Trump Dissolves Crucial Climate Panel In Latest Assault on Science

 

 

One of the missions of not-really-departed White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was “dismantling the administrative state;” code for taking apart the government that Trump’s special interests will not tolerate. The Trump administration has been busy issuing executive orders eradicating any part of government their special interests oppose, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the special interests directing Trump’s cabinet are the Koch brothers and big oil. Remember, Trump did not personally vet or select any of his cabinet appointees. That task was assigned to the Heritage Foundation as surrogates for the Kochs who have wanted the federal government “dismantled” since the 1980s, Now they have a rubber stamp in the Oval Office and their Big Oil cohorts have unlimited funds and influence over Trump.

It is no surprise that reports indicate that Trump and his anti-environment Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt “are taking directions from Big Oil.” It is why the agency is purging scientists and actively eliminating regulations and environmental protections that even remotely impact the fossil fuel industry, not just big oil.

By now, only a moron is unaware that despite overwhelming scientific data and decades of research to the contrary, the fossil fuel industry denies climate change exists, or that manmade emissions cause and are exacerbating the condition. Trump claims the whole climate change ‘thing’ is a Chinese hoax. He has also claimed over 50 times that climate change has been thoroughly debunked because there is cold weather someplace on Earth, and he’s seen it.

Over the weekend, the Trump administration, in its devoted service to Big Oil, took another step toward dismantling the administrative state by dissolving a critical, congressionally-mandated, agency because its climate assessment didn’t comport with Trump’s climate denial.

Less than two weeks ago the draft version of the 2018 scientific section of the National Climate Assessment was leaked out of a real fear the Trump and his EPA head would attempt to bury it. Now the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment members will not have to worry about their report being buried; Trump disbanded the “committee.”

The committee’s purpose in the upcoming 2018 report was translating the findings of 13 different federal agencies, over three decades of climate data, and studies conducted by tens-of-thousands of the world’s scientists into the effects of carbon emissions on the warming climate. Those findings were intended to be used to aid policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the federal government’s climate analysis into their long-term infrastructure planning for a broad range of projects from building roads and bridges to maintaining adequate hydroelectric supplies.

Now those public and private officials will have to look elsewhere for guidance because Trump doesn’t believe the National Climate Assessment’s 2018 conclusion that,

There are no alternative explanations to human industrial activity being the cause and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate.”

According to the passage of the 1990 law calling for the National Climate Assessment, the “committee’s report” is supposed to be issued on a quadrennial basis, but it has only been released three times since the law was passed. The 2018 version was certain to be a “contentious issue” based on the Trump administration’s animosity toward anything related to science, but especially so because it is climate science.

It is not clear if the already released “draft” will be punished in a finalized form, but there is already nervous concern among officials about the fate of the report at the news the committee is disbanded. However, the communications director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Julie Roberts, said on Saturday that “this action does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority.

The chair of the 15-member “committee,” Richard Moss, said during an interview on Saturday that ending the group’s work was shortsighted. Moss is a professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences and warned of consequences for the decisions state and local authorities tasked with making planning decisions. Mr. Moss said:

It doesn’t seem to be the best course of action. We’re going to be running huge risks here and possibly end up hurting the next generation’s economic prospects.”

Seattle’s mayor Ed Murray said that the move to dissolve the committee represents “an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality.” Murray shared that from a public utilities standpoint, it is going to be “more difficult” for cities to participate in the climate assessment. On climate change, Trump “has left us all individually to figure it out.

The past chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate, Richard Wright, has been busy “working with the committee to convey the importance of detailed climate projections” in the 2018 assessment. The Civil Engineers’ society is the agency that establishes “guidelines that form the basis of building codes across the country,” and those guidelines are founded on a historical record that may no longer be an accurate predictor of future weather extremes due to the rapid change in Earth’s climate. Mr. Wright said:

We need to work on updating our standards with good estimates on what future weather and climate extremes will be. I think it’s going to be a serious handicap for us that the advisory committee is not functional.

