Category Archives: Government Revenues

Congress Needs To Take Ownership Of Regulations


The preceding posting “Federal Regulations And Intervention Cost America Consumers And Businesses $1.9 Trillion In 2016, discussed the scope and effect regulations have on the economy.  This posting will look at some solutions.

From the CEI posting titled “Ten Thousand Commandments 2017comes the following excerpts:

A regulatory liberalization agenda would provide genuine economic stimulus and offer some confidence and certainty for businesses and entrepreneurs.

Steps to Improve Regulatory Disclosure

Certainly, some regulations’ benefits exceed costs, but net benefits or even actual costs are known for very few. Without more complete regulatory accounting, it is difficult to know whether society wins or loses as a result of rules.

An incremental but important step toward greater openness would be for Congress to require— or for the Office of Management and Budget to initiate—publication of a summary of available but scattered data.

Regulations fall into two broad classes: (a) those that are economically significant (costing more than $100 million annually) and (b) those that are not. Agencies typically emphasize reporting of economically significant or major rules, which OMB also tends to emphasize in its annual assessments of the regulatory state. A problem with this approach is that many rules that technically come in below that threshold can still be very significant in the real-world sense of the term.

Ending Regulation without Representation: The Unconstitutionality Index—27 Rules for Every Law

Agencies do not answer to voters. Yet in a sense, regulators and the administration, rather than Congress, do the bulk of U.S. lawmaking. But agencies are not the only culprits. For too long, Congress has shirked its constitutional duty to make the tough calls. Instead, it delegates substantial lawmaking power to agencies and then fails to ensure that they deliver benefits that exceed costs.

Agencies face significant incentives to expand their turf by regulating even without demonstrated need. The primary measure of an agency’s productivity—other than growth in its budget and number of employees—is the body of regulation it produces. One need not deplete too much time and energy blaming agencies for carrying out the very regulating they were set up to do in the first place.

For perspective, consider that in calendar year 2016 regulatory agencies issued 3,853 final rules, whereas the 114th Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a comparatively few 214 bills. Thus, there were 18 rules for every law in 2016 (see Figure 24). The ratio can vary widely, but the average over the decade has been 27 rules for every law. Rules issued by agencies are not usually substantively related to the current year’s laws; typically, agencies administer earlier legislation. Still, this perspective is a useful way of depicting flows and relative workloads.

Regulatory reforms that rely on agencies policing themselves will not rein in the regulatory state or fully address regulation without representation. Rather, making Congress directly answerable to voters for the costs that agencies impose on the public would best promote accountable regulation. Congress should vote on agencies’ final rules before such rules become binding on the public.

Well, why don’t they vote on agency final rules?

Concern about mounting national debt incentivizes Congress to regulate rather than to increase government spending to accomplish policy ends.

By regulating instead of spending, government can expand almost indefinitely without explicitly taxing anybody one extra penny.

This creates unfunded liabilities. Leaving the people regulated to fund the regulation. Congress could pass a law intending to reduce homicides in the US by requiring an increase of police officers per square mile of city area to match New York’s successful program of 119 officers per square mile.. This would require, for example, a doubling of Chicago’s police force according to a posting by Politics & City Life titled “City Size and Police Presence.” This might be a great idea, but either fund it or let the people in Chicago decide if they want to double the police force.

Affirmation of new major regulations would ensure that Congress bears direct responsibility for every dollar of new regulatory costs. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS) Act (H.R. 26, S. 21), sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), offers one such approach. It would require Congress to vote on all economically significant agency regulations—those with estimated annual costs of $100 million or more. It has passed the House in the current and three previous congressional sessions but has not moved forward in the Senate.

Congressional rather than agency approval of regulations and regulatory costs should be the goal of reform. When Congress ensures transparency and disclosure and finally assumes responsibility for the growth of the regulatory state, the resulting system will be one that is fairer and more accountable to voters.

Please read the entire CEI report by clicking here.

cbdakota

Federal Regulations And Intervention Cost American Consumers And Businesses $1.9 trillion In 2016.”


President Trump says he wants to drain the SWAMP.  When I think of draining the swamp, I think of shrinking the government.  Specifically aimed at getting rid of the many bureaucrats that are virtually a law unto themselves.  They are not working to carry out the Executive and Legislative wishes, but rather to impose their agendas. They do this by co-opting legislative authority though regulations and rulemaking and by employing “red tape” to detour the executive intentions.   (This is often known as the Deep State.)

