Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Climate Deniers Thrive at EPA

Popular

By Nadia Prupis

Days after his confirmation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt began stacking his department with conservatives, many of them climate deniers and all of them eager to axe environmental regulations—much like President Trump himself, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

To start, there's Ryan Jackson, former chief of staff to Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the most outspoken climate deniers in Congress, infamous for bringing a snowball into the chamber to illustrate that global warming was not real. Jackson will serve as Pruitt's chief of staff.

Then there's Byron Brown, another Inhofe staffer, who will now be Jackson's deputy.

Andrew Wheeler, formerly of Inhofe's team but now a fossil fuel lobbyist, is at the top of Pruitt's list to be deputy EPA chief, although he will require confirmation by the Senate.

And two Trump campaigners, Don Benton and Douglas Ericksen, are also taking on senior positions in the agency.

The Times' Coral Davenport wrote:

To friends and critics, Mr. Pruitt seems intent on building an EPA leadership that is fundamentally at odds with the career officials, scientists and employees who carry out the agency's missions. That might be a recipe for strife and gridlock at the federal agency tasked to keep safe the nation's clean air and water while safeguarding the planet's future.

It remains to be seen whether that kind of conflict will arise between Pruitt and EPA employees. Under Trump, the agency has already rolled back critical Obama-era regulations, effectively restricting the government's ability to prevent water pollution and collect data on methane emissions.

More anti-environmental plans and executive orders from Pruitt and Trump are expected to come this week as well. Meanwhile, the president's first draft budget includes a proposal to slash the EPA's annual funding by about 24 percent or $2 billion.

EPA employees say morale has plummeted, particularly for those who helped strengthen regulations under former President Obama and will now be ordered to undo their own work.

The changes have also come in more subtle ways. The day after Trump took office, WhiteHouse.gov scrubbed any mention of "climate change" and on Tuesday, the watchdog group Environmental Data and Governance Initiative reported that the agency's Office of Science and Technology Policy no longer lists "science" in its own description.

"This is probably the most important thing we've found so far," Environmental Data and Governance Initiative's Gretchen Gehrke told the New Republic. "The language changes here are not nuanced—they have really important regulatory implications."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Activists of Greenpeace and Fridays For Future demonstrate on a canal in front of the cooling tower of the coal-fired power plant Datteln 4 of power supplier Uniper in Datteln, western Germany, on May 20. INA FASSBENDER / AFP / Getty Images

The Bundestag and Bundesrat — Germany's lower and upper houses of parliament — passed legislation on Friday that would phase out coal use in the country in less than two decades as part of a road map to reduce carbon emissions.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Tara Lohan

Would you like to take a crack at solving climate change? Or at least creating a road map of how we could do it?

Read More Show Less
Climate campaigners and Indigenous peoples across Canada have spent the past several years protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline. Mark Klotz / Flickr / cc

By Elana Sulakshana

Rainforest Action Network recently uncovered a document that lists the 11 companies that are currently insuring the controversial Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in Canada. These global insurance giants are providing more than USD$500 million in coverage for the massive risks of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, and they're also lined up to cover the expansion project.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Leah Campbell

After several months of stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many households are beginning to experience family burnout from spending so much time together.

Read More Show Less
Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less