Sen. Inhofe: Huge EPA Budget Cuts Will Prevent Agency From 'Brainwashing Our Kids'
Snowball-throwing Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma has accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of releasing "propaganda" that is "brainwashing our kids."
Inhofe said the remarks during an interview on CNN's "New Day" as he discussed President Trump's drastic $2.8 billion cut to the EPA, or nearly a third of the agency's $8.1 billion current budget.
The Republican lawmaker said that the cuts—which would slash climate- and science-related research, grants, programs and agencies—are "good for the American people."
"We ought to make things clean," Inhofe continued. "But we ought to take all this stuff that comes out of the EPA that's brainwashing our kids, that is propaganda, things that aren't true, allegations."
It's Official: #Trump #Budget Would Make Deep Cuts to #Climate & #Science Research https://t.co/pkLXHnJsIi @SierraClub @WorldResources @NRDC— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1489672998.0
Inhofe did not go into the specifics to back up his claim, but has said the "brainwashing" comment before. In a 2016 radio interview, he accused schools of brainwashing children.
"My own granddaughter came home one day and said … 'Popi, why is it you don't understand global warming?' I did some checking, and Eric, the stuff that they teach our kids nowadays, they are brainwash—you have to un-brainwash them when they get out…"
Later in the "New Day" interview, host Poppy Harlow asked Inhofe about his opinion of EPA head Scott Pruitt, who has sued the EPA more than a dozen times as Oklahoma Attorney General and stirred new controversy when he said that carbon dioxide is not the primary contributor to climate change, contrary to accepted science.
Inhofe defended Pruitt, saying the former AG was doing a "good job" trying to block "aggressive over-regulations ... that was very detrimental to our economy."
Going further, Harlow highlighted Oklahoma's alarming spate of induced-earthquakes likely caused by the injection of fracking wastewater into underground wells.
"It's the EPA that regulates that," she remarked. "Are you comfortable with [big EPA cuts] ... that may mean more of these earthquakes in your home state?"
Inhofe, a member and former chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee chairman, then incorrectly responded that wastewater disposal was the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, not the EPA.
"No, it is the EPA," Harlow shot back. To prove her point, she pulled up a graphic of mandates that states, "EPA regulates the construction, operation, permitting and closure of injection wells used to place fluids underground for storage or disposal."
Inhofe's statement after that is pretty excruciating to watch, at least in my opinion:
Inhofe is an outspoken climate change skeptic who threw a snowball across the Senate floor in Feb. 2015 to show that just because it's snowing, global warming isn't real.
"In case we have forgotten, because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, I ask the chair, do you know what this is?" Inhofe said then. "It's a snowball. And it's just from outside here. So it's very, very cold out. Very unseasonable."
"This is just scratching the surface of the work ahead for President Trump as he seeks to lift the heavy hand of regulations by the federal government on the private sector, and it should be a signal to the American people that this country is again open for business," Inhofe wrote.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.