The Competitive Enterprise Institute(CEI)’s Vice President for Policy and the US economy, Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr. produces an annual survey of the size and scope and cost of federal regulations. Then that is translated into how those regulations affect the American consumers, business and the US economy. Crews reports that “Federal regulations and intervention cost American consumers and businesses $1.9 trillion in 2016.”

 

Crews’ effort is captured in the following posting “Ten Thousand Commandments 201: A Fact Sheet”:

Federal government spending, deficits, and the national debt are staggering, but so is the impact of federal regulations. Unfortunately, regulations get little attention in policy debates because, unlike taxes, they are unbudgeted, difficult to quantify, and their effects are often indirect. By making Washington’s rules and mandates more comprehensible, Crews underscores the need for more review, transparency, and accountability for new and existing federal regulations.

The 2017 report is unique and will serve as a benchmark to measure President Trump’s efforts to cut red tape against those of his predecessors. President Obama’s final year in office showed a regulatory surge. Will Trump keep his promise and slam the breaks on overregulation?

 

Highlights from the 2017 edition include:

 Federal regulations and intervention cost American consumers and businesses $1.9 trillion in 2016. When you add the taxpayer dollars government agencies spent administering these regulations, the total cost of the regulatory state reached $1.963 trillion last year.

 Federal regulation is a hidden tax that amounts to nearly $15,000 per U.S. household each year.

 In 2016, 214 laws were enacted by Congress during the calendar year, while 3,853 rules were issued by agencies. Thus, 18 rules were issued for every law enacted last year.

If it were a country, U.S. federal regulation would be the world’s seventh-largest economy, ranking behind India and ahead of Italy. 

    Many Americans are concerned about their annual tax burden, but total regulatory costs exceeded the $1.92 trillion the IRS collected in both individual and corporate income taxes in 2016.

 Some 60 federal departments, agencies, and commissions have 3,318 regulations in development at various stages in the pipeline.

The five most active rulemaking entities–the Departments of the Treasury, Interior, Transportation, Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency–account for 1,428 rules, or 43 percent of all federal regulations, under consideration.

 The 2016 Federal Register contains 95,894 pages, the highest level in its history and 19 percent higher than the previous year’s 80,260 pages.

 Last year, the Obama administration averaged 86 “major” rules, a 36 percent higher average annual output than that of George W. Bush. Obama issued 685 major rules during his term, compared with Bush’s 505.

 

That is quick look at the Federal regulations and intervention that cost American consumers and businesses $1.9 trillion in 2016.

Deplorable!

Crews has some ideas, worthy of consideration, on how to fix this major, and growing problem.  That’s next.

cbdakota

Correcting Harmful Wind Energy-Related Policies


The following are 5  Master Resource postings examining opportunities of the Trump Administration to correct harmful wind energy-related policies,

 

U.S. Wind Energy Policy: Correcting the Abuse in 100 Days (Part I)      2/2/17

https://www.masterresource.org/wind-power-federal-laws/us-wind-policy-reform-100-days-i/

 

Federal Energy Efficiency Mandates: DOE’s End Run vs. the Public Interest (Part II)

By Mark Krebs and Tom Tanton — January 31, 2017

https://www.masterresource.org/department-of-energymoniz/eere-end-run-ii/

 

Big Wind: Threat to Air Navigation, Military Assets (Part III)

By Lisa Linowes — February 16, 2017

https://www.masterresource.org/windpower-vs-radar/wind-versus-radar-iii/

 

DOE: Breaking the Federal Arm of the Wind Industry (Part IV)

By Lisa Linowes — February 23, 2017

https://www.masterresource.org/department-of-energymoniz/doe-breaking-federal-wind-iv/

 

Wind Energy and Aviation Safety (Part V)                        3/02/17

https://www.masterresource.org/windpower-safety-issues/wind-aviation-safety-v/

 

cbdakota

Is The Paris Agreement Realistic? Part 1 Background


Time for some background on the Paris Agreement (PA) that was adopted by consensus in December of 2015 at the 21st Conference of Parties (21COP), a UN organization.  These COP meetings are gatherings of warmers, NGOs, and politicians (seeking to tax and regulate their citizens) usually at some exotic place. The attendance is in the 20,000 range, most of them traveling to Bali or the like in fossil fuel powered jet airplanes in order to attend several weeks of meetings in large air conditioned rooms. A little bit of hypocrisy on display, perhaps.

