How Does Acid Rain Affect the Economy?

Acid rain affects the economy as the U.S. Acid Rain Regulations incurs costs per ton of sulfur, as well as by increasing the cost of electricity. While initial forecasts suggested that these costs would rise to $5 billion per year in the early phases of the program, they were around $836 million per year.

At the start of the program, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that it would cost $5 billion per year between 1995 and 1999. The actual costs were $836 million per year. In addition, predictions from 2000 onwards were $6 billion per year, but most years have been half of this figure.

Electricity bills also failed to rise. In the 1990s phase of the program, they dropped slightly before rising again in the 2000s. However, in 2013 they dropped when the price of natural gas lowered. Concerns that it would impact jobs were also unfounded, as over 21 million jobs were added to the economy during the 1990s.

While there has been some impact on the economy, this program has experienced environmental benefits. By 2009, sulfur emissions had dropped by one-third compared to 1990. Some of the biggest drops occurred in the northeast, where ecological impacts were at their worst. This process has had a positive effect on waterways.