This latest “dismantling” at Trump’s hands is more than just an assault on science or taking apart the government, although it is certainly both of those. And it is much more than just Trump “stepping away from reality or not leading.” It is a well-planned and well-funded effort by Republicans’ special interest donors that will have deleterious effects on the nation, the economy, and the American people for generations. And while it may not be the immediate existential threat of a thermonuclear war, it is a threat that scientists have been warning was coming for several decades. Sadly, now that the the world, and Americans, are seeing and feeling the changing climate’s effects and calling on the government to take action, Trump is going in the opposite direction and disbanded the one agency that may have prevented the worst effects of an impending disaster.

Climate Report Leaked To Prevent Trump From Smothering It

Once upon a time before America was ruled by a superstitious religious cabal reminiscent of 13th Century church attacking purveyors of science, the United States Congress mandated that a National Climate Assessment would be conducted every four years. On Monday last, the New York Times published a copy of the ‘special science section’ of 2018’s draft version of the comprehensive study. The Times felt, as did the scientists who conducted the study, that it was crucial to publish the “leaked copy” of the report because they and the scientists feared the Trump administration and EPA chief Scott Pruitt would “smother it in its crib.

The congressionally-mandated study was conducted by 13 federal government agencies that concluded no matter what dumb Donald or his anti-science EPA director claim, global warming “has had a verifiable impact on the environment.” And, being good scientists, the researchers referenced thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists over 30-plus years that documented climate change on land and in the air. The scientists wrote:

Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change.”

The scientists also noted that this is not some kind of future problem. Americans, like the rest of the Earth’s population, are feeling the devastating effects of global climate change right now. The report states:

Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans.”

The lengthy scientific report makes an oft-heard conclusion that even if human beings immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the Earth would still face increased temperatures over the next century. Every 8th grade student learns in junior high school science class that greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane remain in the atmosphere for decades and can take 200 years to eventually dissolve in the oceans. Those eighth-graders also learn that a even a minor global temperature increase as small as .30 degrees Celsius has a monumental effect on the climate that affects the weather. It is noteworthy too that those same 8th graders learn the difference between climate and weather. Unfortunately, the current administration is not nearly as smart as an eighth grader.

As Gizmodo reported, the draft report reflects federal government scientists’ “unshaken and continued belief” that human industrial activity is the primary driver of climate change. Trump is unimpressed with the scientists’ conclusions and still regards the idea of climate change as a hoax perpetrated by China; his proof is that there is cold winter weather and snow, and he’s seen it with his own eyes.

The superstitious Trump has claimed, at least 53 times, that literally thousands of climate scientists conducting decades of research and studies are dead wrong because if there is cold weather anyplace on Earth, then the preponderance of climate science research and study results are automatically “debunked.”

EPA anti-science moron Pruitt believes that human-caused CO2 emissions have had no impact on climate change. It was the two idiots’ opposition to scientific facts that prompted some patriotic scientist to leak the results of the study to the Times. And, it is noteworthy that the NYT sent out a “breaking news” alert directly after reviewing study’s results saying it was “an alarming draft report” on climate change that federal scientists feared would be instantly suppressed by the Trump administration.

The executive summary of the comprehensive report is more alarming than the Times let on and it informs why it was “leaked” to prevent it being buried by the anti-science Trump cabal. It is a blunt pronouncement that Trump or his science-denying EPA chief do not want released to the public because the American people have seen for themselves exactly what the scientists have been, and are currently, warning is the result of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. The summary says:

Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. Thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; disappearing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea level; and an increase in atmospheric water vapor. … The last few years have also seen record-breaking climate-related weather extremes, as well as the warmest years on record for the entire globe.

There are no alternative explanations to human industrial activity being the cause and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate.”

