EPA Disputes New York Times Report on Health Risks of Replacing Obama’s Clean Power Plan

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 02: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler testifies during a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing regarding President Donald Trump’s FY2020 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency, on Capitol Hill April 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disputed Monday a New York Times report, which suggested that the agency plans to adjust its pollution health risk projections to justify its repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP).

The Times released the report Monday that the EPA plans to change the way it calculates the future health risks of air pollution, which would predict thousands of fewer deaths and justify the rollback of the CPP. The EPA has released the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule as a less onerous alternative to the CPP.

The Times suggested that the rule change would “dramatically reduce the 1,400 additional premature deaths per year.” Times reporter Lisa Friedman said that William Wehrum, the EPA air quality chief, confirmed in an interview that the new analysis would be included in the final ACE rule, which the EPA contends is false because it is not using the proposed new methodology in the ACE proposal.

EPA spokesman James Hewitt said in a statement to Breitbart News Monday:

To be clear, there is no new methodology related to particulate matter included in the cost-benefit analysis accompanying the final Affordable Clean Energy rule. EPA sets national ambient air quality standards at a level that protects public health with a margin of safety. A longstanding and important question is how much benefit is derived by further reducing ambient levels below the national standards. We are considering changes to how such benefits are calculated. No change to this scientific method will be made unless and until the new approach has been peer reviewed. EPA is constantly evaluating approaches to improve transparency and communicate uncertainty regarding costs and benefits of its regulatory actions.

The Times also suggested that the new method for calculating health risks associated with EPA rules has “never been peer-reviewed and is not scientifically sound,” even though the EPA said that the new methodology would not be a part of the final ACE rule.

“Nearly the entire country meets EPA’s national standards for particulate matter, which were last updated in 2012. The U.S. has among the lowest particulate matter concentrations in the world (these levels have dropped by more than 40 percent since 2000),” Hewitt added. “The Affordable Clean Energy rule would result in significant reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases as well as precursors of particulate matter and ozone from the power sector.”

In an interview with Breitbart News in March, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler suggested that the media, leftists, and other environmental activists have voraciously attacked the agency due to its success in unraveling Obama’s climate agenda.

“We are moving forward, we are being successful, and there are some people that don’t want us to be successful, people who support the Green New Deal, people who don’t want the ‘energy domination’ we’re having. You know, the natural gas we produce, the coal, the oil that we produced this year that we’re exporting is more environmentally-conscious mining of those fossil fuels than anywhere else in the world,” Wheeler said.

“Our natural gas resources are much cleaner than any other natural gas being drilled in Russia, for example. So, if another country wants to buy fossil fuel on the open market, they should look to the United States; we do everything in a much more environmentally-conscious manner than anyone else,” the EPA chief charged.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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