A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Environmental Protection Agency admits Affordable Clean Energy Rule could be harmful to public health

By Mary Kuhlman
Public News Service

Calling the Clean Power Plan “overly prescriptive and burdensome,” the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released its plan for new rules to regulate carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. However, the proposal itself notes the changes could be harmful to public health.

The Affordable Clean Energy Rule sets guidelines for states to develop their own plans to target carbon emissions and allows them to scrap the Clean Power Plans’ more stringent national targets.

The Environmental Protection Agency says its new Affordable Clean Energy rule would have the net effect of reducing carbon emissions from current levels by letting states set their own limits. (Photo from Pixabay, via PNS)

Molly Rauch, public health policy director for the group Moms Clean Air Force, said the agency’s own analysis shows carbon pollution will increase, leading to 120,000 more cases of worsened asthma and 1,400 more premature deaths each year.

“There are lives on the line here,” she said, “and the idea that a coal company’s profits are just more important than that? We are outraged as parents. When are our children going to be prioritized by this administration?”

In Kentucky, about one in 10 children and adults suffer from asthma, which is aggravated by air pollution.

The EPA has said the rule still would have the net effect of reducing carbon emissions from current levels. It has contended that the new rule would empower states, promote energy independence and facilitate economic growth and job creation. However, Rauch argued that it would do nothing to stop climate change.

“We’re basically at a time when the impacts of climate change have never been more obvious in the form of heat waves and wildfires, and drought and the spread of disease,” she said. “So, this proposal represents the Trump administration literally turning its back on reality.”

Once the rules are published in the Federal Register, a 60-day comment period begins and the EPA will hold a public hearing.

The EPA proposal is online at epa.gov.

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