- Democratic talking points against the Affordable Clean Energy rule draw from a 2009 Obama administration memo.
- The memo called for connecting global warming to “personal worries,” like asthma and lung disease.
- Politicians are using this formula to claim people will die if Obama’s legacy is repealed.
When the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era climate regulations, Democratic talking points emphasized the potential public health impacts of pollution over global warming.
It should be expected, too. Arguments against the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule were pre-written years ago in a memo circulated by President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Time after time, the Trump Administration has sold out our children’s health to enrich special interests and big polluters pushing their toxic agenda,” Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that only mentioned the “climate” once.
“This rule is a brazen special interest handout that poisons families’ health today, and threatens their security and well-being for decades to come by accelerating the climate crisis,” Pelosi said.
California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris mentioned global warming, but ended her statement with the claim that repealing Obama-era regulations “could cause hundreds of premature deaths each year due to increased air pollution.”
Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee labeled President Donald Trump an “unindicted co-conspirator” in estimated future air pollution deaths that may never happen. (RELATED: Federal Data Supports A Key Justification For Rolling Back Obama-Era Climate Rules)
“And if you want to know why this is a terrible idea take a look out your window because we are choking on dirty air, and he would give us dirtier air to breathe,” Inslee said Wednesday.
Democrats and environmentalists have been pointing to the potential public health consequences of global warming for years, but the genesis of that argument stems from an EPA memo circulated among staff in the early days of the Obama administration.
“Most Americans will never see a polar ice cap, nor will most have the chance to see a polar bear in its natural habitat,” reads a memo circulated among top EPA officials in March 2009, just months after Obama took office.
“Therefore, it is easy to detach from the seriousness of this issue. Unfortunately, climate change in the abstract is an increasingly — and consistently — unpersuasive argument to make,” reads the memo.
“There will be many opportunities to discuss climate-related efforts this year. As we do so, we must allow the human health argument to take center stage,” reads the memo.
And that’s what the Obama EPA did. Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy routinely claimed that regulations to address carbon dioxide emissions would prevent minority children from getting asthma.
McCarthy appeared Monday on MSNBC to protest the Trump EPA’s ACE rule, saying it was part of a plot to take “away our public health protections.” ACE replaced the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
It was a climate regulation that was expected to have no measurable impact on future global warming, even by McCarthy’s own admission. So, they needed to highlight public health concerns to justify a rule estimated to cost more than $8 billion.
The memo also encouraged Obama administration officials to use people’s children to build up support carbon-cutting policies.
“This justifies our work at the most base level,” the memo reads. “By revitalizing our own Children’s Health Office, leading the global charge on this issue, and highlighting the children’s health dimension to all of our major initiatives — we will also make this issue real for many Americans who otherwise would oppose many of our regulatory actions.”
And that’s of course what Democrats and environmentalists are doing now.
“Trump’s allegiance is clear — he’s willing to pollute our air and undermine families’ health to play the hero for a few coal industry executives,” Janet Redman, a Greenpeace campaigner, said in a statement.
Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin said “our children will have to reckon with the steep environmental costs” with repealing the Clean Power Plan.
Scrapping the #CleanPowerPlan represents yet another attack on public health. More Americans will develop health conditions, the U.S. economy will fall behind as other nations outpace us on renewable energy, and our children will have to reckon with the steep environmental costs. https://t.co/WWOHIzdUf7
— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) August 21, 2018
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