BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Janet McCabe, former acting assistant administrator for air quality at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, now a key player in Indiana University's Grand Challenge initiative focused on environmental change, released the following statement today regarding the EPA's newly announced rollback of emission standards for new coal and natural gas-fired power plants:
"While not unexpected, this proposal further demonstrates how EPA is willfully turning its back on its responsibility to protect human health. The government's own analysis suggests that a rollback of standards with existing coal plants will lead to thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of new cases of respiratory problems.
"Rather than abandoning reasonable standards, we should be doubling down on investments in technology that limits emissions and helps us become more resilient amidst an already dire climate outlook. Setting aside the human toll, the willingness of EPA to put forth this standard on the heels of the recent National Climate Assessment, which found climate change could decrease U.S. GDP 10 percent by the end of the century, is even more baffling.
"The Midwest in particular is projected to bear a significant brunt of climate change impacts in the decades to come. Relaxing standards will only further inhibit our ability to combat decreased crop yields, costly flooding or new disease risks -- all factors stemming from climate change."
While at EPA, McCabe helped write the existing standards that today's announcement could roll back. At IU's Environmental Resilience Institute, McCabe is part of a team of IU Grand Challenge initiative experts working to equip local and state officials in the Midwest with the resources and expertise needed to respond and adapt to the effects of climate change.