EPA Worst Adminstrator Ever: Scott Pruitt

The EPA has existed for 47 years.   It was created by Richard Nixon in 1970, by Executive Order.    Richard Nixon also signed into law, the Clean Air (1970) and Clean Water Acts (as amended 1972).   The first line of the  Clean Water Act states:

The objective of this Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.

This first sentence is powerful, as the act directs the federal government in conjunction with state agencies to RESTORE  the quality of the  nation’s waters.   Thus, there was an acknowledgement of a problem.   Thus, the creation of the agency was direct the government to take a leadership role in the restoration of  our water and air resources.  Nixon being from California,  likely understood this, as the Colorado watershed encompasses 7 states in the US and 2 states in Mexico.   California is downstream to all pollutants discharged into the Colorado River in the US.

Scott Pruitt may like to see environmental policy run from the state and local level,  mainly for political reasons, but it is the geographical reality which makes so many of our environmental problems, a national problem, requiring federal action.   The pollutants  from the coal burning plants goes to the upper atmosphere,  where there are no signs saying “You are entering Massachusetts” or even, “You are entering Canada.”

Scott Pruitt is an attorney of law.   He has done nothing to restore or improve air or water quality in his home state of Oklahoma, as Attorney General.   Instead, he accepted contributions from Tyson foods, who were being sued for polluting the Illinois River that flows through Oklahoma.

Oklahoma AG and EPA Pick Pruitt Stalled Pollution Lawsuit After Contributions From Poultry Industry

His track record as AG was to attack EPA actions, initiating 13 lawsuits against the EPA.

Now as administrator of the EPA, his actions run counter the core mission of the EPA, to preserve the water, land and air natural resources of the US for future generations to enjoy.   His perspective is one of an advocate for individuals to pollute as much as they want, so long as they don’t endanger the health and safety of general population.   Individual liberties may sound good, but in result can be extremely harmful.

I have posted numerous blogs on the actions of the EPA under the Trump administration, including the most recent one on banning EPA scientists from making presentations at a scientific meeting on the Narraganset Bay estuary.   I was please to see Steven Colbert, the late night show host,   really tearing into Scott Pruitt’s policies, noting that until he pulled the 3 scientists from the meeting, it is likely few people knew about this estuary, or even what an estuary was.

Scott Pruitt latest attack on the agency he runs is to remove as many of the independent and dedicated environmental scientists in the advisory groups in the EPA and replace them with people of his own choosing.   This tactic in this case is to bar anyone who is receiving funding from the EPA from participating in the advisory groups.

Citing The Bible, The EPA Just ChangedAdvisers Its Rules For Science 

In support of his drastic actions,  Scott Pruitt relies on the pretext that scientists receiving funds from the EPA might have a conflict of interest.  However, this was quickly countered by numerous organizations,  noting there was already strict disclosure rules in place, the prevent conflict of interest.    Dr. Tiech from George Washington University stated the following:

” Disqualifying the very people who know the most about a subject from serving as advisors makes no sense.”

More succinctly, he wrote, “Frankly,  this directive is nuts.”   Others voiced similar opinions, as follows:

The change calls into question EPA’s ability to protect the country, according to Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “We question whether the EPA can continue to pursue its core mission to protect human health and the environment,” Holt said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Scott Pruitt battled the EPA through lawsuits as Attorney General of Oklahoma.  Now,  he must battle the organization he heads.

Stay tuned,

Dave

PS.  I’ve posted numerous blogs on the EPA and the Trump administration’s indifference to environmental issues.   See the various categories such as Environment, Global Warming. Coal, or Chloropyrisfos.  Also you can search under EPA  or Scott Pruitt.

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The Paris Accords Exit

The announcement will be made at 3:00 pm today (June 1, 2017).    It has been widely rumored that Trump will pull out of the Accords.  The Agreement was a very major step forward in acceptance of a global problem.

CNN outlined three options that Trump has: (1) The Normal Exit- by withdrawing from the Accords by 2020 (2) The Radical  Exit- by withdrawing from the UN organization (UNFCCC) under which the Accords were agreed upon and (3) The non-exit, which Trump simply ignores the provisions of the Accords.

