March 29, 2013- Mark Modica, Associate Fellow of the National Legal and Policy Center, debated Dan Weiss, Sr. Fellow of the Center for American Progress. Host is Gerri Willis of the Willis Report on Fox Business Network. Below is a transcript:
Gerri Willis: Well, the Environmental Protection Agency proposing new standards for cars and gas. But will these higher standards lead to higher prices at the pump. Here to weigh in, Mark Modica, associate fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center and Dan Weiss, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Dan, to you first, we know that the EPA wants to reduce sulfur by sixty percent in gas and now we hear that this is going to have a cost at the gas pump. One penny per gallon, according to the EPA, up to nine cents according to the American Petroleum Institute. Dan, who is right? That is a big gap.
Dan Weiss: Well, first of all, it is important to remember why the EPA is proposing this. This is to protect the lungs and health of our children and our senior citizens and other people with respiratory ailments. This would be like taking the pollution from 30 million cars off the road. It will prevent thousands of asthma attacks every year and thousands of premature deaths every year. It is estimated that for every dollar in cleanup costs, it will generate health care funding the.
Gerri Willis: So much for my question, I mean, my question, why the big difference in estimates?
Dan Weiss: Well, you know, big oil companies made similar predictions about the last time that the EPA tried to clean up gasoline. And those predictions are wrong. But you know what, Gerri? Even if they are right, let’s say…
Gerri Willlis: I think I’m going to get…
Dan Weiss: …let me finish. Let’s say big oil is right, the average American uses 10 gallons of gasoline a week, which means that it would be a ninety-cent a week increase to get twenty thousand
Gerri Willis: Let’s give Mark a chance to get on in here. You know, I have read that we have already reduced sulfur emissions by ninety percent. How far do we want to go? I mean, are we going to make it go away? I don’t understand where is the end of this.
Mark Modica: Well, I saw those same statistics, 90 percent since two thousand and four. It has been reduced at the cost of ten billion dollars. And that is great, we should try to protect the environment. You know, first off, I don’t know why we have to address this since we were all supposed to be driving electric cars in ten or twenty years. I guess that is not working out too well for the green crowd. So now we’re back to talking about big oil and how the evil big oil is killing the senior citizens and people with respiratory problems. The problem in this country now isn’t people dying from air pollution. People can afford to pay for the price of gas. And once again, the green agenda is funded with other people’s money. If it’s nine cents a gallon more, it’s too much.
Gerri Willis: All right. Let’s get Dan in to talk about this. Because I think this is really a legitimate issue here. Because look what Mark is saying is that this should not be priority number one in this country. Priority number one in this country should be more about getting people back to work. It should be about having people having affordable lives. It seems to me that there is no end to the demands from the environmentalists. It’s not that you really want to lower sulfur, it’s that you want to get rid of fossil fuels altogether. I mean, really, isn’t that right, Dan?
Dan Weiss: That is just a silly straw person argument. In fact…
Gerri Willis: It’s not silly. A lot of people make that argument.
Dan Weiss: …You ask me a question, Gerri. You asked me a question.
Gerri Willis: I resent that. It is not a silly point at all, my friend.
Dan Weiss: Getting sulfur out of gasoline to prevent children from having asthma attacks and premature deaths has nothing to do with whether or not we get off of fossil fuels ten, twenty, or thirty years from now. That is just silly. The reality is this isn’t…
Gerri Willis: Well, we’ve given you a lot of airtime…
Dan Weiss: …let me finish. This isn’t about the environment. It’s about protecting kids’ lives.
Dan Weiss: …protecting kids’ lungs for ninety cents a week.
Mark Modica: I think Dan should contribute to maybe some type of charity for children’s asthma and spend his old money to help people. But once again, it’s always let’s spend money and this lofty speculation about how asthmatics are dying because of the remaining sulfur in gasoline. The environment has improved greatly. I’m sure there is always room for improvement. But the majority of people…
Mark Modica…don’t want to pay nine cents a gallon here.
Gerri Willis: Dan, you seem to not have your arms around the numbers here, my friend.
Dan Weiss: The smog is at unhealthy levels. Half of all Americans live in cities with smog that are at healthy levels.
Dan Weiss: Thank you for having me.
Gerri Willis: Thank you.
Dan Weiss: Thank you for having me.
Gerri Willis: All right. Some people just don’t know when to stop, do they?