Despite stiff competition, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is by common consensus the worst of the ideologues and mediocrities President Trump chose to populate his cabinet. Policies aside — and they’re terrible, from an environmental perspective — Mr. Pruitt’s self-aggrandizing and borderline thuggish behavior has disgraced his office and demoralized his employees. We opposed his nomination because he had spent his career as attorney general of Oklahoma suing the federal department he was being asked to lead on behalf of industries he was being asked to regulate. As it turns out, Mr. Pruitt is not just an industry lap dog but also an arrogant and vengeful bully and small-time grifter, bent on chiseling the taxpayer to suit his lifestyle and warm his ego.
“WHITEFISH, Mont. — When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was a state senator from this idyllic mountain town, he drove a Prius, sported a beard and pushed President Barack Obama to make clean energy a priority.
Today, the beard and Prius are gone, and Mr. Zinke has emerged as a leading figure, along with Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the environmental rollbacks that have endeared President Trump to the fossil fuel industry and outraged conservationists.In the last year, Mr. Zinke has torn up Obama-era rules related to oil, gas and mineral extraction and overseen the largest reduction of federal land protection in the nation’s history, including an effort to slash the size of Bears Ears National Monument.”
David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval
Excellent reporting by Julie Turkewitz. She writes, “But as Mr. Trump’s chief public lands administrator, Mr. Zinke has favored the fossil fuel companies that have increasingly made up his donor base, overhauling restrictions on methane emissions, fast-tracking the oil-and-gas leasing process, and pushing to open nearly the entire outer continental shelf for energy development.”
Mr. Zinke is apparently a weasel. Methane emmissions are really bad for life on the planet as we know and admire it. He dismantles environmental protections, everywhere but his own state of Montana, since he is deeply ambitious for more political career. He was for fighting climate change when Barack Obama was president. Working for this new administration, it is no longer an issue. Just another politician for purchase.
I just enjoyed the The Will Rogers Follies at the Goodspeed Opera House. David Lutken was fabulous, and quoted Will Rogers as saying, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” But then added, though some men are far more trying than others. Will Rogers made a lot of jokes at the expense of politicians of both major parties. Thinking of Zinke, the weasel described in this NYT piece, I would amend the statement. I never met a man I didn’t like, unless he was a politician and practicing hypocrite and sycophant.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com
“The Kochs, who are not religious, may have been focussed more on pocketbook issues than on Pence’s faith. According to Scott Peterson, the executive director of the Checks & Balances Project, a watchdog group that monitors attempts to influence environmental policy, Pence was invited to the Koch seminar only after he did the brothers a major political favor. By the spring of 2009, Koch Industries, like other fossil-fuel companies, felt threatened by growing support in Congress for curbing carbon emissions, the primary cause of climate change. Americans for Prosperity devised a “No Climate Tax” pledge for candidates to sign, promising not to spend any government funds on limiting carbon pollution. At first, the campaign languished, attracting only fourteen signatures. The House, meanwhile, was moving toward passage of a “cap and trade” bill, which would charge companies for carbon pollution. If the bill were enacted, the costs could be catastrophic to Koch Industries, which releases some twenty-four million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere a year, and owns millions of acres of untapped oil reserves in Canada, plus coal-fired power plants and oil refineries.
Pence, who had called global warming “a myth” created by environmentalists in their “latest Chicken Little attempt to raise taxes,” took up the Kochs’ cause. He not only signed their pledge but urged others to do so as well. He gave speeches denouncing the cap-and-trade bill—which passed the House but got held up in the Senate—as a “declaration of war on the Midwest.” His language echoed that of the Koch groups. Americans for Prosperity called the bill “the largest excise tax in history,” and Pence called it “the largest tax increase in American history.” (Neither statement was true.) He used a map created by the Heritage Foundation, which the Kochs supported, to make his case, and he urged House Republicans to hold “energy summits” opposing the legislation in their districts, sending them home over the summer recess with kits to bolster their presentations.
According to the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, after Pence began promoting the Kochs’ pledge the number of signatories in the House soared, reaching a hundred and fifty-six. James Valvo, the policy director for Americans for Prosperity, who spearheaded the pledge, told the Reporting Workshop that support from Pence and other Republicans helped “a scrappy outlier” become “the established position.” The cap-and-trade bill died in the Senate.”
