Former Coal Lobbyist Confirmed as No. 2 at EPA
The Senate voted on Thursday to confirm former Inhofe staffer and coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to the position of deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to serve as Scott Pruitt's second in command.
Democrats Heitkamp, Manchin and Donnelly joined with Republicans to give approval for Wheeler to move into a position regulating the industry on whose behalf he was just lobbying (for Murray Energy.)
And because Wheeler would become acting administrator in the event that Pruitt resigns or is fired, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) likened it to "a shadow confirmation vote for the next administrator of the EPA."
"Andrew Wheeler's coal credentials are without equal. He is, without question, a member of the coal industry's Hall of Fame," said Markey, the AP reported.
"Sadly, I am concerned that Andrew Wheeler's background means that he will never understand that saving coal is not the job of the EPA," Markey added. "It is the EPA's job to regulate coal to protect public health and the environment."
According to the AP, environmental groups said that Pruitt and Wheeler could be a devastating combination.
"Before the Trump administration, it would have been inconceivable that a coal and chemical industry lobbyist with a long history of hostility toward environmental policy would be the No. 2 at EPA," said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group.
"Wheeler wrote a post on his personal Facebook account the day before Super Tuesday pleading with those considering voting for Trump to reconsider. In his six-point critique, Wheeler questioned Trump's character, business acumen and viability as a general-election candidate. Trump was a 'bully,' Wheeler wrote in the since-deleted Facebook post obtained by The Post. He said that Trump 'hasn't been that successful' in business and 'has more baggage then all of the other Republican candidates combined.' Wheeler added that Trump 'has demonstrated through the debates and interviews that he doesn't understand how the government works.'"
For a deeper dive:
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By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
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Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.
She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.
"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.
She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.
This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.
"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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