Rep. Hank Johnson, who’s probably most famous for his concern about the island of Guam tipping over due to large numbers of military personnel on the island, has made a statement that’s not as glaringly dumb…but it’s not far behind when you look at the numbers. You see, Johnson was talking about Republican efforts to take a long, hard look at environmental regulations that they claim has caused increases in energy costs as well as the corollary impact on business.
“Since 1970, the Clean Air Act has reduced toxic and health-threatening air pollution by 60 percent while our economy has grown more than 200 percent,” Johnson said, and he’s essentially right. PolitiFact took a look and found that his numbers are essentially dead on. So what’s the problem? Well, only that it looks like growth was better before the Clean Air Act.
Johnson’s statement seems to imply that the Clean Air Act did not hurt the economy or even helped it. Wallace wasn’t sure a direct correlation can be made.
She researched GDP 10 years before the Clean Air Act passed and the 40 years since and concluded that the average annual growth was greater before 1970. “It’s kind of difficult to say it’s directly related,” Wallace told us.