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Trump's EPA Advisor Myron Ebell a 'Superstar of the Denialosphere'
By Alex Formuzis and Sonya Lunder
Myron Ebell, head of President-elect Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team, is a notorious denier of global warming whose biography unashamedly notes that he's considered a "climate criminal" by activists and "a superstar of the denialosphere" by The Climate War author Eric Pooley. But he's also director of environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which touts "the life-enhancing value of chemicals"—chemicals like arsenic, DDT and PCBs.
One of the the Competitive Enterprise Institute's projects is SafeChemicalPolicy.org. The site is bursting with articles and reports that cast doubt on the dangers of toxic chemicals and pesticides in food, water and consumer products, and disparage the work of public health advocates, with Environmental Working Group (EWG) one of the site's favorite targets.
Here are just a few examples:
- SafeChemicalsPolicy.org downplays the risks of arsenic in drinking water and toxic pesticides found on foods young children love to eat.
- An article on the site says it's wrong for schools to notify parents before pesticides are sprayed inside and around schools.
- It disparages public health advocates' concerns over fetuses being exposed to endocrine disruptors in the womb, including Monsanto's notorious PCBs and the now-banned pesticide DDT.
- It actually makes the claim that glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, which the World Health Organization considers probably carcinogenic to humans—has "liberated" children from having to work in corn fields, pulling weeds.
"The simple reality," says the site, "is that modern living means living with chemicals." We couldn't agree more. The problem is that too many of those chemicals are hazardous to our health. The EPA is supposed to protect us from dangerous chemicals, not defend them, as Ebell would almost certainly do if he ran the agency.
As it turns out, EWG is a popular target among Trump's other top advisers. Steve Bannon, the former campaign CEO and incoming chief White House strategist attacked us when he was running the alt-right website Breitbart News.
We're used to it. In fact, when science deniers like Ebell and Bannon regularly get worked up over something you've said or done, it usually means you've said or done something right.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."
georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images
By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.