The objective for the PA in general is described by Wiki as follows:

“(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;

(b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;

(c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.”

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What Do Scientist Say About Man-Made Global Warming?


 

Richard Lindzen, (Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT) discusses the beliefs of three groups.  Group 1 are the IPCC scientist that believe that CO2 emissions are causing global warming.  Group 2 are scientist that are typical called skeptic and Group 3 are the politicians, media and environment groups plus some hangers-on’s.

Lindzen asks “where do we really stand on the issue of Global Warming”, and discusses this in the following video:

 

 

 cbdakota

For The Left, The NGOs and The Technical Societies, The Battle Over EPA Regulations Is All About Money


The EPA has been overstepping its authority. This has led to regulations that are unnecessary, burdensome and often not in concert with bills passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. At times, the EPA has been acting as a law making body, which is beyond their authority.  The current Administration intends to correct this situation.

gore-making-money

As the Administration undertakes this task, the Left will mount a campaign intended to defeat the Administrations objestives.  The Left will tell you that the Administration is going to poison your children, make all rivers a sewer, make the air you breathe toxic and Earth will be destroyed by catastrophic climate change. None of which is true.  The media of course will join in and support anything the Left says.  They will report about someone who is supposed to be suffering because of the actions of the Administration. They will ignore the many who are able now make a success of their business as the useless regulations are canceled. The left knows they will miss their opportunity to tax and regulate if the Administration is successful.

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Cap And Trade Group (RGGI) Overstates Its Accomplishments


The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, aka Reggie) has posted “New Study: Carbon Cap and Trade Has Saved Lives”.  (The  RGGI posting can be seen at the end of this posting.).  RGGI has a membership of nine states, that have collectively set caps on greenhouse gas emissions.    RGGI states that they have cut emissions by 37%, lowered electricity prices, saved lives and improved the health of vast number of people.  Actually the emission cut is essentially too tiny to measure in the big picture.   Data from the US Department of Energy makes the claim of lower electricity prices questionable and the improved health unsubstantiated.  Let’s examine RGGI’s  claims.

The following chart has been prepared using data from  the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

CO2 Emission in millions of metric tons.   Data from Department of Energy,      
State 2008 2014               %                delta, metric tons
Connecticut 37.7 35.1 -7 -2.6
Delaware 16.2 13.3 -18 -2.9
Maine 19.1 16.6 -13 -2.5
Maryland 73.8 61.5 -17 -12.8
Massachusetts 76.7 63.9 -17 -13.1
New Hampshire 18.7 15 -20 -3.7
New York 190 169.7 -11 -20.3
Rhode Island 10.7 10.6 -1 -0.1
Vermont 5.9 5.9 0 0
RGGI CO2 EMISSIONS 448.8 391.6 -12.3 -58
US CO2 EMISSIONS** 6022 5489 -8.9 -533
GLOBAL CO2 EMISSIONS** 29728 33355 12.2 3627
** 2007 rather than 2008

The nine States that make up the RGGI are listed.  RGGI’s stated goal  is to reduce emissions from fossil fuel powered electrical generation facilities.  The numbers in the above chart are for the all sources of CO2 emissions in each state. The period from 2008 to 2014 is used because that is the range used in the current (September 2016) RGGI report: “The Investment of RGGI Proceeds Through

The total reduction of CO2 emissions for the RGGI group States for the period from 2008 to 2014 are 58 million metric tons.  That looks impressive but in the big picture, it is a drop in vast atmospheric ocean.  During the time that these 58 million metric tons were not emitted, the global addition was estimated at somewhere around 210,ooo million metric tons.  The net effect is too small to  measure.  The EIA estimates that China and India will emit 11,460 million metric tons of CO2 in 2017 and they are forecast at 11,705 million in 2018.  And former President Obama signed a pact with China that allows them to continue increasing their emissions until 2030 while the US is to reduce its emissions some twenty percent.  Isn’t that a “great” deal?

