Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Scott Pruitt's EPA

The EPA must enforce Obama era pollution limits for the oil and gas industry, a federal court said Monday.

Nine of the 11 judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued the latest ruling after a ruling by the court in July that the EPA unlawfully tried to delay implementing the Obama-era methane pollution rule. The rule sets limits for greenhouse emissions for the energy industry, and requires companies to identify and fix leaks. In June, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought a two-year pause on the new methane rule so the agency could "look broadly" at regulations and review their impact.


CNN reached out to the EPA for comment but had not received a response by late Monday.

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, which is proof enough that Somebody Up There has a deadly sense of irony, got fairly well dope-slapped in federal court on Monday. The Court would prefer it if Pruitt, pretty please, for the love of the ghost of Gifford Pinchot, do his freaking job.


The very presence of Pruitt at the head of the EPA is an insult to the American people and to the American landscape, and to every fish that therein swims, insect that therein crawls, every bird that therein flies, plant that therein grows and animal that therein walks, including the human ones.

  Charles P Pierce
A sweeping US government report on the state of climate-change science is nearing the finish line, but researchers who wrote it aren’t ready to relax just yet. [...] Just one hurdle remains, but it may be the highest: final sign-off by top officials in President Donald Trump’s administration, many of whom are sceptical of climate science.


Many climate scientists are particularly uneasy about the potential for interference by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of 13 agencies that must approve the science report before its expected release in November. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who rejects well-established climate science, has raised the possibility of organizing an adversarial ‘red team–blue team’ review of such research.


Agency scientists told Nature that climate change has become taboo in their discussions with EPA leadership. The fact that agency leaders have consulted with climate sceptics has only added to the confusion.


Energy secretary Rick Perry has joined Pruitt in questioning climate science. And Pruitt’s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, once worked for Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma), a prominent climate sceptic.


“The EPA is supposed to be using the best science out there,” [says Kyla Bennett, a former EPA ecologist]. “They can’t just suddenly say the Earth is flat, CO2 is not a pollutant and coal is the best thing for the world.”

Wanna bet?
“The future ain’t what it used to be at the EPA,” [Scott Pruitt is] fond of saying.

As it turns out, the past may not be what it once was, either.


Most people outside the agency aren’t even aware of the one-room exhibit just outside the entrance to the EPA Credit Union, which cost more than $300,000 to assemble and is open to the public free each weekday.


It includes a panel dedicated to the 2009 “endangerment finding,” in which then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson concluded that the agency was legally obligated to control greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change because they threatened public health.


The Paris agreement, in which nearly 200 nations pledged in December 2015 to curb their carbon output, also has a display panel, which notes that the “EPA is leading global efforts to address climate change.” In June, Trump announced plans to withdraw from the agreement.

The Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature effort to regulate carbon emissions and combat climate change, also is prominently displayed. “The CPP shows the world that the United States is committed to address climate change,” the exhibit reads.

Trump signed an executive order in March ordering his deputies to scrap the Clean Power Plan.

On a tour of the exhibit Thursday, a career official said that these climate displays are slated to be removed, adding that the agency may add a display of coal to the museum.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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