Trump's Affordable Clean Energy Rule Could Cause up to 1,400 Deaths

Trump's Affordable Clean Energy Rule Could Cause up to 1,400 Deaths

The EPA’s new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule “empowers states, promotes energy independence, and facilitates economic growth and job creation.” It could also lead to up to 1,400 premature deaths.

Every President inevitably staffs federal agencies with their own people, and Trump’s EPA is no different – the Acting Administrator, Andrew R. Wheeler, was legal counsel for coal producer Murray Energy, lobbied against climate regulations, and is Vice President of the Washington Coal Club. Fair to say Wheeler supports Trump’s environmental agenda, which frequently mentions a “war on coal.”

But even Wheeler’s EPA couldn’t hide the potential fall-out from repealing Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which the current EPA describes as “overly prescriptive and burdensome.” Last Tuesday, the EPA released a detailed analysis of the ACE rule which predicts up to 1,400 premature deaths by 2030.

Trump’s Executive Order 13873 had directed Federal agencies to “review burdensome regulations,” consistent with the Clean Air Act, and ACE was the result.

“EPA has an important role when it comes to addressing the CO2 from our nation’s power plants,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum. “The ACE rule would fulfill this role in a manner consistent with the structure of the Clean Air Act while being equally respectful of its bounds.”

Amongst other things, ACE would “reduce the compliance burden” by up to $400 million per year when compared to CPP. But a 289-page EPA analysis of the ACE rule foresees up to 1,400 premature deaths – along with upper respiratory problems, a rise in bronchitis, and missed school days – as the result of increased fine particulate matter by 2030.

The NY Times provides a detailed analysis of the EPA’s own analysis, and supposedly, Obama’s CPP would’ve prevented 1,500-3,600 premature deaths within the same timeframe. Naturally, all these figures rely on the most dire scenarios, and Obama’s EPA was just as politically-charged as Trump’s, but I find the intersection of science and politics fascinating – in a train wreck sorta way.

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