References to “Climate Change” Removed from EPA Regulatory Impact Analysis
On September 5, 2018, E&E News reported that several references to climate change were removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory impact analysis on the proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule. A draft of the analysis, dated July 2018, included a section titled “Health and Welfare Impacts from Climate Change.” The section stated:
“In 2009, EPA Administrator issued the Endangerment Finding . . . [concluding] that the current, elevated concentrations of [greenhouse gases (GHGs)] in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare of current and future generations in the United States . . .
[Since then], the climate has continued to change, with new records being set for a number of climate indicators such as global average surface temperatures, Arctic sea ice, CO2 concentrations, and sea level rise. Additionally, a number of major scientific assessments have been released that improve understanding of the climate system and strengthen the case that GHGs endanger public health and welfare.”
The section was removed during review of the regulatory impact analysis by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB also removed several paragraphs discussing how climate change will affect human health and welfare. The paragraphs, which were included in a second draft of the analysis dated August 2018, stated:
“For health, the projected impacts include the increased likelihood of heat waves, negative impacts on air quality, more intense hurricanes, more frequent and intense storms and heavy precipitation and impacts on infectious and waterborne diseases. For welfare, the projected impacts include reduced water supplies in some regions, increased water pollution, increased occurrences of floods and droughts, rising sea levels and damage to coastal infrastructure, increased peak electricity demand, changes in ecosystems and effects on indigenous communities.”