Trump Is A Disaster For Public Health And Safety
November 22, 2019
The Trump administration has continued its efforts to roll back crucial policies that protect public health and safety. Trump’s EPA weakened safety standards for storing dangerous chemicals, has moved to make it easier for coal power plants to pollute water, and is proposing to undermine existing and future public health regulations.
Yesterday, Trump’s EPA weakened standards for storing dangerous chemicals, increasing the risk of accidents like the 2013 explosion in central Texas that killed 15 people and injured more than 250.
Washington Post: “The Environmental Protection Agency weakened a rule Thursday governing how companies store dangerous chemicals. The standards were enacted under President Barack Obama in the wake of a 2013 explosion in West, Tex., that killed 15 people, including 12 first responders.”
A federal appeals court ruled last week that Trump’s EPA broke the law by illegally excluding millions of tons of dangerous materials — including asbestos and lead — from a safety review.
Associated Press: “The Trump administration unlawfully excluded millions of tons of some of the most dangerous materials in public use from a safety review, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.”
The EPA gave a win to the coal industry at the expense of over one million Americans, by moving to roll back limits on toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants. Experts warn the rule change would lead to “a lot more toxic contamination” of drinking water.
New York Times: “The Trump administration on Monday moved to weaken an Obama-era regulation aimed at limiting the seepage of toxic pollution into water supplies from the ash of coal burning power plants, a change that coal industry leaders say could keep plants open longer and which environmental groups fear will increase the risk of water contamination. […] According to the E.P.A., about 1.1 million Americans live within three miles of a coal plant that discharges pollutants into a public waterway.”
Former EPA Office of Water Director of Science and Technology Betsy Southerland: “Both rules mean that the communities around these plants are going to be exposed to a lot more toxic contamination of their drinking water and fisheries through to 2028.”
Trump’s EPA is endangering public health by planning to limit what scientific research can be used to craft policies on health threats like mercury and lead. Public health groups warned this move would lead to “more dirty air,” “more premature deaths,” and “greater risks to children’s health.”
New York Times: “The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking.”
American Lung Association’s Paul Billings: “This means the E.P.A. can justify rolling back rules or failing to update rules based on the best information to protect public health and the environment, which means more dirty air and more premature deaths.”