“The proposed new policy — the details of which are still being worked out — is championed by the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, who has argued that releasing the raw data would let others test the scientific findings more thoroughly. “Mr. Pruitt believes that Americans deserve transparency,” said Liz Bowman, an E.P.A. spokeswoman.
Critics, though, say that Mr. Pruitt’s goal is not academic rigor, but to undermine much of the science that underpins modern environmental regulations governing clean water and clean air. Restricting the application of established science when crafting new E.P.A. rules could make it easier to weaken or repeal existing health regulations, these people say.
The proposal is “cloaked in all of these buzzwords, in all of the positive things that we want to be for: ‘science,’ ‘transparency,’” said Dr. Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch, an independent blog that monitors scientific journals and exposes errors and misconduct. While Dr. Oransky said he agreed that it was critical to hold the scientific process accountable, he said he believed Mr. Pruitt’s intent was to inject doubt into areas of public health where none exists. “Data he doesn’t like will get disqualified,” Dr. Oransky said.”
“The Rev. Richard Cizik used to believe climate change was a myth. The science had to be rigged, he thought; those who believed in it were just tree-huggers. But in 2002, a friend convinced Mr. Cizik to go to a conference about climate change, and there, he said, “the scales came off my eyes.”
Nearly 70 percent of Americans now say that climate change is mainly caused by human activity, the highest percentage since Gallup began tracking it two decades ago. The number of Americans who say they worry “a great deal” about climate change has risen by about 20 percentage points.
But people don’t change their minds easily about controversial issues. So what is behind this trend?Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, said Americans’ opinions about global warming have fluctuated over the years, shifting along with partisan fissures, extreme weather events and messages from political and religious figures. But the overall upward trend in opinion, he said, was strongly tied to the fact that more people are beginning to relate to climate change as a personal issue.”
“This newly released video seems to further confirm investigative journalist Peter Stone’s reporting from last spring that the Kochs were “plotting a multimillion dollar assault on electric vehicles.” ”
“Over the past two decades, Republicans have grown increasingly doubtful about climate change, even as Democrats have grown increasingly convinced that it’s happening and is caused by humans. But recent research published in the journal Climatic Change reveals greater nuance in partisan climate opinions across the country.
“Pockets of Republicans, or even a plurality or majority, support some pro-climate issues,” said Matto Mildenberger, a professor of political science at the University of California Santa Barbara and lead author on the study. Researchers found variation in Democratic beliefs too, he said, but those findings were less politically relevant because a majority of Democrats tend to accept climate science and support related policies no matter where they live.The study’s maps show how Republican support swings between minority and majority, depending on geography and how questions are posed.”
“There is, after all, an overwhelming scientific consensus that human activities are warming the planet. When conservative politiciaThakns and pundits challenge that consensus, they do so not on the basis of careful consideration of the evidence — come on, who are we kidding? — but by impugning the motives of thousands of scientists around the world. All of these scientists, they insist, motivated by peer pressure and financial rewards, are falsifying data and suppressing contrary views.”
Thank you Paul Krugman. Here are some top comments I approve.
Socrates is a trusted commenter Verona NJ 6 hours ago
To understand how destructive Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Pollution Agency are to ordinary Americans, look at Scott Pruitt’s ‘service’ to Oklahoma, where he was the Attorney General from 2011 to 2017.
In a normal year— before 2009 when fracking went wild —Oklahoma had one or two quakes per year. It now has one to two quakes per day thanks to unregulated energy company fracking.
In 2015, it had 857 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or higher, more than the rest of the lower 48 states combined.
These earthquakes happen when million of gallons of wastewater are pumped underground as a by-product of fracking by natural gas companies.
Scott Pruitt is a contractor for natural gas and energy companies; they bankrolled his Attorney General campaigns; they tell him what to do and he does it and citizens suffer badly.
Instead of suing the energy companies for making Oklahoma the earthquake capital of the world that was damaging Oklahoma homes by the thousands, what did Scott Pruitt do as Oklahoma Attorney General ?
Pruitt’s office sued the EPA to block its Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule; Pruitt sued the EPA 13 times.
And in another sign of pure evil in 2012, Pruitt kept Oklahoma out of a mortgage settlement reached by 49 other states with five national lenders, because he works exclusively for large corporations.
Make no mistake, America, Scott Pruitt – and Trump who appointed him – represent pure destructive corporate greed and evil.
