EPA to ‘Massage Death Projections’ to Make Trump’s Coal Plan Look Less Deadly: Report

If your projections make a policy look dangerous, there’s two options—change the policy, or change the projections. The Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly planning to do the latter by adopting a new method for projecting the future health risks of air pollution. The new method has not been been peer-reviewed and is not scientifically sound, The New York Times reports, citing five people said to have knowledge of the plan. The change would drastically lower an estimate made last year by the Trump administration that as many as 1,400 more people could die prematurely each year under a proposed new rule on emissions from coal plants. Lowering the projections would make it much easier to defend the new regulation, known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule. “Particulate matter is extremely harmful and it leads to a large number of premature deaths,” said Richard L. Revesz, an expert in environmental law at New York University. He called the expected change a “monumental departure” from the approach used over the past several decades.