Did The EPA Just Go Rogue Again
In late January, days after Donald Trump became president, various government workers employed by the EPA “defied” the president with what at the time appeared to be rogue twitter accounts emerging from the environemntal agency, most notably the Badlands National Park which slammed Trump’s climate change proposal.
- “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate”
- “Flipside of the atmosphere; ocean acidity has increased 30% since the Industrial Revolution. ‘Ocean Acidification” #climate #carboncycle’”
- “Burning one gallon of gasoline puts nearly 20lbs of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. #climate”
It now appears that a new “rogue” employee may have emerged at the EPA’s pres office.
This morning, in a press release summarizing “What They Are Saying About President Trump’s Executive Order On Energy Independence”, as the first quote picked by an unknown staffer at the agency, the EPA decided to showcase the thoughts of Dem. Senator Shelly Moore Capito whose quote was not exactly on message, as Bloomberg’s Patrick Ambrosio pointed out.
This is what she said:
With this Executive Order, President Trump has chosen to recklessly bury his head in the sand. Walking away from the Clean Power Plan and other climate initiatives, including critical resiliency projects is not just irresponsible — it’s irrational. Today’s executive order calls into question America’s credibility and our commitment to tackling the greatest environmental challenge of our lifetime. With the world watching, President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have chosen to shirk our responsibility, disregard clear science and undo the significant progress our country has made to ensure we leave a better, more sustainable planet for generations to come.
— Patrick Ambrosio (@Pat_Ambrosio) March 30, 2017
Today’s release comes after The House voted Wednesday to restrict the kind of scientific studies and data that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can use to justify new regulations.The Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act, or HONEST Act, passed 228-194. It would prohibit the EPA from writing any regulation that uses science that is not publicly available.
The bill would also require that any scientific studies be replicable, and allow anyone who signs a confidentiality agreement to view redacted personal or trade information in data.
It’s the latest push by House Republicans to clamp down on what they say has turned into an out-of-control administrative state that enforces expensive, unworkable regulations that are not scientifically sound.
But Democrats, environmentalists and health advocates say the HONEST Act is intended to handcuff the EPA. They say it would irresponsibly leave the EPA unable to write important regulatory protections, since the agency might not have the ability to release some parts of the scientific data underpinning them.
The HONEST Act is similar to the Secret Science Act, which leaders in the House Science Committee sponsored in previous congresses and got passed. “This legislation ensures that sound science is the basis for EPA decisions and regulatory actions,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Science Committee, said on the House floor Wednesday.
“The days of ‘trust-me’ science are over. In our modern information age, federal regulations should be based only on data that is available for every American to see and that can be subjected to independent review,” he said. “That’s called the scientific method.”
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the Science Committee’s top Democrat, slammed her GOP colleagues for what she called a “misguided” effort to stop sensible EPA regulations. She denied that the EPA is overly secretive with its science, saying it often doesn’t own the information and has no right to release it.
At least one EPA employee this morning seems to agree.