Health risks to power plant regulation rollback

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look at increased pollution's negative impacts to public health and examines the benefits of the Obama-era clean power plan that President Trump's administration is set to roll back.

Posted: Aug 22, 2018 1:03 AM
Updated: Aug 22, 2018 1:23 AM

The Trump administration's latest efforts to undo more of Barack Obama's efforts to slow climate change come as no surprise. Nothing gets this President more excited than trying to undo his predecessor's legacy.

But his proposed new EPA rules -- tagged with the laughable misnomer the "Affordable Clean Energy" rule -- are not just vindictive, they are dangerous. The administration wants to allow coal-burning power plants to emit more deadly carbon and to give states greater leeway to allow big-money companies to pollute. The new rules would replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

The proposal reflects a longstanding and fundamentally damaging idea in right-wing politics: That climate change is a matter of opinion, not fact, and that people who have no interest in the facts still deserve to hold political office.

The deluded perspective is not confined to America's Republican Party. Conservatives in Australia have also latched on to the theory that climate change is debatable, and that efforts to fight it are a liberal conspiracy against big business.

The GOP has long been in the pocket of polluters, who have made clear that they are quite comfortable destroying the planet for our children and grandchildren in return for getting rich now. The party has helped to make this denialism politically feasible by systematically undermining the public education system and refusing the validity of scientific inquiry. Do they believe in evolution yet?

That the new Trump rules will cost thousands of lives -- 1,400 every year by the EPA's own admission -- doesn't seem to matter to this President and his GOP enablers, who put corporate profits first, ahead of citizens' health. In this, they are joined by a base that seems willing to accept any lie, indignity or even undermining of health and life.

It's a sad state of affairs -- but also a real and growing threat to a country experiencing wild weather mood swings, the largest wildfires in recorded history, floods, droughts and on and on.

In any reasonable universe, those who deny basic scientific facts that connect this grim reality to humans' role in global warming would be deemed unfit to hold office. Imagine a congressman who questioned whether gravity was real, or a senator who insisted the earth was flat. We would rightly say that they're intellectually deficient, and that their bizarre theories mean they probably shouldn't be making vital decisions that affect millions of Americans (not to mention billions more people around the world).

But somehow climate change falls in a different category (along with, among a majority of evangelical protestants, for example, a disbelief in evolution).

It's one thing to be ignorant -- and, to be sure, many non-climate-change-denying Americans don't understand the basics of climate change either. But most Americans also don't understand the details of how a bill becomes law, how our court system works, or how the national budget gets set -- all things we expect of our nationally elected officials.

Politicians should similarly be expected to understand the basic science of climate change, and to listen to the scientific experts instead of seeking out the few outliers who confirm their own half-baked beliefs.

Of course, Trump has appointed a series of cronies and amateurs to his cabinet, and he himself holds the highest office in the land, with zero previous experience for the job, zero intellectual curiosity, and zero ability to train his attention on just about anything other than Twitter and Fox News.

His presidency makes full mockery of the theory that those in charge should know anything at all. And with this latest green light to polluters and contaminators, all of us are again paying the price for that unapologetic greed and ignorance.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 147382

Reported Deaths: 3763
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto973199
Hinds9668197
Harrison6898109
Jackson6178119
Rankin5319100
Lee487695
Madison4666106
Forrest371386
Jones346788
Lauderdale3355144
Lafayette317549
Washington3122107
Lamar283449
Oktibbeha240861
Bolivar240184
Lowndes229763
Neshoba2177115
Panola215849
Marshall209650
Leflore201490
Pontotoc196128
Monroe191477
Sunflower190555
Lincoln186865
Warren172657
Tate165451
Union163925
Pike160658
Copiah159540
Yazoo152039
Scott150729
Coahoma148743
Itawamba148234
Pearl River146567
Alcorn146327
Simpson145153
Prentiss141230
Adams137949
Grenada137745
Leake131943
Holmes126561
Tippah123030
George122324
Covington119737
Winston119124
Wayne116223
Hancock115939
Marion111646
Attala109833
Tishomingo106542
Chickasaw104132
Newton103629
Tallahatchie96327
Clarke88853
Clay87127
Jasper81222
Walthall75328
Stone73114
Calhoun72913
Montgomery72125
Carroll70614
Lawrence70314
Yalobusha70027
Noxubee69717
Smith69616
Perry65426
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57616
Jefferson Davis55017
Humphreys52918
Amite51814
Benton48717
Quitman4816
Webster42114
Kemper41918
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34211
Franklin3265
Choctaw3117
Sharkey30717
Issaquena1124
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 239318

Reported Deaths: 3532
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31391491
Mobile19562361
Tuscaloosa12813154
Madison12741146
Montgomery12198235
Shelby1000577
Baldwin847398
Lee764466
Morgan634348
Calhoun6112115
Marshall607954
Etowah606565
Houston517038
DeKalb474736
Cullman428038
Limestone413744
St. Clair409055
Elmore400762
Lauderdale393653
Walker3588108
Talladega343453
Jackson307624
Colbert301941
Blount285539
Autauga268641
Franklin247833
Coffee239715
Dale230354
Dallas224531
Russell22053
Chilton219638
Covington216833
Escambia197431
Chambers173749
Tallapoosa173391
Pike157514
Clarke156319
Marion136535
Winston129923
Lawrence124836
Geneva12028
Pickens119418
Marengo119124
Barbour117010
Bibb116217
Butler114441
Randolph100921
Cherokee100824
Hale94531
Clay90223
Washington90219
Fayette87316
Henry8496
Lowndes79129
Monroe78111
Cleburne75714
Macon72321
Crenshaw70730
Bullock69119
Conecuh68314
Perry6756
Lamar6508
Wilcox63118
Sumter57122
Choctaw41913
Greene41418
Coosa3374
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