Editorials

Trump coal plan kills more than it helps

Herald-Leader file photo

President Donald Trump vowed to bring back coal jobs and he has released a plan he says will help.

Too bad that even his own Environmental Protection Agency says his plan would kill and sicken more Americans.

Deregulating emissions standards will result in the release of more soot and smog-forming chemicals that will kill up to 1,400 Americans a year by 2030, EPA documents show. It will also cause an extra 40,000 cases of worsening asthma and 60,000 lost school days by 2030.

And that does not fully factor in the direct impact of environmental degradation and loosen safety regulations on coal communities.

This is not what Eastern Kentucky residents say they want.

Their priority is decent-paying jobs expected to grow with the national economy. It makes no sense to try to jump-start a declining energy source in the face of changing technology and stark economic realities.

Not at such high a cost.

The Trump plan dismantles President Barack Obama’s 2015 Clean Power Plan, aimed to respond to climate change by increasing federal regulation of emissions and promoting cleaner energy, including natural gas and solar and wind power.

Repeal of the Obama plan, when factoring in impact of health costs, would cost the country $1.4 billion to $3.9 billon annually, according to the EPA.

The Trump plan is certain to get bogged down in court challenges, just as the Obama plan has been. Meanwhile, coal communities still need significant investment.

A misguided plan that likely will never be implemented is not the fulfillment of the promise Trump made to Kentucky voters.

He needs to focus less on how to boost flailing coal companies and more on ways to aid coal communities.

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