Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

fire in Cali

Firefighters monitor a section of the Thomas Fire along the 101 freeway on December 7, 2017 north of Ventura, California. Strong Santa Ana winds are pushing multiple wildfires to expand across tens of thousands of acres, destroying hundreds of homes. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Report Exposes 'Devastating' Economic, Public Health, and Environmental Impacts of Trump's Industry Giveaways

Analysis backs up lawsuits filed by state attorneys general against the administration's repeals of regulations that target polluting industries

Jessica Corbett

A new study out Tuesday backs up a series of legal challenges launched by Democratic state attorneys general alarmed by President Donald Trump's deregulatory rollbacks designed to benefit polluting industries at the expense of public health, the environment, and the economy.

"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."
—David J. Hayes, State Energy & Environmental Impact Center

Climate & Health Showdown in the Courts: State Attorneys General Prepare to Fight (pdf) was published by the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at the NYU School of Law, which provides support to state attorneys general working to defend and promote clean energy, climate, and environmental policies.

"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," David J. Hayes, the center's executive director, said in a statement.

"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," he added.

Specifically, the report details the extensive consequences of repealing six major regulations to serve four dirty industries:

  • 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

If the courts allow these six rollbacks to stand, the report warns, they would collectively contribute more than 200 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions each year, undermining global efforts to curb planet-warming emissions and avert climate catastrophe.

Replacing the Clean Power Plan could cause 1,630 premature deaths, 120,000 asthma attacks, 140,000 missed school days, and 48,000 lost work days by 2030, according to the report. Meanwhile, scrapping the Clean Car Standards could cost Americans $18 billion annually for climate and public health effects as well as up to $236 billion in extra fuel spending by 2035.

"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."
—New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal

"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," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. "We've seen the effects of climate change, from record wildfires to massive mudslides."

As New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal summarized, "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."

"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," concluded New York Attorney General Letitia James.

James and Hayes, along with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, discussed the report and the ongoing legal battles against Trump's pro-polluter agenda at a Tuesday afternoon press conference in Washington, D.C.:

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·

NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo