The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at the NYU School of Law announced the release of a Special Report detailing the extensive climate change and public health damage caused by the Trump administration’s environmental deregulatory agenda. In its Special Report, entitled “Climate & Health Showdown in the Courts: State Attorneys General Prepare to Fight,” the State Impact Center highlights how state attorneys general are leading the fight to prevent the rollback of six essential federal rules, which would lead to annual increases of more than 200 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) emissions in the United States.
The Special Report features in-depth analysis of how the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks are designed to benefit the coal, automotive, oil & gas and landfill industries, which are collectively responsible for nearly 50 percent of national greenhouse gas emissions. The six key areas examined by the Special Report include the following:
- The Coal Industry: Clean Power Plan (CO2)
- The Automotive Industry: Clean Car Standards (CO2)
- The Automotive Industry: Glider Truck Pollution (CO2)
- The Oil & Gas Industry: Methane emissions (new and existing sources)
- The Oil & Gas Industry: Methane emissions (public lands)
- The Landfill Industry: Methane emissions
“This Special Report unmasks the Trump administration’s
plan to give a climate pollution pass to industries that represent almost half
of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” said David J.
Hayes, Executive Director for the State Energy & Environmental Impact
Center. “State attorneys general will not let the administration
get away with its brazen attempt to turn major industries’ legal obligations to
reduce damaging pollution into an invitation to continue to pollute — climate
effects and adverse health impacts be damned.”
On a rule-by-rule basis, the economic, public health and environmental impacts of these deregulatory actions are enormous. They will result in hundreds of billions of dollars in forgone benefits, while also causing millions of additional asthma attacks and tens of thousands of additional premature deaths. And, while the Trump administration attempts to justify its agenda with economic arguments rooted in cost savings to industry, those savings are miniscule in comparison to the significant costs imposed on the public.
For example, rolling back the national Clean Car Standards is estimated to cost American drivers between $193 billion and $236 billion dollars in added fuel expense by 2035, as well as $18 billion in climate and public health costs each year. Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan would generate increases in air pollution that could lead to 1,630 premature deaths, 120,000 additional asthma attacks, 140,000 missed school days and 48,000 lost work days by 2030. The Special Report details how these impacts disproportionately fall on vulnerable communities, as highlighted time and again by state attorneys general.
The rollbacks also directly contravene the Trump administration’s legal obligation to act on climate change under the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency’s own unambiguous finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare.
Finally, the Special Report carefully explains how the Trump’s administration’s deregulatory agenda fundamentally disregards the interests of states in protecting public health and the environment and threatens the cooperative federalism approach that has delivered strong environmental results for decades. The state attorneys general challenging these misguided actions have demonstrated that progressive environmental policies can work hand in hand with economic growth, and they will continue to fight this administration’s efforts to turn back the clock and weaken bedrock environmental protections.
STATEMENTS FROM STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL
- “Despite the EPA’s own evidence to the contrary, the Trump administration has worked at breakneck speed to roll back years of progress to combat climate change. The administration has chosen to side with the coal, oil, and gas industries, jeopardizing the health of millions of Americans and threatening our air, land, and water,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. “Time and time again, the Trump administration has chosen to ignore its responsibility to protect our health and our economy, ignore documented evidence of global warming, and halt states’ attempts to implement common sense clean air and clean energy regulations.”
- “It is no secret that climate change is greatly impacting our planet and our lives every single day,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James.“As the Trump Administration continues to advance policies that will cause even greater harm to our resources and our health, it is up to State Attorneys General to lead the fight to stop these policies and protect Americans. I am proud that New York is leading the charge to challenge this backwards agenda and I thank the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law for this report and their partnership.”
- “Day after day, the Trump Administration acts to enrich the fossil fuel industry at the expense of our planet and the American people,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “As this report makes clear, the states will continue to stand up for our residents and our clean energy future. Our coalition is strong, it’s growing, and we’re winning.”
- “In California, where we’re number one in clean energy and sell more zero-emission vehicles than any other state, we can’t afford to backslide. We’ve seen the effects of climate change, from record wildfires to massive mudslides. As this report makes clear, the effects of climate change threaten states across our great nation,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “We can only expect this emergency to worsen if the Trump Administration rolls back our nation’s Clean Car standards. We shouldn’t have to go to federal court to make our case: the facts and science speak for themselves.”
- “This report confirms what we already feared — that the federal government’s environmental rollbacks will have a devastating impact on our climate and our health,” said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “Washington should be doing more to combat climate change, instead of falling down on the job. That’s why I’m proud to join my fellow Attorneys General in standing up to the Administration and opposing these actions in court.”