Air Pollution:

EPA's Progress in Determining the Costs and Benefits of Clean Air Legislation

RCED-94-20: Published: Feb 11, 1994. Publicly Released: Feb 11, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional requirement, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) cost-benefit analyses of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments and any previous amendments to the Clean Air Act, focusing on EPA: (1) methodology for conducting the cost-benefit analyses; (2) progress in completing the analyses; and (3) costs for contractors and staff used to complete these analyses.

GAO found that: (1) EPA is undertaking a retrospective study to compare the economic, health, and environmental conditions that have resulted from the amendments enacted before 1990 with projections of what these conditions would have been without the amendments; (2) although the 1990 amendments specified that EPA complete the retrospective study by November 15, 1991, EPA estimates that it will not complete the study until 1994; (3) EPA will undertake a prospective study of the Clean Air Act amendments to compare the effects of air quality standards imposed by legislation enacted before 1990 with the effects of all potential post-1990 standards; (4) the completed retrospective study will cost an estimated $1.6 million and EPA will use about 12 staff-years to oversee the study; and (5) the total cost of both studies could reach $3.2 million and 24 staff-years.

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