The RGGI is a “cap and trade” program.  When the US Congress rejected a “cap and trade” program sponsored by ex President Obama, these States developed the RGGI program which was fully operable by 2008.  They reduce the amount of CO2 each year that these power plants can emit.  The reduction has varied but is nominally about 3% per year. If other facilities in their States have a CO2 baseline than exceeds their needs, they can sell it through RGGI to the highest bidder.   These “CO2 allowance”  sold last year at about $3.30/ton.   The income from these sales so far is about $2.5billion. Obviously, this is a State revenue scheme.  RGGI uses this money to insulate homes, put in renewable energy systems, help some people pay their power bills among other things.  In 2014, paying the bills of low income families was nearly non-existent except in Vermont where 98% of their share of the income from sales of CO2 Allowances was used to help single family homes with bills and home efficiency improvements.  It appears that RGGI’s installation of renewable energy systems are a major user of the funds from sales of CO2 Allowances.  So, they probably off-set the cost of installation of solar cells., for example.  One of the States has just set up a deal with Solar One to install these systems. Most of the installations of roof top solar systems that I have  seen are made in communities where affluent people live.  Are the wealthy benefiting the most from RGGI’s programs?

The RGGI posting also said that “Recent assessments of the program have shown none of the negative economic impacts that some feared at the outset.  In contrast, economies in RGGI states have actually grown faster than in other states. Electricity costs have declined by a few percent, on average .”

Using the EIA data for the Average Price Electricity to Ultimate Customer by End Use Sectors for the YEAR 2015—Cents per Kilowatt-hour we constructed this chart:

STATE Residential* Commercial Industrial Transport
Connecticut 20.94 15.97 12.95 13.18
Massachusetts 19.83 15.79 13.54 7.76
Rhode Island 19.29 15.78 13.76 18.54
New York 18.54 15.31 6.31 12.95
New Hampshire 18.50 14.96 12.74 —–
Vermont 17.09 14.54 10.27 —–
California 16.99 15.73 12.17 8.99
New Jersey 15.81 12.79 10.64 10.25
Maine 15.61 12.47 9.05 ——
Michigan 14.42 10.55 7.02 11.44
Wisconsin 14.11 10.89 7.58 14.66
Maryland 13.82 11.00 8.53 8.34
Pennsylvania 13.64 9.60 7.20 7.28
Delaware 13.42 10.25 8.28 —–
\

In Bold are the 9 RGGI States. 

New Jersey, once in the RGGI, dropped out.

(*Beginning with Connecticut, these 14 States have the highest residential rates in the continental US.  (Hawaii and Alaska are the only other States with higher residential rates.)

There must be other things going on to make the statement that the RGGI States “economies are growing faster than in other states.”  It does not look like the electricity prices would be favorable.  I am surprised that the prices for 6 of the RGGI States are higher than those in California.

Another part of the posting by RGGI alleged health benefits.

The following are the health benefits that RGGI lists in their posting:

“Abt Associates used mathematical models to estimate the scale of such health benefits, and found that RGGI has averted:

  • 300 – 830 premature adult deaths
  • 35 – 390 heart attacks
  • 8,200 – 9,900 asthma exacerbations
  • 13,000 – 16,000 respiratory illnesses”

 

Models!!  UGH!   Anyway, the EPA has a model based upon some secret science that generates these figures. It is 2.5 micron particles that are inhaled that are supposed to cause these health issues.  The EPA is using this secret science to try to put out of existence, all fossil fuel generated electricity.  The EPA has issued regulations that are called the Clean Power Plan. These regulations have been  stayed by several courts.   The Courts along with President Trump’s support, may withdraw the Clean Power Plan.

Before delving into the secret science, let’s lok at what a stretch RGGI is making.  The atmosphere is well mixed and CO2 and these 2.5 micron particles are pretty much in the same amounts in most places around the world. So, it is unlikely that the atmosphere in the RGGI regions is any different from any place else. Nothing the RGGI is doing can be having a measurable effect on the air the people breath, hence the claim is not viable. Remember how small the actual RGGI emission reduction is.

