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

California Condor at soaring at the Grand Canyon. Pavliha / iStock / Getty Images

North America's largest bird passed an important milestone this spring when the 1,000th California condor chick hatched since recovery efforts began, NPR reported Sunday.

Read More Show Less
The Roloway monkey has been pushed closer to extinction. Sonja Wolters / WAPCA / IUCN

The statistics around threatened species are looking grim. A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added more than 9,000 new additions to its Red List of threatened species, pushing the total number of species on the list to more than 105,000 for the first time, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images

The campaign to re-elect President Donald Trump has found a new way to troll liberals and sea turtles.

Read More Show Less
Night long exposure photograph of wildifires in Santa Clarita, California. FrozenShutter / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristy Dahl

Last week, UCS released Killer Heat, a report analyzing how the frequency of days with a dangerously hot heat index — the combination of temperature and humidity the National Weather Service calls the "feels like" temperature — will change in response to the global emissions choices we make in the coming decades.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A Zara store in Times Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Timahaowemi / CC BY-SA 3.0

Green is the new black at Zara.

The Spanish fast fashion behemoth has made a bold move to steer its industry to a more environmentally friendly future for textiles. Inditex, Zara's parent company, announced that all the polyester, cotton and linen it uses will be sustainably produced by 2025, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Whether you enjoy running recreationally, competitively, or as part of your overall wellness goals, it's a great way to improve your heart health.

Read More Show Less
Text from the plaque that will mark the site where Ok glacier once was. Rice University

By Andrea Germanos

A climate change victim in Iceland is set to be memorialized with a monument that underscores the urgent crisis.

Read More Show Less