Thus far, neither the Trump nor his science-denying EPA director have commented on the release of the report they certainly intended to conceal from the public. However, there is little doubt they will go to great lengths to keep it as far away from the people as possible and begin anew a dastardly crusade to demonize science and scientists as disreputable and un-American.

For this author and anyone concerned about the fate of the future for Earth’s population, whichever scientist(s) did expose the document should be hailed as heroic and their identity kept a carefully guarded secret; especially with a vindictive piece of anti-science work in the White House doing his best to imitate the 14th Century church and punish purveyors of science.

 

Federal Appeals Court Orders Trump’s EPA to Do Its Job

There is no doubt that when Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, avowed environmental protection enemy, to run the EPA, he expected the fossil fuel acolyte to put an immediate end to regulations targeting big oil; likely because those regulations protect Americans’ air and water. Pruitt did as expected and suspended various EPA regulations and restrictions including an important provision of the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) regulating dangerous and toxic greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry.

Late Monday a federal appeals court issued a ruling against Pruitt’s EPA and ordered it to start enforcing restrictions on dangerous methane gas emissions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit formally vacated the agency’s 90-day stay of the NSPS because that “key [methane rule] provision” is the law; and despite what Pruitt or the oil industry claims, the rule “is in effect.”

The Court said the “leak detection and repair provisions” of the NSPS law were supposed to take effect  and “begin delivering significant benefits” on June 3. But two days after the law went into effect, the court said “the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt unlawfully stayed these and other requirements of the rule retroactively from June 2 until August 31, 2017.” Pruitt did not have the authority to take that action and according to the court: “Pruitt and his industry allies have not offered any support for their proposition that complying with the law would cause significant hardship to the entities that had a year’s lead time to prepare.”

What the court did say, however, was that by ordering the stay of the rule, Pruitt’s EPA “is causing substantial additional methane, ozone-forming [volatile organic compounds], and hazardous air pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde to be released into the air of communities near these wells.” It is telling that 9 of 11 judges on the appellate panel had to tell the agency tasked with protecting Americans from dangerous toxins and pollutants to do its job, protect Americans from dangerous toxins and pollutants, and stop helping the oil and gas industry pour more toxic material into the atmosphere. It is also noteworthy that a federal appeals court had to waste its time to tell the corrupt Trump administration that no matter what it believes, it still “must enforce federal environmental protection rules.”

An environmental advocacy group, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) issued a statement late Monday saying:

Administrator Pruitt tried to impose a 90-day suspension of the vital clean air standards without public input and without analysis of the public health or environmental consequences.

Pruitt actually intended on delaying implementation of the clean air and water rule for much longer than the 90 days it says the oil and gas industry needed to figure out how badly it would hurt profits. Pruitt proposed an additional two-year delay for implementation of the rule because the EPA needed extra time to discover what negative impacts it would have on the poor oil and gas industry. During that two-year delay, Pruitt said the oil and gas industry could just ignore the rule and continue poisoning the nation’s air and water.

To really get an idea of just how much contempt the Trump administration, and Pruitt specifically, have for the health and safety of the American people, the Environmental Defense Fund said Pruitt knew that any delay whatsoever would negatively impact Americans’ health.

The EDF noted that when the EPA announced it was delaying the rule’s implementation for two years, it acknowledged that it would make children in and around oil and gas drilling sites sick. But Pruitt argued “that more illness for only two years is acceptable” if it helps the oil and gas industry prosper.

It wasn’t acceptable to “people who showed up at EPA headquarters” early in July to protest the EPA’s intention to delay implementation of the “methane rule.”  But the new rule did more than just restrict methane emissions and it is noteworthy that it only affects new drilling operations or those under repair.

As the director of environment and health for “Physicians for Social Responsibility,” Barbara Gottlieb noted, sealing leaks and capturing methane at oil and gas wells would capture “all the toxic and hazardous air pollutants” inherent in oil and gas drilling operations;” not just methane. Ms. Gottlieb said that the implementing the rule would capture “volatile organic” compounds that “cause severe health issues for people” living near oil industry operations. “If you seal the leaks and capture the escaping gases, you get it all.

