Quantcast

Trump's 'Dirty Power Plan' Could Cost More Than 1,000 Lives a Year

Politics
Coal-fired power plant near Becker, Minnesota. Tony Webster / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled on Tuesday its long-anticipated replacement of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The new coal pollution rules will increase planet-warming carbon pollution and could cost more than a thousand American lives each year, according to the EPA's own estimates.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" today under President Trump's directive. The new plan encourages efficiency improvements at existing coal plants to ensure they operate longer and allows states to weaken, or even eliminate, coal emissions standards. That's a clear difference from former President Obama's plan, which was aimed at phasing out coal and transitioning to cleaner power sources to avoid dangerous climate change.


"We're ending intrusive EPA regulations that kill jobs," Trump said in a White House statement.

Wheeler said in a press release, "Today's proposal provides the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump's goal of energy dominance."

But in a damning report from The New York Times, the proposal's own fine print states, "implementing the proposed rule is expected to increase emissions of carbon dioxide and the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health."

The proposal even has a section called "foregone" climate and human health benefits, according to the Times, and projects 470 and 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 due to increased rates of PM 2.5, which are microscopic toxins from power plants, automobiles and other sources that can cause lung and heart disease.

In contrast, as the Times pointed out, the Clean Power Plan was squarely designed at protecting the climate and human health. In 2015, the Obama EPA estimated that their plan could avoid between 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths annually by 2030.

"This proposal would eliminate almost all the life-saving climate and health benefits that the Clean Power Plan provides. The Trump-Wheeler plan will mean millions of tons more air pollution endangering our kids' health, lives and future," said Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp in a statement.

Environmentalists also said the Affordable Clean Energy Rule will not survive in court.

"Trump is doubling down on our dirtiest power sources and it's going to send polar bears, ice seals and other wildlife over the edge of extinction. But like most of his environmental rollbacks, this proposal mangles the facts, the law and the science, and won't survive in court," said Vera Pardee, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement.

Similarly, Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, dubbed the proposal as the "Dirty Power Plan" and said the organization will fight the proposal "with every tool available."

"What America needs instead is an even stronger Clean Power Plan, one that will further accelerate the nation's shift to clean energy—that's how to truly protect public health, our children and future generations," she added.

The new measure, which President Trump will likely tout today at his rally in West Virginia, will be subject to a 60-day comment period.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Aerial assessment of Hurricane Sandy damage in Connecticut. Dannel Malloy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.

Read More Show Less
Giant sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park, California. lucky-photographer / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
This aerial view shows the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, one of the venues for 2019 Rugby World Cup. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.

Read More Show Less
Vera_Petrunina / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Wudan Yan

In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."

Read More Show Less
Volunteer caucasian woman giving grain to starving African children. Bartosz Hadyniak / E+ / Getty Images

By Frances Moore Lappé

Food will be scarce, expensive and less nutritious," CNN warns us in its coverage of the UN's new "Climate Change and Land" report. The New York Times announces that "Climate Change Threatens the World's Food Supply."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
British Airways 757. Jon Osborne / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Adam Vaughan

Two-thirds of people in the UK think the amount people fly should be reined in to tackle climate change, polling has found.

Read More Show Less
Climate Week NYC

On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.

Read More Show Less

By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans

Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.

Read More Show Less