The Trump administration has hailed its overhaul of federal pollution restrictions on coal-burning power plants as creating new jobs, eliminating burdensome government regulations and ending what President Trump has long described as a “war on coal.”
The administration’s own analysis, however, revealed on Tuesday that the new rules could also lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 from an increase in the extremely fine particulate matter that is linked to heart and lung disease, up to 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory problems, a rise in bronchitis, and tens of thousands of missed school days.
Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, which crafted the regulation, said that other rules governing pollution could be used to reduce those numbers.
“We love clean, beautiful West Virginia coal,” Mr. Trump said a political rally Tuesday evening in West Virginia, the heart of American coal country. “And you know, that’s indestructible stuff. In times of war, in times of conflict, you can blow up those windmills, they fall down real quick. You can blow up pipelines, they go like this,” he said, making a hand gesture. “You can do a lot of things to those solar panels, but you know what you can’t hurt? Coal.”
Nevertheless, Tuesday’s release of the rule along with hundreds of pages of technical analysis for the first time acknowledged that the rollback of the pollution controls would also reverse the expected health gains from the tougher regulations. [Continue reading…]