which the committee heard presentations from representatives of EPA, the U.S. Senate, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and other interested parties. The committee reviewed materials submitted by EPA and others, and it reviewed relevant literature on the estimation of health benefits. The committee reviewed in detail EPA’s health benefits analyses contained in the regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) of the “Particulate and Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards” (EPA 1997a), the “Tier 2 Motor Vehicle Emissions Standards and Gasoline Sulfur Control Requirements” (EPA 1999a), and the “Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards and Highway Diesel Fuel Sulfur Control Requirements” (EPA 2000a).1 The committee also reviewed methods used in EPA’s prospective analysis of the benefits and costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2010 (EPA 1999b).

The focus of the EPA analyses reviewed by the committee were the criteria pollutants, particularly ozone and airborne particulate matter (PM). Therefore, the committee spent a considerable amount of time discussing these pollutants, especially PM, and did not address the many issues associated with the analysis of the hazardous air pollutants. However, many of the findings and recommendations of the committee have broad applicability and are not limited to analyses conducted for PM.

REGULATORY CONTEXT

Benefits analysis as a component of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) has played a role in the regulatory process in at least a rudimentary form since the 1930s (NRC 1990).2 The role of CBA increased substantially in the 1970s when President Ford issued an executive order that required federal agencies to prepare economic analyses of regulations that were predicted to have substantial economic impact. These analyses came to be known as economic impact statements and were submitted to OMB for review. In

1  

RIAs are broader analyses that examine the feasibility and costs of implementing the proposed regulation, as well as the benefits that might be achieved from implementation. A comparison of the costs to an economic valuation of the benefits is also typically included in these analyses.

2  

CBAs compare the economic value of the benefits estimates with the costs of the regulation to determine the net economic benefit of a regulation.



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