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 TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' 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 rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas EPA inspector general to resign Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog says agency failed to properly monitor asbestos at schools| Watchdog won’t investigate former Superfund head’s qualifications| Florence causes toxic coal ash spill in North Carolina 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.