Trump administration and EPA anti-science work will cost lives

The true human cost of the Trump administration’s policies will continue to galvanize communities across the U.S. and will haunt Wheeler and the Trump administration as they pursue their reckless course of action.

SOURCESierra Club
Image Credit: Environmental Defense Fund

It’s a wonder how the Trump Administration and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Andrew Wheeler can get anything done, what with their heads buried so far in the sand. But unfortunately, the work they’re doing to ignore science and public health will cost lives. Recently the New York Times revealed that Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, plans to abandon peer-reviewed science about the damage air pollution does to our health, in order to try and sell the Trump administration’s attempt to roll back the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan is the EPA program to cut dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.

The EPA previously estimated that Trump and Wheeler’s “Dirty Power Plan” (what we’re calling their move to roll back the CPP) will contribute to the deaths of as many as 1,400 Americans annually. Wheeler will reportedly have the EPA ignore comprehensive scientific assessments of the dangerous health impacts of air pollution in order to artificially reduce the Dirty Power Plan’s death count on paper, even while the victims of his rule will still face life-threatening effects from air pollution like asthma, heart attacks, and strokes.

I suppose this horrifying move shouldn’t surprise us — Wheeler and the Trump Administration continue making move after move that favors their fossil fuel buddies over the health and safety of our families, our communities, and our air and water.

The same deadly, “fuzzy” math they’re using to ignore the deaths from rolling back the CPP is similar to what they’re doing in their attempt to roll back the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). These standards, which EPA finalized in 2012, drastically curtailed the emission of dangerous toxic pollution that poisons wildlife, contaminates seafood, and threatens the health of pregnant women and young children.

But we cannot ignore what Wheeler and the Trump administration are doing – we must let the shock continue to motivate us to take action. This repugnant attempt to swindle the public will not go unnoticed by the people whose lives and health Wheeler is jeopardizing.

The true human cost of the Trump administration’s policies will continue to galvanize communities across the U.S. and will haunt Wheeler and the Trump administration as they pursue their reckless course of action. The Sierra Club and our allies will do everything it can to stop this disturbing abuse of power, highlight the ugly reality of their policies, and protect the lives of the people they would rather ignore.

Make no mistake about it – undermining the Clean Power Plan and mercury air toxics standards, and ignoring the way these and any future safeguards affect our health, are direct attacks on the health and development of millions of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.

Our outstanding nationwide network of parents, students, scientists, teachers, people of faith, business owners, and so many others will not remain silent — nor have they remained silent during the Trump’s administration’s two years of anti-science rhetoric and policy roll-backs.


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Mary Anne Hitt is director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, which is working to eliminate coal pollution, stop climate disruption and repower the nation with clean energy. In 2012, Mother Jones described the campaign as “a grassroots rebellion [that] is winning the biggest victory yet on climate change.” Mary Anne was named one of the 10 most influential people of 2013 by SNL Energy, and she was listed in 2013 by theWashingtonian as part of “The New Guard: People Who are Shaping Washington” in Obama’s second term. In 2014, she and the Beyond Coal Campaign were featured in the Showtime climate series Years of Living Dangerously. She previously served as executive director of Appalachian Voices and other grassroots organizations. She received her Master’s of Science from the University of Montana and her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, where she later received the 2008 Notable UT Woman Award. She grew up in the mountains of east Tennessee and now lives in West Virginia with her family.