Washington D.C.

The EPA’s very existence may be in peril after several moves by the Trump administration. Already morale there is said to be at an all time low.

It started with the appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt – a long time oil and gas ally – to head the department. Pruitt has repeatedly tried to sued the EPA out of existence. At last count he had filed 14 different lawsuits against them. Pruitt is also a global warming denier who has taken tens of thousands of dollars from the very industries he is now supposed to police.

How in the world a person who hates the EPA is supposed to run it is anyone’s guess. But it continues the Orwellian trend among Trump’s cabinet picks.

Pruitt’s time as AG was a disaster for the environment in Oklahoma and people who worked with him then are less than complimentary. Mark Derichsweiler, who led the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, had this to say:

“He has advocated and stood up for the profits of business, be it the poultry companies or the energy industry and other polluters, at the expense of people who have to drink the water or breathe the air.”

In 2015, after 40 years with the state, Derichsweller got so sick of Pruitt’s bulls**t that he took early retirement.

Next, Trump appointed Myron Ebell as head of his transition team at the EPA. Ebell is described as a “climate change denier” who has called the science behind global warming “phony”, adding, “We believed that the so-called global warming consensus was not based on science, but was a political consensus, which included a number of scientists.”

In other words, he thinks the world’s scientists are all in some giant global conspiracy to make us think climate change is real. That is a hell of an accusation since it would have to be the biggest conspiracy of all time. Literally thousands and thousands of scientists, many of whom don’t know even each other or have no financial incentive to do so, would be secretly plotting against fossil fuels. How they’ve managed to keep this quiet all these years and what  they have to gain out of this anyone’s guess.

Ebell is also the chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, an advocacy group whose mission is self-described as “focused on dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis.” The Cooler Heads Coalition receives its funding from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, where Ebell is the ironically titled Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy.

One of Ebell’s first moves at the EPA was to freeze all government grants and contracts. This is the money many scientists depend on to fund important environmental research, because, contrary to what Pruitt and Ebell might think, climate science doesn’t pay squat.

This freeze will have far reaching consequences. Every year the EPA gives out more than $4 billion in in grants and funding. All of that is now on hold, which puts some of the agency’s primary functions in doubt. Besides just scientists, many universities, state and local officials and Native American tribes benefit greatly from this funding.

As if appointing those two anti-science knuckleheads wasn’t enough, Trump has signed an executive order seeking to revive both the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines. Both of these were halted by President Obama as the environmental risk was deemed too great compared to the benefits. Obama also signaled it was time for America and the world to move away from fossil fuels.

The Dakota Access Pipeline or “DAPL” is a particularly controversial project, as the plans call for it to run through the Standing Rock Sioux’s water supply, ancient burial grounds and several archeological dig sites. The construction of it was met with passionate month-long protests where demonstrators were frequently assaulted by the police. Trump’s decision to revive these will almost certainly result in more protests and more overreaction from the law enforcement.

Trump has also ordered a media blackout for all Federal agencies with the aim of controlling the narrative, as he doesn’t want anyone inside the EPA talking about how damaging his decisions are. In defiance of this, yesterday the Badlands National Park Service’s Twitter account began tweeting statistics and facts about global warming.


 

 

Some of these tweets have already been removed, with the Badlands NPS telling a Buzzfeed reporter that the posts were made by an ex-employee who had access to the account.

One wonders if that is really the case or if they received an angry call from the White House. Regardless, it is clear the Trump administration is committed to waging an all out war on the EPA, environmental groups, and anyone who is seen to support them. This must be stopped.

If you want to help fight back you can donate to Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, or another environmental group  of your choice.

And don’t forget to call Congress and tell them hows you feel at (202) 224-3121.

Find out who represents you here http://www.house.gov or here https://www.senate.gov.

Follow the author Sean Kent on Twitter – @seankent – and Facebook.