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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Air quality in the U.S. has declined over the past 2 years since President Trump took office, reports AP.

The big picture: The EPA is expected to issue emissions regulations for coal-fired power plants on Wednesday that are more modest than an Obama-era rule that never took effect — the latest Trump administration move to loosen environmental rules. Trump previously said the U.S. has "the cleanest air in the world," and touted that it has improved throughout his presidency. Wildfires contribute to poor air quality, and the West Coast has seen 2 major seasons in 2017 and 2018, AP found.

By the numbers: There have been 15% more days with unhealthy air in the U.S. during the past 2 years than there were on average from 2013 to 2016.

  • 532 metro areas reported a combined 4,134 days of poor air quality last year.
  • There were 140 instances accounted for in 2017 and 2018 when cities reached the 2 lowest categories of "very unhealthy" and "hazardous," per AP.
  • Nearly 100,000 people die annually because of bad air quality.

But, but, but: Per AP: "Scientists say that it is too early to see the effects of changes in environmental policy of the Trump administration."

  • However, the story notes that scientists believe that Trump's moves to weaken environmental regulations and ease enforcement could transform "what has so far been a modest, two-year backslide into a dangerous trend."

Meanwhile, despite the most recent decline in air quality, there are fewer poor days presently than there were in the early 2000s, 1990s and 1980s.

Go deeper

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro.

4 hours ago - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, a group with ties to prominent Democrats that's been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from the right.