Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, dead set on repealing the Clean Power Plan, is ignoring his own agency’s findings on the devastating effects of allowing the energy industry to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Career scientists at the EPA estimate that by 2030, the Clean Power Plan would reduce carbon pollution from electric utilities by 32 percent from 2005 levels. The regulations, they found, would also keep 870 million tons of carbon pollution from being released into the atmosphere.
It also cited several public health findings, including:
- An estimate that by 2030 that the Clean Power Plan would prevent between 1,500 and 3,600 premature deaths from exposure to particulate pollution and ozone
- Reduced exposure to those same pollutants under the plan, the EPA concluded, would prevent 90,000 asthma attacks in children, up to 1,700 heart attacks, and 300,000 missed school and work days
- The agency also determined that 318,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 282,000 tons of nitrogen dioxide would be kept out of the atmosphere under the plan. These are the pollutants to create soot and smog that make people sick, and would result in a combined 20 percent reduction over 2005 levels
Besides the health benefits, the EPA also found the measure to be cost-effective: For every dollar of federal money spent on the issue, the average American family would see an estimated $4 in health benefits.
Even so, that’s just the tip of the iceberg — ozone and particulate pollution are not the most deadly aspects of atmospheric carbon; climate change is. The World Health Organization estimates that at this rate, approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050, from heat stress, malnutrition, malaria, and diarrhea.
But today, the EPA page on the human health implications of climate change is down. It’s currently being updated to “to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.”
The state of the environment hasn’t gotten better in the the three years since the Clean Power Plan was announced. All that’s changed is that Scott Pruitt now leads the EPA.