Teacher Confronts Scott Pruitt at Restaurant, Asks Him to Resign
Kristin Mink, a schoolteacher and mother of a 2-year-old, confronted Scott Pruitt, the embattled administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., on Monday and urged him to resign.
"This is my son. He loves animals. He loves clean air. He loves clean water. He loves clean water," Mink told Pruitt. "Meanwhile, you're slashing strong fuel standards for cars and trucks for the benefit of big corporations."
Pruitt, who was dining with a companion, is silent during the exchange.
Mink continues, "We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, somebody who believes in climate change and takes it seriously for the benefit of all of us, including our children. I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out."
Mink's Facebook profile shows she's a teacher at Sidwell Friends School. Pruitt, his companion and two security guards "fled" the restaurant after the exchange, according to Mink.
"EPA head Scott Pruitt was 3 tables away as I ate lunch with my child," she wrote in a caption accompanying the video footage. "I had to say something. This man is directly and significantly harming my child's—and every child's—health and future with decisions to roll back environmental regulations for the benefit of big corporations, while he uses taxpayer money to fund a lavish lifestyle."
She added, "He's corrupt, he's a liar, he's a climate change denier, and as a public servant, he should not be able to go out in public without hearing from the citizens he's hurting."
President Trump's EPA administrator, who infamously said carbon dioxide is "not a primary contributor" to climate change, has delayed, weakened or done away with critical EPA standards that protect our air, water and land.
Pruitt is also facing more than a dozen federal inquiries over his cozy relationships with industry leaders. Among his numerous controversies, he rented a Capitol Hill condo for $50 a night—well below market value—from the wife of a fossil fuel lobbyist. He also has a penchant of flying first class on the taxpayer dime.
EPA spokesman Lincoln Ferguson said Pruitt thanked Mink for her comments.
"Administrator Pruitt always welcomes input from Americans, whether they agree or disagree with the decisions being made at EPA," Ferguson said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. "This is evident by him listening to her comments and going on to thank her, which is not shown in the video. His leaving had nothing to do with the confrontation, he had simply finished his meal and needed to get back to EPA for a briefing."
Mink told HuffPost: "He had no defense. He had no explanation. He had no apology. He had nothing to say. When you are a government official ... you are supposed to be directly working for the citizens that you're serving. He's a public servant. When you're in that position, you should want to hear from the people who you are supposed to be taking care of."
Trump Administration Seeks to Gut Water Pollution Safeguards, Putting Communities at Risk https://t.co/xBHuMz9EHG… https://t.co/QMwYisBtvY— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1521223193.0
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
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Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.