Here's yet another sign that in the age of US President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, the foxes are feasting in the coop. According to a report in the New York Times, former George W. Bush administration official Dr. Nancy Beck has returned from a stretch with chemical manufacturer lobbying group the American Chemistry Council to serve as a top deputy in the EPA's toxic chemical unit.
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Donald Trump's appointment of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency this year drew eyebrows, because Pruitt had made his career as a longstanding legal opponent of the EPA and a prominent climate change sceptic. Since he's been put in charge of the agency, Pruitt has allegedly made plans to water down federal scientific research on the climate, deflected from the issue during natural disasters, and cut loose hundreds of employees in a deregulation push.
Over the weekend, a confusing back-and-forth between the White House and the Wall Street Journal briefly reignited hopes that the US would remain an active participant in the Paris Climate Agreement. Following a climate change conference in Montreal, which the US was not attending in an official capacity, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete told the WSJ that "The US has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement".
In a bonkers interview with CNN yesterday, Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt doubled down on the climate censorship that's become foundational to this US administration's environmental agenda. A longtime denier of man-made climate change, Pruitt told CNN it is "insensitive" to discuss the role climate change may have played in strengthening Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma.
As unprecedented flooding from Hurricane Harvey sets off a series of environmental disasters in Houston, the Environmental Protection Agency is shedding hundreds of jobs. E&E News reports that roughly 450 employees are poised to leave the EPA as the organisation's lead, Scott Pruitt, pushes for voluntary buyouts, early retirement and budget cuts.
PITTSBURGH -- America's storied "Steel City" is on the forefront of an energy revolution, transitioning from its long reliance on fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficient homes. In June, Mayor Bill Peduto joined an alliance of over 100 cities committing to solar and wind power. The announcement came only hours after President Trump made known he was ending US involvement in the Paris agreement, a 195-nation pledge to fight climate change by dramatically reducing carbon emissions. Trump said he "represents the citizens of Pittsburgh not Paris." Mayor Peduto, the same day as Trump's speech, assured the president that the city "will follow the guides of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy and future."
The world would be laughing at the US if it weren't for the fact that climate change is a global problem. EPA head Scott Pruitt travelled to Italy to represent the US in the Group of Seven climate talks yesterday. Hours later he decided this wasn't for him and he let an assistant finish up his business today. One representative called the US participation a "footnote on climate action".
EPA head Scott Pruitt has spent the last week insisting that the Trump administration never discussed climate change when debating the decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change. But now that the US has withdrawn from that agreement, he thinks it's a great time to have a public debate in what sounds like some sort of twisted game show from Hell.
At President Trumps' behest, the US is joining Syria and Nicaragua in abdicating from the Paris Agreement, a coalition of 147 nations to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions. While Trump faced heavy international pressure to remain within the agreement, from the Pope during his trip to the Vatican, China's President Xi and European leaders during the G7 summit, the GOP overwhelmingly opposed Paris from the get-go. EPA head Scott Pruitt has long argued that the United States' emissions reduction goal under Paris weakened the US economy.
Republican senators are reportedly planning to send President Trump a legally dubious letter asking him to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, a historic accord to combat climate change. Although EPA head Scott Pruitt and others have said they want the US to withdraw, Trump faces intense pressure to stay in from China's President Xi, the Pope and members of his inner circle. He has repeatedly delayed making any final decision on the matter.
President Trump's "America First Energy Plan" will, ironically, put the US far behind China and India in the push to modernise its energy grid. China and India are both on track to "overachieve" their Paris Climate Agreement goals of de-carbonising their energy grids by 2030, according to the Climate Action Tracker study released Monday. Of the world's top three carbon emitters -- China, India and the US -- only the US is setting itself up to potentially fail its target goal.
On Monday, the Washington Post reports that EPA head Scott Pruitt was behind the dismissal of half of the members of the agency's Board of Science Counselors. The 18-member board oversees the rigour and integrity of the scientific research guiding policy decisions coming out of the EPA, from climate change to air pollution. Even more alarming, a spokesman for the EPA told the New York Times their replacements may be representatives from the polluting industries themselves. While the move has outraged some environmentalists, it seems completely in line with Pruitt's longstanding goal of curtailing the EPA's regulatory power from within.
We all hoped EPA head, Scott Pruitt, would eventually face consequences when he falsely claimed that there was "tremendous disagreement" about whether human activity cause global warming.
The time may have finally arrived.
Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt is a simple man. He likes denying climate change, obscuring the thousands in campaign funds he's received from the fossil fuel industry, and denying climate change some more. Bloomberg reported this morning that Pruitt is now saying he doesn't believe the overwhelming scientific consensus that CO2 is the primary contributor of global warming. What a convenient viewpoint to take when your oil buddies want you to deregulate carbon emissions!
The existential threat posed by climate change can often obscure the more immediate vulnerabilities that regulatory bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency guard against. As Scott Faber of the nonprofit research organisation Environmental Working Group put it, "The EPA is the only guarantee that when you turn on your tap your water isn't full of shit." So it's alarming that Scott Pruitt, newly confirmed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, once worked on behalf of donors in Oklahoma to stop his new employer from keeping literal chicken crap out of the water.