Boxer vows bill to address lowered statistical value of human life

The chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, California Democrat Barbara Boxer, is vowing to introduce legislation to address U.S. EPA's statistical value of human lives if reports about the agency dropping the value of each life by nearly $1 million year are confirmed.

EPA set the value of a statistical life at $6.9 million in today's dollars in May, a nearly $1 million decline from five years ago, the Associated Press reported last week.

That value could significantly affect environmental regulations. EPA uses the value of human life when deciding whether the lifesaving benefits of a regulation outweigh the economic costs of the rule.

"The EPA's decision to reduce the value of a human life when they consider the benefits of new environmental regulations is outrageous and must be reversed," Boxer said in a statement. "EPA may not think Americans are worth all that much, but the rest of us believe the value of an American life to our families, our communities, our workplaces and our nation is no less than it has ever been."

EPA has said the change was minor and was based on economics (Greenwire, July 11).

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