I have made two postings on the Clean Power Plan.  The EPA claims  mercury and 2.5 micron particles are dangerous .  Thus they must be removed from the emissions by fossil fuel (particularily coal) electrical generating plants.  The EPA limit on mercury lacks a good scientific basis.  Click here to review my posting on mercury.   The following is from one of my  posting on the 2.5-micron particle which discusses the secret science the EPA is using.  Cllick here to read it in its entiretly.

———————————————————————————————–

In this case the toxins are particulate matter—2.5microns (PM2.5) or smaller in diameter.   For perspective, how big is a 2.5micron particle? 2.5 microns are equal to 0.00025 centimeters or 0.000099 inches. Yes, you are right, you can’t see them.

The EPA touts a study that says PM2.5 is dangerous, but they won’t share all the study data with anyone. Thus, no other science body can confirm or deny the studies results.  Secret Science. We are told we must take their word for it.

The EPA found it necessary to get a friendly team to do this study because other work, including some of their own, shows no harm. This particular study group has done “friendly” work for the EPA and the American Lung Association. One of principal authors has received over $31 million in payments from the EPA for his studies.   (No energy company can match the EPA and other government bodies when it comes to paying for studies.) The study is called the Harvard 6 Cities Study and this is what Dr Battig** said about it in his posting on WUWT titled “A Physician’s Perspective on the EPA’s “Data Derangement Syndrome”:

“The Harvard Six Cities Study (Laden et al 2006) forms the scientific basis for much of the EPA claims regarding PM toxicology. Yet examination of the data shows that the statistical relative risk (RR) for total mortality claims range from below one to barely above one and a fraction. They do not meet the minimum legal standard of a RR of 2 to identify a significant population risk. In addition, these Harvard studies have walled-off their raw clinical data from independent investigators by claiming patient confidentiality, thereby preventing duplication of results by others. Independent reproducibility and verification of test results are the traditional hallmarks of scientific research. Invoking patient confidentiality to block access to raw data casts doubt on the entire process since providing such patient protection is not particularly difficult.”

Not only will they not allow examination of all the data, the study’s RR does not meet minimum legal standards and yet they want to impose it on us.

Dr Battig adds this:

“The EPA has been conducting controlled human exposure studies to air pollutants on the University of North Carolina campus for more than thirty years. During that time more than six-thousand volunteers have been studied without a single serious adverse event being observed…so is there a health problem to investigate or not? How much more testing looking to define a disease? It looks more like a disease concept in search of a susceptible victim”.

At the 10th International Conference on Climate Change, Dr Battig; Scientific Integrity Institute President James Enstrom; and S. Stanley Young, a fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science did an outstanding panel discussion on this topic.

News.heartland.org posted “Conference Panelists Criticize EPA Health Scares” written by ALYSSA CARDUCCI carried this insight from S Stanley Young:

“After examining reams of data, Young concluded the threats of air pollution, PM2.5, and ozone contributing to deaths are “imaginary”.

Young received “the biggest data sets on the planet” to study the effects of air pollution on human health in California. The dataset included 13 years of data on eight California air basins and daily electronic death certificates equaling more than two million certificates and a total of 37,000 days of exposure.

Using standard statistical techniques, Young and two other statisticians found there were “no acute or chronic effect on deaths in California.”

“I call this a fact,” Young said. “We have the biggest data set on the planet for looking at this, and there is no effect.

“If air pollution was a killer, it would be killing everywhere, and the fact that we’ve established that it’s not killing in California puts every other paper at risk for the claims that they have made,” Young said.

Dr Battig adds:

“In view of EPA PM2.5 mortality claims at 35µg/m3, why are airport smokers and the Shanghai population not dropping dead on the spot? Airport smoker lounges have ambient levels of 600µg to 10,000µg PM2.5. A single draw on a cigarette floods a smoker’s lungs with 10,000µg to 40,000µg. The Shanghai press reports PM outdoor levels of 600µg/m3. It also reports that the average life expectancy there is 82.5 years…a life expectancy greater than any major U.S. city. Where are the overflowing emergency rooms and mortuaries?”

It’s clear that the EPA doesn’t have science to support this bill. Extensive testing by the EPA and in California for just two examples, show no correlation between PM2.5 and “premature death” or apparently, any deaths. The study they are using is by scientists that seem to be bought by the EPA. And obviously, they know that the study data cannot stand the light of day, hence it becomes another use of SECRET SCIENCE.

