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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Study: Air pollution linked to coal plants more deadly than previously thought

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Tuesday, November 28, 2023   

Researchers are out with new findings they say show that death rates linked to air pollution from coal plants are underestimated.

A Wisconsin environmental group hopes the study compels quicker action to cut harmful emissions. The study, led by experts at a handful of U.S. universities, found that over the past two decades, there were 460,000 premature deaths associated with fine particulate matter sent into the air from coal-fired power plants. That's more than what health and scientific communities had previously thought.

Ciaran Gallagher, energy and air manager with the group Clean Wisconsin, believes while coal facilities are being phased out, utilities and policymakers should speed up the energy transition.

"A lot of wind and solar is being added to the electricity grid every day, which is really exciting to see in Wisconsin and across the Midwest, and it just needs to ramp up faster, " Gallagher said.

Utilities around the U.S. have announced emissions goals, although some companies contend certain fossil fuels can't be completely put to rest right away because of electricity demands while cleaner sources are added. But Gallagher said the regulatory scene in states like Wisconsin makes it easier for utilities to move the goalposts. She's hopeful stricter standards being weighed by the federal EPA will prompt stronger commitments.

Gallagher has analyzed the proposed regulations and says for Wisconsin, they could result in nearly $50 million in broader health benefits by reducing the impact of respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular disease.

As she put it, "$50 million is a massive benefit for Wisconsinites to see in health benefits from the closed coal plants in our state."

Gallagher said the new study might mean the health benefits could be even higher.

Federal data show coal contributed to 36% of Wisconsin's electricity generation in 2022, down from more than half as recently as 2018. Meanwhile, study authors show the rate of deaths from coal pollution began to slow as more plants were being shut down.


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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

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