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 knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' 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: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans Dems blast EPA nominee at confirmation hearing Dem senator expresses concern over acting EPA chief's 'speedy promotion' 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.