Trump Coal Plan Will Kill 5-10,000 People Over Next Decade

The Trump administration unveiled its shiny new coal plan today, and the New York Times dug into the technical appendices to see just how much damage it would do. Naturally I decided to make it into a chart:

Depending on whose estimate you trust and how far out you’re willing to look, the Trump plan will kill somewhere between 200-1,400 extra people per year compared to the Obama Clean Power Plan, with the averages shown in the chart above.

Of course, there’s good news and bad news in all this. Out West, where we don’t use much coal, the effect will be negligible. On the other hand, if you live in Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, or western Pennsylvania, things don’t look so rosy. In those places, EPA estimates an extra 10-20 deaths per million people each year:

All this for a power source that’s not competitive anymore and employs hardly anyone. Trump is planning to kill, oh, about 5-10,000 people over the next decade to support an industry that employs fewer than 200,000 people total in mining, transportation, and power generation. That’s right: 200,000. The coal industry is smaller than the marijuana industry—which is at least growing and basically harmless. But Trump is happy to kill off Americans by the thousands just so he can say he overturned an Obama coal plan and replaced it with his own. I hope Don Jr. opens up a coffin business especially for all the people who die because of this. It’s one time when I think that splashing a big gold TRUMP on his products would be totally appropriate.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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