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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 2:16 AM
Updated: Aug 22, 2018 2:23 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749532

Reported Deaths: 13746
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030911775
Lake554681006
Allen41636691
St. Joseph36947564
Hamilton36527416
Elkhart29363459
Tippecanoe22862225
Vanderburgh22542400
Porter19331325
Johnson18405388
Hendricks17588317
Clark13200193
Madison13120344
Vigo12604253
LaPorte12394221
Monroe12163175
Delaware10947198
Howard10263225
Kosciusko9614119
Hancock8549144
Bartholomew8162157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7772180
Grant7229179
Wayne7155201
Boone6917103
Morgan6736141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6206116
Cass5991108
Henry5894108
Dearborn588978
Noble580186
Jackson508674
Shelby500897
Lawrence4732121
Gibson444093
Harrison440773
Clinton440055
DeKalb438785
Montgomery434690
Whitley406042
Huntington402281
Steuben399259
Miami392768
Jasper386954
Knox375790
Putnam372160
Wabash360583
Ripley346570
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White330253
Daviess3031100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284864
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269955
Clay265848
Washington244934
Randolph244683
Jennings235149
Spencer234231
Starke227558
Fountain218647
Sullivan213943
Owen211058
Fulton201542
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175726
Vermillion173644
Franklin170235
Tipton165846
Parke149016
Pike138034
Blackford136132
Pulaski120247
Newton112736
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton101014
Martin91515
Warren83615
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107225

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1285061459
Cuyahoga1156322204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524951040
Summit48356999
Lucas43309817
Butler38903603
Stark33297929
Lorain25641502
Warren24558303
Mahoning22332601
Lake21139385
Clermont20098252
Delaware18819135
Licking16649222
Fairfield16564204
Trumbull16527479
Medina15597270
Greene15256246
Clark14223306
Wood13281197
Portage13229214
Allen11903239
Richland11598211
Miami10837223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9023230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8652122
Tuscarawas8639247
Marion8635138
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7139179
Hancock6996131
Ross6934161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6530104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5723102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5437125
Darke5415129
Seneca5344126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501687
Mercer487285
Shelby476295
Knox4568112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4334103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387377
Preble3847103
Clinton378566
Ottawa372781
Highland359465
Williams347878
Champaign343858
Guernsey324253
Jackson317554
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285350
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2699101
Coshocton268459
Van Wert247264
Adams242956
Pike242735
Gallia240550
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196948
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113738
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
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Angola
Clear
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Huntington
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
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Decatur
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60° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 60°
Van Wert
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 57°
It'll be another pleasant day with sunshine and highs in the upper 70s.
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