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Report: EPA Hires 12 More Bodyguards for Pruitt, Costing $2M Annually for Full Security Team
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has been noted for taking unusual steps to operate with extreme caution at the job—including the installation of a $25,000 soundproof communications booth and contravening a bi-partisan EPA transparency practice of keeping his schedule secret.
Now, CNN reports, the EPA is expanding Pruitt's security detail with an additional 12 agents, meaning his total security fleet stands at 30 bodyguards. This will cost the department $2 million a year in salaries alone and does not include training, equipment or travel.
Meanwhile, President Trump's budget blueprint would cut the EPA's funds by more than 30 percent.
Before the new hires, Pruitt's security detail had already demanded "triple the manpower of his predecessors" and is forcing "officials to rotate in special agents from around the country who otherwise would be investigating environmental crimes," the Washington Post reported last month.
No other administrator has needed 24/7 security but Pruitt has reportedly received more death threats than any other EPA chief. The inspector general said the office has launched investigations into more than 70 such threats.
"We have at least four times—four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. McCarthy," said assistant inspector general Patrick Sullivan, referring to President Obama's EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy.
"The EPA is a lightning rod. We get threats from both sides of the spectrum," Sullivan told CNN. "Some people believe the EPA is not doing enough to enforce environmental laws, and they're upset about that. Other people think the EPA is doing too much, vis-à-vis enforcing environmental laws and they're upset about that."
However, eyebrows are raising over Pruitt's questionable use of taxpayer money. In August, the inspector general launched a "preliminary investigation" into Pruitt's frequent trips back to his home state of Oklahoma "at taxpayer expense" following congressional requests. Airfare for these trips reportedly cost more than $12,000.
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By Wudan Yan
In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."
On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.
By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans
Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.
While airlines only serve bottled drinking water directly to customers, they use the plane's water for coffee and tea, and passengers can drink the tap water. Aitor Diago / Getty Images
You might want to think twice before washing your hands in an airplane bathroom.
By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis
Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.
Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.