Harvard scientists: Trump environmental policies could result in 80,000 more deaths per decade

Harvard scientists: Trump environmental policies could result in 80,000 more deaths per decade
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A new essay from two Harvard University scientists concluded that the Trump administration’s environmental policies could result in an additional 80,000 deaths per decade.

The research, from public health economist David Cutler and biostatistician Francesca Dominici, pointed specifically to the health impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policies on air pollutants and toxic chemicals.

“This sobering statistic captures only a small fraction of the cumulative public health damages associated with the full range of rollbacks and systemic actions proposed by the Trump administration,” the scientists said.

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The essay was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association as a commentary, not a formal peer-reviewed paper, but it uses the EPA’s own data to make its argument. The EPA pushed back on the findings, saying they were “not scientific.”

“This is not a scientific article, it’s a political article. The science is clear, under President TrumpDonald John TrumpMia Love pulls ahead in Utah race as judge dismisses her lawsuit Trump administration denies exploring extradition of Erdoğan foe for Turkey Trump congratulates Kemp, says Abrams will have 'terrific political future' MORE greenhouse gas emissions are down, Superfund sites are being cleaned up at a higher rate than under President Obama, and the federal government is investing more money to improve water infrastructure than ever before,” an EPA spokesperson told Bloomberg.

The essay accuses President Trump of working to make the air "dirtier" in order to benefit industry.

"A central feature of his agenda is environmental damage: making the air dirtier and exposing people to more toxic chemicals," the scientists claim. "The beneficiaries, in contrast, will be a relatively few well-connected companies."

The EPA, under scandal-ridden Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Trump to nominate Wheeler as EPA chief | House votes to remove protections for gray wolves | Lawmakers aim to pass disaster funds for California fires Trump to nominate former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as next EPA administrator Time to stop letting fossil fuels run Washington MORE, has moved to roll back numerous environmental policies, including former President Obama’s landmark Clean Power Plan and multiple regulations intended to curb fuel emissions and maintain water quality. The rollbacks are part of Trump's push to deregulate industry.

This week, the EPA took a step toward rewriting the Obama-era Clean Water Rule to make it more industry-friendly.

Trump has also pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement and praised Pruitt for the EPA’s regulatory rollbacks, which were a major part of his campaign promises.