Annual costs and benefits of major EPA rules finalized during the Obama administration (in millions of 2010 dollars)

 Rule Costs Benefits
Revisions to the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule -99
NESHAP: Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (Diesel) 380 1,604
Light-Duty Vehicles Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and CAFÉ Standards* 4,060 14,574
Lead: Amendment to the Opt-out and Recordkeeping Provisions in the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program 354 2,282
Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Sulfur Dioxide 836 12,860
NESHAP: Portland Cement Notice of Reconsideration 1,038 13,666
NESHAP: Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines–Existing Stationary Spark Ignition (Gas-fired) 255 838
Water Quality Standards for Florida’s Lakes and Flowing Waters 171 28
SPCC milk amendments -147
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles* 606 3,129
Mercury and Air Toxics 9,993 64,020
Petroleum Refineries:  New Source Performance Standards -85 439
Light-Duty Vehicles Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and CAFÉ Standards* (2017-2025) 8,645 30,610
           Total 26,008 144,050

Notes: The table focuses on EPA rules finalized during the Obama administration that can be considered "major" (generally, with annual economic effects of $100 million or more).

The table excludes the Boiler MACT rule, which was finalized but is being reconsidered by EPA. The list also excludes the Cross-State Air Pollution rule (CSAPR), which in August the D.C. Circuit Court ruled should be vacated. The measured benefits of both rules far exceed their costs. It is unclear if EPA will appeal the CSAPR decision. In the meanwhile, the Clean Air Interstate Rule (the “CAIR” rule)—originally adopted by the George W. Bush administration, rejected by the courts in part on the grounds that it was insufficiently strong, but then reinstated by the Obama administration as part of its overall rulemaking in this area—is in effect. The net benefits from the CAIR standard now in place are estimated to amount to tens of billions of dollars per year.

The list includes three rules that have negative costs. The two Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rules have negative costs because they limit the number of businesses that have to comply with an existing rule. The Petroleum Refineries rule also has negative costs. Since the new equipment captures gas flares, the amount of gas a company captures and can sell increases; it turns out that the value of the captured gas exceeds the costs of the new equipment.

For all but three rules, the cost and benefit data come from Table D-3 of OMB’s Draft 2012 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal Entities. For the Mercury and Air Toxics, Petroleum Refineries, and Light Duty Vehicle (2017–2025) rules, the cost and benefit data come from the EPA regulatory impact analyses for the rules; when cost or benefit ranges are provided, the midpoints are used here.

View the underlying data on epi.org.