Donald Trump is culpable in the preventable deaths of tens of thousands of Americans due to the evisceration of environmental protections. His deregulatory attack against the standards on mercury, soot and carbon dioxide alone will lead to 245,500 preventable deaths over a ten-year period—a calculation based on EPA staff estimates.
The Trump administration—not state governors, not Congress, and not past presidents—is directly responsible for these preventable deaths. These deaths are in addition to the preventable deaths of tens of thousands of other Americans due to Trump’s incompetent and disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic
The Trump administration has initiated a broad offensive against regulatory protections. The Brookings Institute keeps an up-to-date compendium of Trump’s deregulatory efforts entitled “Tracking Deregulation in the Trump Era” including those involving the environment, COVID-19, labor, health, finance, housing, agriculture, education and more. The administration has initiated more than 230 deregulatory actions so far. The New York Times keeps another list focusing on environmental deregulation entitled “The Trump Administration Is Reversing One Hundred Environmental Rules.”
Looking at just four major attacks on environmental protections initiated by the Trump Administration. Three of the attacks have significantly weakened the standards for soot, mercury, and carbon dioxide. I chose these three because EPA staff has actually estimated the number of deaths that will occur due to the rollback of each of these protections. In addition, I will examine the administration’s unprecedented suspension of all environmental regulations/enforcement under cover of the COVID-19 pandemic. This suspension gives corporations control over major environmental decisions.
The administration’s deregulatory offensive reflects a value system that literally prioritizes corporate profits over American lives.
Here’s how Trump is going to do it:
Weakening Mercury & Air Toxics Standards: 110,000 Preventable Deaths over a Ten-Year Period
Mercury & Air Toxics Standards (MATS) save 11,000 lives a year
Corporate cronyism – EPA administrator is a former coal industry lobbyist. Devaluing lives, valuing profits.
Refusal to Strengthen Soot Standard: 121,500 Preventable Deaths over a Ten-Year Period
Replacement of Limits on CO2 Emissions: 14,000 Preventable Deaths Over a Ten-Year Period
Using the Pandemic as an Excuse for Wholesale Deregulation
unprecedented suspension of environmental monitory, testing, and penalties citing pandemic.
Key EPA staffing positions held by corporate officials, lobbyists, and lawyers.
Allowing corporations to dictate EPA policies.