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