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Thousands of lives, billions of dollars

Government rules play a major role in all our lives. They are necessary to protect the most vulnerable among us – the young, the old – those who cannot protect themselves. They shield us from companies that are willing to pollute, to cheat, or to skimp on safety in the name of profit. These rules are one of the foundations of a civilized society.

Few government agencies better demonstrate serving the public interest than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and today’s announcement of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule offers a perfect example. The rule will tighten limits on the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution that power plants in more than two dozen eastern states are currently allowed to emit. Sulfur dioxide is a component of acid rain while nitrogen oxide is an element of smog.

The Cross-State Air Pollution rule was issued under the “Good Neighbor” provision of the Clean Air Act, which makes sure emissions from a power plant in one state doesn’t cause unsafe pollution levels in another.

The rule will have a positive impact on the economy and in people’s lives. The EPA report “Final Air Pollution Cross-State Air Pollution Rule: Reducing Air Pollution, Protecting Public Health” shows millions of Americans will live healthier lives. The rule will begin to phase in on January 1, 2012, but by 2014 the rule will save up to 34,000 lives a year, save 420,000 from upper and lower respiratory symptoms per year, annually avoid 1.8 million sick days and will “result in $120 to $280 billion in annual benefits.”

This is not proof of a government “run amok,” but instead a shining example of what government is supposed to do.

Check out this link for more information on the rule.