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.
Why Pruitt's 'Cooperative Federalism' Spells Trouble for Clean Water Protection https://t.co/E5KV6M44Cq @WaterAidAmerica @global_water— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1488848425.0
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.
Only Mass Mobilization Can Save the EPA https://t.co/lgpvEhnuJb @ScienceNewsOrg @Greenpeace— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1488924908.0
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.
Interactive Map Shows if Your Drinking Water Is at Risk From Trump's Executive Order https://t.co/tnV4CwKmaq (via @EcoWatch @ewg)— Sierra Club (@Sierra Club)1488724203.0
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.
By Brett Wilkins
One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.
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By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson
The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.
Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.
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By Tara Lohan
Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.
A monarch butterfly caterpillar feeds on common milkweed on Poplar Island in Maryland. Photo: Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program, (CC BY-NC 2.0)