Trump’s New Environmental Regs Will Kill More People Where He Announced It

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

If we look at the big picture, Trump's replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan is clearly bad news for the country and the world as it will reduce our efforts to limit climate change to a non-catastrophic level, but the consequences will be even more acute at the local level where Trump enjoys his highest levels of support.

By the Trump regime's own estimates, his replacement for the Clean Power Plan will lead to thousands of more preventable deaths each year. You may already know that because it made headlines when the replacement plan was unveiled, but what you may not know, and what I didn't know, is that Trump's EPA believes the consequences will be most severe in the area he where unveiled the plan.

The EPA estimates that Trump's new regulations would kill even more people in West Virginia (where he announced it) than anywhere else.

From the Associated Press:

Nationally, the EPA says, 350 to 1,500 more people would die each year under Trump's plan. But it's the northern two-thirds of West Virginia and the neighboring part of Pennsylvania that would be hit hardest, by far, according to Trump's EPA.

Trump's rollback would kill an extra 1.4 to 2.4 people a year for every 100,000 people in those hardest-hit areas, compared to under the Obama plan, according to the EPA analysis. For West Virginia's 1.8 million people, that would be equal to at least a couple dozen additional deaths a year.

Trump's acting EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist whose grandfather worked in the coal camps of West Virginia, headed to coal states this week and last to promote Trump's rollback. The federal government's retreat on regulating pollution from coal power plants was "good news," Wheeler told crowds there.

I probably don't have to tell you this, but committing to a plan that his own government says will kill more of them will not cost Trump any support in West Virginia.

Knotts, a coal miner for 35 years, isn't fazed when he hears that warning, a couple of days after Trump's West Virginia rally. He says the last thing people in coal country want is the government slapping down more controls on coal — and the air here in the remote West Virginia mountains seems fine to him.

"People here have had it with other people telling us what we need. We know what we need. We need a job," Knotts said at lunch hour at a Circle K in a tiny town between two coal mines, and 9 miles down the road from a coal power plant, the Grant Town plant. [...]

"I just know this. I like Donald Trump and I think that he's doing the right thing," said Keller, who turned out to support Trump Aug. 21 when he promoted his rollback proposal. She lives five miles from the 2,900-megawatt John Amos coal-fired power plant.

"I think he has the best interests of the regular common people at the forefront," Keller says.

I understand if the people of West Virginia are willing to kill themselves to preserve their own way of life, but this isn't going to accomplish that. This isn't going to give anyone a job that wouldn't have found one anyway.

The regulations the Trump regime has already halted or rolled back have not led to an explosion of job creation in the coal industry and eliminating the Clean Power Plan won't either. It won't make a substantial difference in an industry that's losing its global share of the energy market and in which jobs are increasingly automated.

This doesn't make any economic or environmental sense. It's purely political and it's a lie. Every time Trump or another politician tells these people they're going to resurrect the coal industry of 1960, they're lying to their faces. They're lying for votes.

A more serious proposal to improve the local economy would include investments in alternative energy sources of the future, not the energy source of the industrial revolution.

  • “I think he has the best interests of the regular common people at the forefront,”

    Now why the FUCK would you think that? What has Trump done at ANY time that would give you that impression? Really, in what universe is this actually a rational thought?

  • Draxiar

    These people can’t be saved- don’t want to be saved- and may not think they need to be. I’m okay with that. I’m not their keeper and I’m inclined to not impose upon them or presume to know what they need. So I’ll eschew any sympathy I had and devote any concern I had for them and give it to the environmental impacts of this. I’ve always been on nature’s side and will put my full energy toward our good green Earth.

  • muselet

    Coal is an awful fuel. It’s filthy to extract, filthy to process and filthy to burn. The sulfur released when the stuff is burned contributes to acid rain, which kills forests and lakes hundreds of miles away. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung disease) is a terrible way to die.

    Coal is also more expensive than natural gas and solar (depending on how you run the numbers, but the direct cost of solar-generated electricity is falling and coal-generated electricity is rising).

    I understand nostalgia for the Good Old Days! when everyone had a job mining coal, but those miners worked twenty—maybe thirty—years before they dropped dead from CWP.

    Coal should be considered a legacy fuel, something to be phased out as quickly as possible, and the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of coal miners should be pushing to end its use. “The regular common people” will be the ones who suffer because of the Trump administration’s coal fetish, to the tune of 1.4 to 2.4 excess deaths per 100,000. That should be too high a price for any civilized nation.


  • Scopedog

    My God. This son-of-a-bitch’s rules will kill people…and the people who will die from this just shrug and say, “Yeah, whatever.”

    You know, as much as I try to find an ounce of sympathy for these people, I just cannot do it anymore. Let them suffer.

    • muselet

      I’m not at the “let them die” stage, but I understand the sentiment.