PAPER: Air Quality Will Be Better Under Trump Than Obama

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
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Don’t listen to environmentalists, air quality will continue to improve under President Donald Trump despite proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget and regulatory regime, according to a new report.

“While environmental activists will always demand larger budgets and tighter standards, Americans can rest assured that they will continue to benefit from outstanding air quality in the years to come,” Oren Cass, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, wrote in a report released Thursday.

Cass argues air quality “during the Trump administration will be the best on record in the United States and far better than levels recorded in many purportedly more enviro-conscious European countries.”

Cass argues that environmentalist claims that air quality will deteriorate don’t add up. Historically, air quality has improved regardless of who’s president, whose budgets are cut and what regulations are cut or slowed.

“Pollution has fallen without exception; emissions of large particulate matter fell fastest in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush years, volatile organic compounds under Clinton, fine particulate matter under George W. Bush, and sulfur and nitrogen dioxides under Obama,” Cass wrote.

“In the first two years of the Reagan administration, the EPA’s budget was cut by one-third and its staff by one-fifth,” Cass added. “Yet emissions of every major air pollutant fell during Reagan’s time in office.”

EPA’s muddled the issue by imposing ever-stricter air quality regulations, moving the goalposts on the issue and creating a narrative that U.S. air quality is unhealthy.

“The result: the EPA can report a seemingly alarming fact that more than 100 million Americans live in counties whose air quality fails to meet its standard.25 Indeed, some national parks fail to meet it,” Cass wrote.

EPA’s own data shows concentrations of six major criteria pollutants it regulates have fallen 71 percent since 1970. Toxic air releases from industrial facilities are down 56 percent since 2005.

Environmentalists and former Obama administration officials have lambasted the White House’s proposed cuts to EPA’s budget. Activists have claimed U.S. air quality would deteriorate to the days before the Clean Air Act.

“Turning back the clock to 1977 will not ‘Make America Great Again’. It will ‘Make America Gag Again,'” Conrad Schneider, the advocacy director at Clean Air Task Force, said in a statement.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Trump’s budget “ignores the will and health of our people” and was an “all-out assault on clean air, water and land.”

“You can’t put ‘America first’ when you put the health of its people and its country last,” McCarthy said.

And that’s only Trump’s proposed budget. Environmentalists have furthered attacked Trump for putting Obama-era power plant regulations for carbon dioxide emissions and traditional pollutants under review.

“They want us to travel back to when smokestacks damaged our health and polluted our air, instead of taking every opportunity to support clean jobs of the future,” McCarthy said of Trump’s executive order signed in late March.

Cass said such arguments ignore the facts, saying “even if the EPA has fewer enforcement resources, it is difficult to envision major emitters violating federal law by shifting back to outdated technologies.”

“Perhaps the EPA will slow its development of new regulations, but those on the books already ensure continued progress through the heightened demands that they impose on new sources of pollution,” Cass wrote.

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