Reply 803 Recommend
Blue Moon Where Nenes Fly 7 hours ago
As a trained scientist, I realize that professional and scholarly peer review are the most robust and credible processes that I have seen in my life.
We ignore scientific consensus on global warming and climate change at our peril. In fact, our peril is now right at our doorstep – and it need not knock. We have left the door open. For all to see.
Reply 581 Recommended
rf Arlington, TX 6 hours ago
As sure as the sun rises in the east, there will be a response by R.L. to anything and everything that Paul Krugman writes. Let me suggest a couple of things relevant to this column. First, climate scientists have studied the phenomenon of global warming for over 50 years with thorough research, and their findings have been published in peer-reviewed articles. About 97% of those scientists agree that global warming is real and that the inhabitants of this earth are major contributors to the problem. Science has always been about making observations and drawing conclusions from those observations. Among most scientists, politics is not a consideration when presenting those conclusions. I know because I am a scientist, and I worked with many other scientists for over 40 years.
Second, the EPA has been perhaps the most important safeguard for the health and safety of the citizens of the United States. Have they been heavy handed in some cases? I don’t know the answer to that, but I suspect to those who oppose any regulations, the regulations themselves are considered as heavy handed. When I think of the EPA, I think of the rivers and streams that organization saved from destruction. I think of the toxic waste dumps, many related to increased diseases such as cancer, which have been cleaned up by the EPA. I think of the regulations designed to protect the purity of our air and water. If some industries were adversely affected by these regulations, so be it!
In Reply to Richard Luettgen Reply 428 Recommended
“All of that is bad enough. But Mr. Pruitt recently unveiled a plan that amounts to a slow-rolling catastrophe in the making: the creation of an antagonistic “red team” of dissenting scientists to challenge the conclusions reached by thousands of scientists over decades of research on climate change. It will serve only to confuse the public and sets a deeply troubling precedent for policy-making at the E.P.A.
The red-team approach makes sense in the military and in consumer and technology companies, where assumptions about enemy strategy or a competitor’s plans are rooted in unknowable human choices. But the basic physics of the climate are well understood. Burning fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide. And carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. There is no debate about that. The link is as certain as the link between smoking and cancer.
A broad consensus of scientists also warn of the influence of the warming climate on extreme weather events. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the enormous wildfires in the Western United States and widespread flooding from monsoons in Southeast Asia are potent reminders of the cost of ignoring climate science.
As a Republican like Mr. Pruitt, I too embrace the promise of the free market and worry about the perils of overregulation. But decisions must be based on reliable science. The red team begins with his politically preferred conclusion that climate change isn’t a problem, and it will seek evidence to justify that position. That’s the opposite of how science works. True science follows the evidence. The critical tests of peer review and replication ensure that the consensus is sound. Government bases policy on those results. This applies to liberals and conservatives alike.”
I do not have time to write about every article of Op-ed I feel is important to the critical narrative of our lives and future. That is why I often rely on one of two of the most popular comments in the comments section, to give some reflection to the original post. Here are the two top comments, which I endodrse:
As a Republican with more than 40 years of involvement in climate research and climate policy I respect Ms.Whitman’s position but wish she would speak more directly; Scott Pruitt’s appointment to head the EPA flows from the Mike Pence relationship with the Koch brothers and Steve Bannon’s connections to the Mercer family. Neither duo have any interest in the use of science for setting pol.icy because they wish policy to support the concentration and expansion of wealth, not the long-term interests of the American people. Pruitt is simply an enabler for those favoring unchecked exploitation of resources no matter what the damage to the environment nor long-term costs to health. He is the analogue to Jeffrey Sessions support of racism and Kris Kobach’s anti-immigration posturing. None of these have American interests at heart and in a different political setting would be the target of investigation for actions undermining national security.Pruitt’s dereliction of duty in the aftermath of toxic spills after hurricane Harvey may do great damage to the health of many Texans.
Pruitt and those he serves are unlikely to pay any attention to Ms. Whitman’s challenge. Therefore, the best approach is to open their “analysis” to daylight through freedom-of-information requests. Put their arguments out there and invite real scientists to take them apart. Then get good journalists to translate the scientists’ work for public consumption. Instead of trying to bottle up Pruitt’s bad idea, let him proceed and use it as a springboard for crushing deniers.