The radical exit is the one supported by conservative groups,  such as the Heritage group.  The coal companies such as Peabody and Cloud Peak Coal, want Trump not to exit the Accords, as this puts the EU in a leadership role in setting targets.

Options

A final option (“death in the legislature” option)  is for Trump to  state the Accord is really a treaty, which must be ratified by 2/3 of the Senate.  With the Republican controlled Senate, the treaty would be “dead on arrival.”   This would change the issue to one of Obama overstepping his authority, and Trump might just go for it.

The Paris Agreement is more of an “agreement in principal”  rather than a treaty, as it lacks any penalties for countries who do not reduce their carbon emissions. It is an important first step as it is an  agreement of mutual commitment  to a global problem.   As it is structured,  the US could stay in the Accords,  do nothing to reduce these emissions and not be sanctioned by the UN.

Obama signed the agreement as an Executive Order.  Trump can legally exit the agreement, but has to comply with the set schedule if he wants to do the normal exit.

I predict that many countries will be looking more at the “non-exit” or “non-compliance” option, which means climate change is something leaders of the countries are concerned about, but  nobody does much about it.

This will leave the US as the only one of 193 countries to exit the Accord.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Clean Power Plan

I’m afraid under Gov Rick Perry as head of Department of Energy and Scott Pruitt as head of EPA, the Clean Power Plan will soon to become history.    It is a real shame.  The Clean water and Air Acts were signed into law by Richard Nixon, and stood strong through Reagan, Bush (H.W.),  Bush (W), and 16 years of democratic party  presidents.

Scott Pruitt is a horrible choice.   The mantra of Republicans is regulation is bad for business and business will make America great again.  However, it is  a giant step backwards for international cooperation for environmental needs.

We can not expect other countries around the world to work with us in curbing carbon emissions, if we are not doing our part.

China and the US produce the most CO2, accounting for 45% of emissions:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

The top ten producers, include India and the EU, and account for 68% of carbon emissions.

Carbon emissions cause global warming, and serious breathing problems, particularly with those suffering from asthma.

The Republicans don’t have a plan- except if you consider downplaying the problem and delaying any real solutions as a plan.  Energy generated by coal typically generates twice the carbon emissions than natural gas.  Cleaning  up of CO2 emissions from coal fired plants increases costs.  The decline in coal usage has occurred as more operators prefer natural gas (also a polluter).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Power_Plan

The Clean Power Plan isn’t perfect.  Critics abound who can tell you the flaws in the program in an instant.  However,  the alternative (see Republican Plan) is horrible, so going from a horrible situation to a flawed one, is a step in the right direction.

Without a real US plan,  we likely lose support from China, India, EU countries, Japan and Russia.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

Pluto

Ok, is this Pluto the dog or Pluto the planet?  It is the planet, oops, I meant the dwarf planet.  I was thinking of posting a picture of Pluto (the dog),  but all images are licensed to Disney.  You’ll have to do your own searching.

Back to the dwarf planet, Pluto.  The New Horizon spacecraft has spent nearly 10 years to get to Pluto and in the last few weeks, has been transmitting back incredibly detailed photos of Pluto.

New Horizon Pictures

I know from my studies (up to about 9th grade, earth science), it is way-way far away, recently confirmed by Wikipedia:

Pluto- Wikipedia

I also learned that the demotion to dwarf status was not taken well at all, particularly in New Mexico, where a resolution in the legislature passed, designating Pluto as a planet, because the scientist that discovered Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh,  lived in New Mexico.

In 1930, Clyde was 24 years old when he discovered Pluto.  He did not have, at that time, any formal education beyond a high school degree.  But he had built telescopes and designed lenses and mirrors on his family’s farm, so the Lowell Observatory hired him in 1929.   Later, studied astronomy at the University of Kansas, and earned a BS and MS degrees.

Clyde Tombaugh  

Clyde passed away at the age of 90 in 1997.  In his lifetime, he is credited to having  discovered hundreds of asteroids.  The New Horizon carried aboard his ashes on its voyage to Pluto.

Stay tuned,

Dave