Obama’s radical environmental agenda was fundamentally dishonest and abused taxpayers trust. To advance its agenda of throttling our nation’s energy industry, Obama’s minions in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pushed misleading information about health benefits that would follow its regulatory wrecking ball.
We know this thanks to a Judicial Watch lawsuit against the EPA that uncovered documents we have showing that the agency’s claim that the Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan would prevent thousands of premature deaths by 2030 was, at best, misleading.
The controversial Clean Power Plan was promoted as combating so-called “anthropogenic climate change” and was designed to mandate the shifting of electricity generation away from coal-powered plants. It would have closed hundreds of coal-fired power plants, halted construction of new plants, increased reliance on natural-gas-fired plants and shifted power generation to supposedly “green” energy sources.
We received the documents thanks to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in June 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the EPA failed to respond to a May 3, 2017, FOIA request (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(No. 1:17-cv-01217)). We requested, “All internal emails or other records explaining, or requesting an explanation of, the EPA’s decision to claim that the Clean Power Plan would prevent between 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths by 2030.”
The documents we forced out reveal that carbon dioxide reduction itself would not prevent any deaths. In a June 2, 2014, email from Bloomberg news reporter Mike Dorning to EPA officials Matt Lehrich and Thomas Reynolds, Dorning asks if particulate matter and ozone are the real concern, “So far, what I have found on my own is Table 4-18 on page 4-36 of the Regulatory Impact Analysis report.
“And, am I reading the table correctly in concluding that all of those reductions come not from the impact on global warming or carbon emissions but entirely from anticipated reductions in emissions of fine particulate matter and ozone that you forecast will come from changes made to reach the carbon reduction goals?”
Neither Lehrich nor Reynolds answered Dorning’s question directly. However, Liz Purchia, an Obama-era communications staffer at the agency, characterized the premature-deaths figure as “co-benefits” of carbon reductions and revealed that none of the premature deaths would be prevented by CO2 emission reductions, “This [premature-deaths figure] is a calculation based on the NOX, S02 and PM co-benefits.”
It is the soot and ozone that the EPA estimates to cause the deaths, not the carbon dioxide. Because the Obama EPA sought to force industry to reduce carbon output, electricity producers would have had no choice but to redesign factories in a way that also produces less fine particulate matter (soot) and ozone emissions into the atmosphere. But, as usual, the EPA was far less than candid about this.
The EPA did not explain its theory of indirect, “co-benefits” in its press statement, nor did the EPA explain that it is possible to save just as many lives by passing a law requiring less soot and ozone emissions without also requiring a reduction in carbon output.
The bottom line is that we have caught the Obama EPA red handed issuing a series of half-truths and deliberately misleading information — pure propaganda — designed to deceive the American public into accepting its radical environmental agenda.
The documents show that the Obama EPA could not demonstrate that carbon dioxide reductions would, in fact, reduce the number of premature deaths. And sure enough, the EPA omitted the claim that the plan would reduce “2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths” in its final rule.
It is no surprise that it took a federal lawsuit to uncover this Obama deceit. But we do appreciate that the Trump EPA did not drag this litigation out. And we hope other Trump officials start finally paying attention to the FOIA law.
On March 28, President Trump rolled back Obama’s regulatory power grab with an executive order directing the EPA to begin the legal process of withdrawing and rewriting the Clean Power Plan.