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Clean Air

Mises Daily: Sunday, August 02, 1998 by

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From Patrick Weinert, The Free Market, September 1998:

"Government standards for air quality have not only threatened the health of American citizens, they have actually increased public exposure to pollutants.

"Air conditioning provides not just cool air, but cleaner air, as well. The fine particles that the EPA wants to regulate are actually filtered out by air conditioning.

"The average citizen spends 90% of his time indoors. The quality of indoor air is much more important to human health than outdoor air. The 70% of Americans with air conditioning benefit from far less exposure to fine particles because of air conditioning's filtering capacity.

"But if the EPA is forcing the cost of electricity higher through decrees for pollution abatement, it is exposing more citizens to the very outdoor air pollution it wants to protect them from, since higher costs will make consumers less likely to use their air conditioners.

"By attempting to control pollution with arbitrary standards, government prevents entrepreneurs from employing resources efficiently.

"If federal regulators really desire fresh air, then they need to take a fresh approach: repeal the Clean Air Act, permit pollution disputes to be settled through tort lawsuits, and allow entrepreneurs in the free market to continue seeking pollution reduction through efficient resource allocation."

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