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The Unequal Health Impacts of Trump's Coal Plant Rule

It could cause up to 1,400 premature deaths per year

A child with asthma uses a nebulizer shaped like a fish. The power plant pollution rule proposed by the Trump administration is expected to lead to 120,000 additional asthma attacks annually by 2030 and up to 1,400 additional premature deaths. (Photo: KristyFaith via Flickr.)

A child with asthma uses a nebulizer shaped like a fish. The power plant pollution rule proposed by the Trump administration is expected to lead to 120,000 additional asthma attacks annually by 2030 and up to 1,400 additional premature deaths. (Photo: KristyFaith via Flickr.)

Date on which the Trump administration, as part of its efforts to boost the U.S. coal industry, proposed new regulations for coal-fired power plants that would roll back stricter pollution rules adopted by the Obama administration: 8/21/2018

Number of health and medical groups that issued a joint statement denouncing the Trump plan, saying that it "is not just inadequate, it is dangerous": 10

According to the Trump administration's own analysis, additional number of asthma attacks the new regulations could lead to annually by 2030: 120,000

Of missed school days: up to 64,000

Of premature deaths: up to 1,400

Date on which the Trump administration proposed another rule — based on industry-backed legislation sponsored by retiring U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) — to make such public health analyses of proposed rules more difficult to do: 4/24/2018

Amount the energy and natural resources sector contributed to Smith's campaign over the course of his career: over $926,000

Amount it contributed to Trump's 2016 campaign: over $2.3 million

Amount it contributed to all federal campaigns in the 2016 election cycle: $172.5 million

Amount it's contributed at the federal level so far in this election cycle: $88.7 million

Compared to the average per capita income in the U.S., percent less earned by those living within three miles of a coal-fired power plant: over 14

Percentage points by which the population of non-whites living within three miles of a U.S. power plant exceeds their presence in the overall U.S. population: 3

Of the 10 states most dependent on coal for electricity generation, number in the South: 3

In the most coal-dependent state, West Virginia, percent of electricity generated in 2014 by burning coal: 95.6

In Kentucky, the second-most coal-dependent state: 92

Rank of West Virginia and Kentucky respectively among states with the highest poverty rates: 8, 5

Among states with the highest lung cancer incidence rates: 2, 1

Since 2010, percent of the U.S. coal-fired power plant fleet capacity shuttered amid long-term trends that experts expect to continue despite Trump's coal-boosting efforts: 40

Portion of U.S. coal plants currently slated to retire, with more closures expected amid the rise of natural gas and renewables: over 50

Once Trump's proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, number of days the public will have to submit comments: 60

Number of public hearings the EPA plans to hold on the proposal, though it has not yet announced any details: at least 1

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Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis is the Director and regular contributor to the Institute for Southern Study's online magazine, Facing South, with a focus on energy and environmental issues. Sue is the author or co-author of five Institute reports, including Faith in the Gulf (Aug/Sept 2008), Hurricane Katrina and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (January 2008) and Blueprint for Gulf Renewal (Aug/Sept 2007). Sue holds a Masters in Journalism from New York University.

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