EPA admits Trump would sacrifice thousands of U.S. lives to save a few coal plants

Joe Romm

Joe Romm Founding Editor, Think Progress

President Trump’s own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conceded Tuesday that replacing President Obama’s climate plan for electric utilities with his new plan will be a public health disaster and cost the economy billions.

Obama’s original “Clean Power Plan” would significantly reduce both carbon pollution and many toxic pollutants, including fine particulate matter and ozone smog.

Trump’s new “Affordable Clean Energy Plan” proposes to scuttle the Obama plan and replace it with a mostly voluntary call to utilities to slightly increase the efficiency of their coal plants.

But buried deep in the EPA’s new 289-page “Regulatory Impact Analysis,” are tables that make clear that Trump’s new plan will kill tens of thousands of Americans and make millions sicker in the coming decades.

Or, as the Trump plan euphemistically describes it, the plan will lead to “Forgone Human Health Ancillary Co-Benefits.”

For instance, by 2030, replacing Obama’s plan with Trump’s plan will lead to up to 120,000 more cases of worsened asthma a year. Sicker kids mean up to 140,000 more school absence days each year.

The extra pollution will prematurely kill up 1,400 more Americans from particulates and up to 230 from ozone each year.

It’s worth noting, however, that these numbers for death and sickness and lost school and work time are considerably lower than the estimates Trump’s EPA made just last October, when they concluded that undoing Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) will mean up to 4,500 more premature deaths a year starting in 2030.

The EPA appears to also have lowered the benefits of Obama’s Clean Power Plan — and “the projected cost of complying with the CPP” — because coal plants keep getting shut down and replaced with cleaner plants.

Therefore, it would require less effort to achieve the CPP targets, and the CPP’s benefits would be smaller, since coal is already failing in the market by itself, before the CPP has been implemented.

Nonetheless, EPA’s new Regulatory Impact Analysis concedes that replacing Obama’s plan with Trump’s will mean foregoing as much as $4 billion a year in net benefits from 2023 to 2037.

Total losses in the coming decades from the extra sickness and death, the lost work and reduced productivity, and the worsened climate impacts could easily exceed $50 billion.

The bottom line is that the president is more concerned about prolonging the lives of a few dozen coal plants and improving the short-term profits of a few fossil fuel companies than he is about prolonging or improving the lives of millions of Americans.


Reposted from Think Progress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work