Sunday, June 07, 2020

New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations

By Rebecca Beitsch - 06/04/20 04:55 PM EDT

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday announced a proposal critics say not only restricts the Clean Air Act but will undermine future administrations seeking to reduce air pollution.

The proposal changes how the government justifies its own air pollution regulations, limiting how the EPA weighs carbon pollution that impacts climate change as well as the benefits of tackling multiple air pollutants at once.


Critics see it as a way to hamstring policy future administrations may want to implement.

“What they’ve done is essentially manipulate and rig the cost-benefit analysis so that when EPA in the future gets back to their mission of protecting the environment and fighting climate change it will be much harder to justify their rules,” said Amit Narang of Public Citizen, a left-leaning advocacy group.

“This is going to have to be one of the first things the next administration and EPA will have to get rid of to get back to doing their jobs,” Narang added.

The proposal impacts a law considered one of the most life-saving on the books. In 2011, the EPA estimated the Clean Air Act would prevent 230,000 early deaths between 1990 and this year.

One of the targets of the rule are so-called co-benefits, like reducing additional pollutants beyond what the agency intended to target.

The EPA gave a preview of Thursday’s proposal when it rolled out its new mercury rule. That rule didn’t change standards power plants must meet for reducing mercury, but those pollution controls also reduce dangerous fine particulate matter like soot.

A rule that went from saving consumers $90 billion under the Obama administration would now cost them $4 million to $6 million under the Trump administration analysis, making it ripe for court challenge.


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