The Trump administration announced plans on Tuesday to ease Obama-era restrictions on coal-fired power plants, but an Environmental Protection Agency analysis of the new rules said they would increase carbon emissions and could cause up to 1,400 premature deaths each year.
Compared to the previous plan, “implementing the proposed rule is expected to increase emissions of carbon dioxide and increase the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health,” the EPA said in its analysis, which was first reported by the New York Times.
The Trump administration’s plan, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, rolls back many of the protections from Obama’s Clean Power Plan that sought to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants and shift incentives to cleaner sources of energy.
Trump’s regulations would allow the states rather than the federal government to create emission standards.
In the scenario that most states would likely adopt, the EPA predicts that between 470 and 1,400 premature deaths would occur every year by 2030 because of the release of microscopic particulates linked to asthma and bronchitis.
The Obama administration argued that its Clean Power Plan would have helped avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths each year in that same time period, the Times reported.
The White House heralded the new rules because they would “decrease bureaucratic red tape” while keeping energy affordable.
Compared to Obama’s plan, Trump’s would reduce compliance costs by up to $6.4 billion.
“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,” acting administrator of the EPA Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, released a statement on Twitter saying Trump’s rules are a “declaration of war against America and all of humanity.”
Trump’s regulations have to go through a 60-day public comment period before they are finalized.
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