- The new EPA rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions will prevent thousands of deaths and hospitalizations and hundreds of heart attacks every year, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard, Syracuse, and Boston universities.
- The study, entitled Health Co-Benefits of Carbon Standards for Existing Power Plants, estimates the regulations will prevent 3,500 premature deaths, 1,000 hospitalizations for heart and lung disease, and 220 heart attacks each year. The biggest impact would be in rust belt states and Texas, hotspots for fossil fuel generation
- The EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan requires a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. Limiting carbon dioxide emissions also reduces soot and other particulate pollutants that cause heart and respiratory problems.
States that can expect the biggest public health gains from the regulations are ones with the most intensive fossil fuel usage. The top three states for avoided premature deaths, according to the study, are Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas. Illinois comes in fourth.
Using scenarios similar to the EPA’s proposal and methods that promise 95% certainty, researchers estimated about 2,100 Illinois lives could be saved between 2020 and 2030. In Missouri, which ranked ninth in terms of benefits from the regulation, about 1,200 premature deaths could be prevented between 2020 and 2030.
In addition to the Clean Power Plan, the EPA has introduced a series of rules to control coal plant pollutants, including mercury, ozone, and particulate matter, during the Obama administration. The coal industry and heavy consumers of fossil fuels have condemned the EPA proposals as too costly.