For environmentalists (or any concerned parties) who were still holding out hope that the Trump administration would treat climate change seriously, this news might arrive as a punch to the gut. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced that his agency would be replacing half of the members that currently sit on their critical regulation-imposing scientific review boards with “fresh advisors” from industries that the boards regulate. It’s not a good sign for those hoping to see some progress made in the protection of our planet over the next four years.
The move to bounce 12 of the scientists of the 18-person board is particularly alarming after as Pruitt made comments that indicate he doesn’t believe humans production of carbon dioxide is a main contributor to global warming. And as Oklahoma Attorney General, he attacked the EPA’s efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions through regulations and environmental policies. Now, Pruitt is hell-bent on ridding the agency of climate change “alarmists” in favor of those who more readily align with his opinions on the matter.
According to The Washington Post, EPA spokesman J.P. Freire said in an email that “no one has been fired or terminated,” only that their three-year contracts have not been renewed and that they were never guaranteed an additional three-year stay. Freire’s email added that the move to let these contracts lapse is an effort to depart from the Obama administration:
“We’re not going to rubber-stamp the last administration’s appointees. Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool,” Freire said. “This approach is what was always intended for the Board, and we’re making a clean break with the last administration’s approach.”
The effort to move away from science when dealing with climate change may seem shocking, but it’s nothing new in regards to the Trump administration. Back in January, just days after his inauguration, Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove its climate change page from its website. It was a move that’s not all that surprising since Trump once tweeted climate change was nothing but a Chinese hoax aimed at beefing up the country’s manufacturing prowess.
(Via The Washington Post)