Clean Air Regulations to Create 1.5M Jobs, Report Finds

An upcoming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal that will mandate air pollution laws for industrial facilities could create 1.5 million jobs over the next five years, according to a new report.

The study by Ceres and the Political Economy Research Institute claims that the new federal regulations will generate engineering, construction and pipefitting positions as facilities work to meet pollution standards and as older, inefficient plants are dismantled.

“New Jobs – Cleaner Air” predicts $200 billion in capital improvements in the electric power industry in the 36 Eastern states over the next five years.

The report flies in the face of the frequent objection by Republicans that a shift to clean energy would be “job killing,” forcing coal industry workers out of employment.

“The bottom line: clean air is a worthwhile investment,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, as quoted by AP.

Most of the 1.46 million jobs created over the next five years would be temporary, related to power industry investment in the construction of new facilities.

But the clean air regulations would trigger more than 2,000 permanent positions in operations and maintenance, according to the report released Tuesday at the 2011 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference in Washington, D.C.

The new EPA regulations – designed to reduce smog-causing emissions in the East, reduce mercury output, and curtail other harmful pollutants – are expected to be finalized later this year.

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