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December 16, 2002
Volume 80, Number 50
CENEAR 80 50 p. 11
ISSN 0009-2347


ENVIRONMENT

U.S. Has Spent Billions To Cut Pollution

JEFF JOHNSON

Chemical manufacturers spend more than any other industrial sector to purchase and operate pollution abatement equipment, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Pollution Abatement Costs & Expenditures (PACE) survey estimates that in 1999 U.S. chemical companies spent about $3.8 billion to operate and buy new pollution abatement equipment. That breaks down to $2.81 billion to operate pollution-control equipment and $991 million in capital spending.

Looking at all U.S. companies, $11.86 billion was spent to operate pollution-abatement equipment and $5.81 billion for capital expenditures for new equipment. The survey also examined power generation and mining, but manufacturing accounted for most pollution-control spending.

Despite its size, pollution-abatement spending amounted to just 0.37% of the value of 1999 manufacturing shipments.

The survey also examined pollution-prevention spending and found chemical companies again led in spending, allocating $368 million. In all, U.S. companies spent $2.77 billion to prevent pollution.

The study is based on a detailed survey of 21,000 plants. The data are then projected to estimate the universe of U.S. companies. The PACE survey was conducted from 1973 until 1994, when the Clinton Administration killed it despite objections by economists, who said that it was the best source of pollution-spending data.

EPA provided funds for the 1999 survey, but further studies are in doubt, pending an Office of Management & Budget review, Census Bureau staff say.



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