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EPA Proposes Rollback of Clean Power Plan


pollution coal power plant

As many as 1,400 more deaths per year would result from the Trump administration’s plan to roll back pollution protections under the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, according to the a CBS News report on the plan proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In a 289-page document, EPA says the plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy, rule would “increase emissions of carbon dioxide” and “increase the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health.”

Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC), called the plan a “life-threatening mistake,” citing an analysis in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, that replacing the Clean Power Plan will bring about 36,000 more deaths and 630,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children over a decade.

“To say the USGBC is discouraged by the proposed replacement rule is a profound understatement,” Ramanujam says. “Not only does the Administration's own analysis acknowledge their rule will increase premature deaths, the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule ignores the most cost-effective form of clean energy on the market today: increasing energy efficiency in homes, offices, schools, and industrial buildings.”

The proposed plan comes as a new report shows that energy sector greenhouse gas emissions at their lowest levels since 1990. But under the Affordable Clean Energy rule, states would be allowed to set their own standards for emissions on coal-fired power plants, allowing outmoded coal plants to continuing operating at current greenhouse gas emissions levels.

This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his recent story about the new LEED v4.1 rating system.

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