More than a decade of research has shown this decision could cost taxpayers millions, and do very little to improve public health in America. Implementing unnecessary and misguided perchlorate standards will place staggering costs on taxpayers; industry; agriculture; and local, state and federal governments – while providing no meaningful health benefits. Additional treatment plants would have to be built and older plants retrofitted, and water supplies would not be able to meet demand. A common sense approach to perchlorate can save tax payers millions of dollars while also protecting public health.
Costs Could be Staggering
In an effort to meet misguided perchlorate standards, taxpayers; industry; agriculture; and local, state and federal governments would face staggering costs associated with a range of new treatment and remediation programs, including:
- Building new treatment plants
- Retrofitting existing treatment plants
- Buying additional water supplies
- Lowering reservoir levels
- Pumping more groundwater from existing sources
Studies have concluded that the economic benefits of reducing perchlorate concentrations in drinking water are likely to be low – less than $2.9 million annually – while the national cost of compliance with a drinking water standard is estimated to be $120 million per year. Implementing unnecessary and misguided perchlorate standards will place staggering costs on taxpayers; industry; agriculture; and local, state and federal governments – while providing no meaningful health benefits.
Impact on Local Economies
Misguided standards for perchlorate would force water supply closures, causing water shortages, particularly in drought seasons. Lack of available water would postpone or cancel plans for new housing and business centers, impacting local economies and job markets. Residential areas and businesses would suffer as water shortages would force water rationing and utility rate hikes, as has already been shown.
Impact on Agriculture
Misguided standards would hurt farmers by making their irrigation water scarcer and more expensive. Even more alarming, worried consumers across the country and abroad might avoid buying the crops these farmers grow, causing loss of farming jobs, harm to family farms, loss of jobs to foreign countries, devastation to commodity markets and closure of local agricultural businesses. If farmers are hard hit, taxpayers may have to provide additional federal financial support and the U.S. Department of Agriculture could face adverse impacts on farm exports.
Costs to Government and Taxpayers
The costs associated with a misguided federal perchlorate standard would be significant. NASA and the Department of Defense, for example, are already working to clean up perchlorate at some sites. A misguided standard could potentially double NASA's cleanup costs and contribute to additional military base closures, as bases become unusable for rocket and missile testing, combat training with live fire, etc.
As local taxpayers, governments and industry shoulder some of the cost of perchlorate removal there would be less money available for addressing genuine public health risks. Programs to help people with diabetes, cancer and other real health concerns may face funding cuts as scarce public dollars are moved into perchlorate removal projects that provide no real public health benefit.
This study was funded by Lockheed Martin, one of the members of the Perchlorate Information Bureau. Lockheed Martin did not review the manuscript of the study before its submission to Risk Analysis, which published it.
This study was commissioned and funded by Aerojet Rocketdyne and Lockheed Martin, members of the Perchlorate Information Bureau.