From: Andrew King and Michael Toffel

Published: January 23, 2017

President Donald Trump has announced that he will work to roll back environmental laws and regulations with the hope of improving the U.S. economy and standard of living. We feel compelled to report that such an attempt is likely to backfire.

Environmental regulations have provided enormous benefits to U.S. citizens and have positioned American businesses to lead in markets, including those in China, where environmental concerns are growing. If President Trump wants to help Americans, he should not concede U.S. leadership and direct a retreat to the position of a laggard country. Rather, he should strengthen the United States’ position as a leader and inspire others to follow.

We are not blind to the existence of some burdensome and ineffective environmental regulations, and we recognize the need for some reassessment. For the most part, however, the benefit of existing regulations has far exceeded the cost. The nonpartisan federal Office of Management and Budget has calculated that the rules imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the decade ending 2012 yielded benefits 10 times their costs—a ratio better than all of the other federal agencies they reviewed.


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