My take on RGGI is that it really has not done much for what they set out to do, and that was to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. Perhaps they recognized the futility of that objective and decided that the tax would work out just fine.  One more bureaucracy taxing and regulating.  Would it not have been better to just lower the price of electricity and rather than collecting money and trying to pick winners and losers?

The thrust of the posting by RGGI (see it in its entirety below)  was that they were saving lives.  Firstly, the basis for the saving lives is some secret science that would not need to be secret if was actually verifiable.  Secondly, the actual reduction of CO2 and related emissions is too small to have any effect what so ever.  Thirdly, because the atmosphere is well mixed, there never will be a pocket of significantly cleaner air just over the RGGI States.

cbdakota

** Dr Charles Battig resume

Charles Battig

Charles Battig is a retired physician with a postgraduate degree in electrical engineering. In the 1960s he served as principal scientist in bio-medical monitoring systems at North American Aviation Los Angeles in support of the Apollo Moon Mission. From 1967 to 1969, he held the rank of senior surgeon/commander in the U.S. Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, in the biomedical engineering branch. Following teaching appointments in anesthesiology at UCLA and Mt. Sinai,New York, he entered the private practice of anesthesiology until retirement. After re-settling in the Charlottesville, Virginia area, he undertook to provide an alternate voice on climate change issues in the backyard of the University of Virginia, the former home of both Patrick Michaels and Michael Mann.

———————————————————————————————

New Study: Carbon Cap And Trade Has Saved Lives

By HEATHER GOLDSTONE  18 HOURS AGO

Living Lab on The Point

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CREDIT BY UNITED STATES NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: HEART, LLUNG AND BLOOD INSTITUTE [PUBLIC DOMAIN], VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A new study this week finds that a regional carbon cap and trade system has saved hundreds of lives and billions of dollars for New Englanders. Officials from the nine participating states are currently working out the future of the program.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced Reggie, for short) began in 2009. There are nine member states – all six New England states, plus New York, Delaware, and Maryland – that collectively set caps on greenhouse gas emissions, and then auctions off allowances for power plants to produce such carbon emissions. To date, participating states have cut emissions by 37% – two and a half times more than non-RGGI states.

Recent assessments of the program have shown none of the negative economic impacts that some feared at the outset. In contrast, economies in RGGI states have actually grown faster than in other states. Electricity costs have declined by a few percent, on average. And, the cap and trade program has generated $2.5 billion in revenue for participating states.

Now, a new study says it has also produced health benefits. It’s a logical conclusion; power plants that emit greenhouse gases also produce particulate air pollution that is linked to adverse health effects, such as asthma, respiratory illnesses, and heart attacks. Conversely, limits on greenhouse gas emissions would be expected to reduce air pollution and their related health impacts.

Abt Associates used mathematical models to estimate the scale of such health benefits, and found that RGGI has averted:

  • 300 – 830 premature adult deaths
  • 35 – 390 heart attacks
  • 8,200 – 9,900 asthma exacerbations
  • 13,000 – 16,000 respiratory illnesses

Since people who are sick (or worse, dead) can’t work, these health benefits also have ramifications for workforce productivity. Abt Associates estimates that the avoided health problems resulted in somewhere between 39,000 and 47,000 regained work days.

Between the savings in health care costs and the restored productivity, Abt Associates says RGGI has saved participating states some $5.7 billion.

That’s one more piece of information RGGI supporters hope officials will factor in as they decide the future of the program. Current emissions caps expire in 2020, and the participating states are currently working to set new caps for 2021-2030. It had been hoped that a new plan, or at least proposal, would be in place by the end of 2016. The process has been delayed by a few months, in part to allow participating states to explore options if President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is struck down in the courts or abandoned by the incoming Trump administration.

Still, RGGI hasn’t fallen off the radar. Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to cut the RGGI carbon cap 30 percent by 2030. That would be roughly 3 percent per year between 2021 and 2030. That’s less than the 5 percent annual reduction RGGI states have been averaging since 2005.

Last fall, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker called for maintaining the annual 5 percent reductions through 2030. This week, Peter Lorenz, a spokesperson for the Baker administration, said they remain committed to RGGI and the “objective of reducing carbon emissions while stabilizing energy bills, preserving electricity system reliability, and creating local jobs and economic growth.”