As you cover the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) watered-down version of the Clean Power Plan – a handout to President Donald Trump’s Big Coal cronies – keep in mind that the cost-benefit analysis used to justify this rollback doesn’t play by the Trump administration’s own rules.
Trump’s EPA launched an attack on the use of co-benefits in its economic analysis, claiming that these very real benefits in reducing smog and air pollution should not be counted when tallying the costs and benefits of new rules. Co-benefits are the indirect benefits that stem from environmental protections.
Yet in today’s rollback of the Clean Power Plan, the EPA had to count the co-benefits so it could claim that the benefits of the rollback exceeded the costs. Without counting co-benefits, the net cost of the rollback would have totaled nearly $1 billion, according to EPA’s own numbers in the final rule.
In other words, the EPA is blatantly cherry-picking its cost-benefit analysis methods. The agency is counting co-benefits when their inclusion supports Trump administration priorities such as Big Coal handouts, but ignores co-benefits to justify getting rid of commonsense environmental protections like the mercury rule.
Hiding evidence and manipulating scientific analysis is nothing new for Trump’s EPA, but the agency’s selective use of co-benefits is still breathtaking in its brazen hypocrisy.