A report from the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges that its own plan to roll back regulations on greenhouse gas emissions will cause up to 1,630 premature deaths by 2030, as a result of heart and lung diseases, according to Bloomberg. Within the 289 pages of a technical document alongside the agency’s proposal to replace Obama’s Clean Power Plan, they admit that particulate matter would cause an additional 240 to 1,400 deaths, while ozone gases would cause an additional 6 to 230. Independent experts generally believe these estimates are on the low end.
The Trump administration plan would allow states to choose their own limits of power emissions, despite their link to asthma and other respiratory issues.
Conrad Schneider, Clean Air Task Force’s advocacy director, told Bloomberg by email:
“The Trump EPA once again proves that it cares more about extending the lives of old coal plants rather than saving the lives of the American people. The result will actually be more pollution and unnecessary loss of life.”
In addition, the report said the plan would lead to up to 96,000 additional cases of exacerbated asthma, 48,000 missed days of work, 140,000 missed school days, and 26,000 more instances of respiratory symptoms.
The numbers represent a lower estimate than earlier predictions by the agency, estimating just last October that such a plan could lead to a total of 4,500 more premature deaths.
Obama’s EPA moved to limit soot pollution from coal plants, arguing that the particulate matter damages lungs, and even enters into the bloodstream where it can worsen respiratory and cardiac disease, even proving fatal in some cases.
According to the agency, their view of the proposal “looks at costs and benefits compared to the world as it is,” without considering it in relation to future projections of the results of the Clean Power Plan. For the moment, the Supreme Court has stopped the regulation from taking effect while legal challenges are addressed. The agency notes that more lives will be saved by the Trump administration plan than would be saved by no power emissions plan at all.
However, the EPA does acknowledge that the new plan will “increase the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health,” relative to the Obama-era plan.
Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the new plan would allow “the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump’s goal of energy dominance.”