Quantcast

Wheeler Appoints Climate Denier to EPA Science Board

Politics
Acting EPA head Andrew Wheeler testifies at a Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 16. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / Getty Images

Former coal lobbyist and acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler has named a climate denier to serve on the agency's Science Advisory Board, which is responsible for giving independent policy advice.

Among eight new members added to the board Thursday is University of Alabama in Huntsville atmospheric science professor John Christy, who has argued that the climate change predictions agreed upon by most scientists are too extreme, and that urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is not necessary, Reuters reported.


The appointment comes as Wheeler himself is seeking Senate confirmation after President Donald Trump nominated him to head the EPA permanently in January. He had been running the agency on an interim basis following the resignation of scandal-ridden former administrator Scott Pruitt.

Christy has taken his views to Congress in the past. In 2017, he testified before the House Science Committee arguing that the climate models used by international organizations were too inaccurate to be used to guide policy.

"The average of the models is considered to be untruthful in representing the recent decades of climate variation and change, and thus would be inappropriate for use in predicting future changes in the climate or for related policy decisions," he said, according to The Hill.

In 2015, he downplayed the connection between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change during his testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee. The Democrats on the committee pointed out his was "a position shared by approximately three percent of professional climate scientists."

John Christy Climate Change Denial Testimony Highlights May 13 youtu.be

"In a fair, open, and transparent fashion, EPA reviewed hundreds of qualified applicants nominated for this committee," acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement on the appointments. "Members who will be appointed or reappointed include experts from a wide variety of scientific disciplines who reflect the geographic diversity needed to represent all ten EPA regions."

Christy isn't Wheeler's only potentially controversial choice. He also selected three members with ties to industry or conservative think tanks:

1. Richard Williams: Williams works at the Mercatus Center, a think tank affiliated with George Mason University and funded by the Koch brothers. Williams has also worked for the Food and Drug Administration and argued there should be limits on the government's ability to issue regulations, The Hill reported.

2. Brant Ulsh: Ulsh works for the privately-owned M.H. Chew and Associates, which has consulted various government agencies on radiation safety, among other scientific matters. He has argued against assuming that small amounts of radiation are harmful to humans.

3. Hugh Barton: Barton is a toxicology consultant with ties to the pharmaceutical industry, having worked for Pfizer Inc., as Reuters reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Juvenile hatchery salmon flushed from a tanker truck in San Francisco Bay, California. Ben Moon

That salmon sitting in your neighborhood grocery store's fish counter won't look the same to you after watching Artifishal, a new film from Patagonia.

Read More Show Less
Natdanai Pankong / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Coconut meat is the white flesh inside a coconut.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Taylor Jones, RD

Oats are a highly nutritious grain with many health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.

Read More Show Less
Alexander Spatari / Moment / Getty Images

It seems like every day a new diet is declared the healthiest — paleo, ketogenic, Atkins, to name a few — while government agencies regularly release their own recommended dietary guidelines. But there may not be an ideal one-size-fits-all diet, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Logging shown as part of a thinning and restoration effort in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon on Oct. 22, 2014. Oregon Department of Forestry / CC BY 2.0

The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Maskot / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to wonder which foods are healthiest.

Read More Show Less
Homes in Washington, DC's Brookland neighborhood were condemned to clear room for a highway in the 1960s. The community fought back. Brig Cabe / DC Public Library

By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia

In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."

Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.

Read More Show Less