LETTER: Don’t Undermine Environmental Protections

By Beacon Staff

I’m very concerned about members of the Montana Legislature and Congress who are working to undermine our environmental protections, including the Clean Air Act. These leaders use the excuse that environmental regulations hurt the economy and are bad for business. As a Montana businessperson, I disagree.

Having 30 years experience in the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration industry, an industry which has been regulated by the EPA under the Clean Air Act since 1993, I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact and innovation that regulation compliance has created. It was difficult at first, but after many years it seems crazy that anyone would intentionally vent refrigerants into the atmosphere. The simple fact was “we didn’t know.” The chlorine molecules in many of the refrigerants attacked the ozone in the upper levels of the atmosphere and led to ozone depletion. The chemists that came up with these mixtures way back when had no way of knowing what they were unleashing.

The Clean Air Act has resulted in better refrigerants and more efficient equipment, thus saving consumers energy and money. According to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the total economic benefits of the Clean Air Act are four to eight times greater than the costs of compliance with clean air regulations. That’s the simple math of the matter. On top of that, there are the tremendous health benefits of clean air, allowing all of us to live healthier and longer lives.

Our leaders should support commonsense regulations, which benefit our health and economy.

Bill Yarus