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This past August, the Trump EPA replaced President Obama’s legacy Clean Power Plan (the mechanism by which the U.S. was to meet its commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement) with the much weaker Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. While Democrats are in the minority in the U.S. Senate, yesterday they tried to use a seldom-used legal maneuver that requires the signature of just 30 senators to review and overturn ACE.
The Outcome: The so-called disapproval resolution did not pass (41 to 53) as most members of the Senate voted on party lines. However, Democrats were hoping to put on the record those senators who were unwilling to stand up clean air regulations.
“Experts have warned that under the Trump replacement, called the ACE rule, many parts of the country would also see increases in health-harming sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides pollution that lead to soot and smog. While the Administration has tried to downplay the public health consequences of the new rule, EPA’s projections show that vulnerable communities around the nation will likely suffer the most from these dangerous pollution increases.”
Why This Matters: Republican senators were quick to spin that Democrats “are asking us to eliminate good jobs” by refusing to accept the weakened ACE rule. While there’s currently a lot happening in Washington D.C., Democrats shouldn’t let this vote pass without expanding the narrative that any rules that weaken air pollution protections pose an immediate threat to the health of Americans. Just recently it was revealed that air pollution is linked to violent crime, can cause miscarriages in pregnant women, and can equal smoking a pack of cigarettes each day for people in smoggy areas (all things the Clean Power Plan helped to avoid). Air pollution drives up healthcare costs and also poses a risk to our economy–lawmakers who peddle the false equivalency that environmental regulations kill jobs shouldn’t be allowed to keep theirs.
As we expand our understanding of climate change, scientists have begun to focus on the growing role warming temperatures are playing as a potent driver of greater aridity–which is different than drought. As NOAA describes it, drought is “a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently long enough to cause a serious hydrological imbalance”. Aridity is […]
For many who live near refineries, incinerators, and other heavy industry, lockdowns and shelter in place orders like we have all experienced lately are a far too common occurrence. The New York Times took a closer look at these communities to show why the residents are so vulnerable to the disease.
Why This Matters:Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali explained to put the COVID deaths into context, “we know more than 100,000 people die prematurely in the U.S. every year because of air pollution.”
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