Speed Reads

War on Coal

Trump's new coal-friendly power plan will cause up to 1,400 early deaths a year, Trump's EPA says

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency released the details of President Trump's replacement for his predecessor's Clean Power Plan, and along with it, Trump's EPA also released its analysis of the effects of the new Affordable Clean Energy rule. Under the most likely scenario, the EPA found, Trump's plan will lead to up to 1,400 premature American deaths a year by 2030 due to the increase in fine particulate matter in the air, plus as many as 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory problems, 48,000 new cases of "exacerbated asthma," and at least 21,000 more missed school days.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained the health issues on CNN:

Trump's rollback of the Clean Power Plan will allow states greater leeway to keep open coal-fired energy plants, a point Trump made at a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday night. "We love clean, beautiful West Virginia coal," he said, extolling the combustible mineral's superiority to less "indestructible" alternatives like windmills, gas, and solar energy. He did not mention the health costs. EPA air chief William Wehrum, a former coal industry lawyer, did acknowledge the plan's "collateral effects" on health Tuesday but said the EPA has "abundant legal authority to deal with those other pollutants directly."

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who finalized the Clean Power Plan, disagreed, calling Trump's alternative "just another step in industry's playbook to dismantle regulations that they find inconvenient but are absolutely essential for our public health and our kids' future." Under the same type of analysis used by Trump's EPA, the Obama-era agency found that the Clean Power Plan would prevent 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths a year by 2030. In a New York Times video op-ed, former coal miner Nick Mullins says the health costs should bury Trump's attempts to salvage a dying coal industry. Watch below. Peter Weber