Poll: Death estimates tied to Trump coal rule make it less popular

Poll: Death estimates tied to Trump coal rule make it less popular
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Voters are less likely to support the Trump administration’s plan to regulate coal plant emissions if they’re told about a government analysis that estimates the rule would result in more than 1,000 additional deaths each year.

Forty-five percent of respondents said they would be more likely to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Affordable Clean Energy rule once they learn that it would lead to approximately 1,400 more annual deaths than the Obama administration Clean Power Plan it's replacing, according to a poll released this week by Politico and Morning Consult.

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Twenty-two percent of respondents said they would be more likely to support the Trump proposal after learning about the death figures.

The EPA proposed the rule last month as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and replace the more aggressive Clean Power Plan. The new rule would ask states to formulate plans to reduce emissions at coal plants, giving them wide latitude in crafting those guidelines.

The estimate of 1,400 additional deaths has dominated discussion of the plan, but it has also been highly controversial. While it is in official EPA documents, it comes from comparing the new rule to an Obama-era regulation that was never enforced because the Supreme Court halted its implementation.

Acting EPA head Andrew Wheeler pushed back on the estimate at an Ohio event last month, saying it relies on the Obama administration’s improper use of “co-benefits,” or benefits from reducing pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter that aren't regulated in the Clean Power Plan.

“Those are all regulated under other regulations,” he said, adding that those rules “are still in effect, they’ll still be in effect tomorrow and they’ll still be in effect next year.”

The Politico/Morning Consult poll also found that 45 percent of respondents were more likely to support the Trump EPA rule after learning it would reduce power sector carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 percent in 2030, when compared with a scenario in which the Clean Power Plan would not be enforced.