EPA says its new coal plan could ‘adversely affect human health’

A recently introduced Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan to ease restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plants would lead to new carbon-related health issues and as many as 1,400 premature deaths per year, according to an EPA analysis of the proposal.

“As compared to the standards of performance that it replaces … implementing the proposed rule is expected to increase emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and increase the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health,” the EPA said in its analysis.

The new regulations would overturn a signature Obama-era climate policy by allowing states, rather than the federal government, to establish emissions standards. The policy could reduce incentives to shift away from coal power to cleaner sources of energy.


The EPA's analysis also laid out possible effects on public health. In what the agency says is the most likely case, between 470 and 1,400 people annually are expected to fall ill or die by ozone-related causes and other factors by 2030.

The adverse aspects of the proposal were first reported by The New York Times.

EPA acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency's plan will provide more clarity when it comes to regulations. 

“Today’s proposal provides the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE’s goal of energy dominance,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

President Trump has vowed to reinvigorate America’s decaying coal-fired power plants and increase reliance on the fuel source.

“America is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance, including more than 250 years worth of beautiful clean coal. We have ended the war on coal, and will continue to work to promote American energy dominance!” he tweeted in May.

The president heads to West Virginia on Tuesday to campaign with state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is challenging Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinAngus King: Losing climate provisions in reconciliation bill weakens Biden's hands in Glasgow Independent senator: 'Talking filibuster' or 'alternative' an option Rep. Khanna expresses frustration about Sinema MORE (D) for a U.S. Senate seat. The coal industry accounts for approximately 2 percent of employment in the state, according to a 2017 report from The New York Times.