For Americans living in close proximity to oil and gas operations the Appeals court made the right decision they thought was the purview of the federal agency created and tasked with protecting Americans’ health and well-being. That concept of protecting the health of the people is an abomination to Trump’s anti-environmental protection crusader Scott Pruitt or he would not have put a halt to the EPA rule’s implementation.

It is astonishing that this is not the first time that the federal Judiciary has had to step in and order the federal government under Trump to enforce federal laws created to protect all Americans. What the court did not say in this instance was that Pruitt’s job as head of the EPA was not to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry – the only reason he is running the EPA.

Trump Imperils a Third of the Population’s Clean Drinking Water

By now only someone in a coma is unaware that Republicans will go to great lengths to sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry no matter how detrimental their actions are to human life. As most Americans learned by the sixth grade, the primary component in a human body is water; anywhere from 60 to 75 percent depending on a person’s age. That being the case, it is safe to assume most people comprehend that access to clean drinking water is more than a basic human right, it is fundamental to life. Obviously, not everyone agrees with fundamental biology or has any regard for human life; that is particularly true of America’s “pro-life” Republicans.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly “Explicitly recognized the fundamental human right to safe water and sanitation, and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.”

Republicans, led by the Koch brothers and Donald Trump, completely disagree with the U.N. General Assembly and are continuing the fossil fuel attack on Americans’ “fundamental human right” to clean water; an attack they began early in the new legislative year with a new heartless White House occupant. However, that “first strike” attack only affected areas in and around coal mining regions, so the Trump is expanding the attack on clean drinking water to affect a greater number of Americans; a little over one-in-three Americans.

In early February, Trump signed a law allowing the fossil fuel (primarily coal) industry to dump toxic waste and chemicals into Americans’ clean water supplies. This is in spite of Trump’s campaign pledge to his supporters that “Americans need crystal clear and clean drinking water.” As Jenifer Collins of Earthjustice said at the time:

It is shameful that one of the first bills President Trump signs into law is an attack on clean water protections for communities facing the harmful health and environmental impacts of coal mining operations like mountaintop removal mining. The President said Americans need ‘crystal clear and clean water.’ If he really meant that, he would have vetoed this legislation.”

Of course Trump didn’t mean it – he is a pathological liar. And he will say “I never promised to protect Americans’ crystal clear and clean drinking water, I just said they need it.” Apparently the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel industry needs the authority to pour toxic waste into “crystal clear and clean drinking water” without legal repercussions or punitive damages that Trump and Republicans were happy to provide.

Another advocate for Americans’ access to clean drinking water, Natalie Thompson, representing the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition said:

Voting to overturn the Stream Protection Rule in its entirety with no consideration for the health of our citizens and our ecosystems is completely irresponsible. The people in these coal communities will pay the price by being forced to purchase potable water that they cannot afford or by combating cancer, birth defects, and other invasions of human health by way of toxic water.”

As an aside for Ms. Thompson to ponder; If those people in those coal communities are unable to afford purchasing potable water, they aren’t going to be able to purchase healthcare insurance to battle cancer, birth defects or other human health issues. And, if they are that economically disadvantaged they will just have to die along with any Medicaid or Medicare coverage Trump and Republicans are eliminating to “sate the greed of the rich.”

Now, Trump and his fossil fuel industry EPA director, Scott Pruitt, are readying a vicious attack on the rest of the nation’s “crystal clear and clean water” that will affect a little over a third of the population’s “fundamental human right” to clean water.

Trump’s barbaric administration officially began repealing the “Clean Water Rule” late last week with a solemn pledge to completely “rescind and rewrite the regulation.” Trump’s fossil fuel employee Scott Pruitt will task industry lobbyists to “rewrite the regulation” to conform to the February law allowing the fossil fuel producers, manufacturers, and agribusiness  to legally dump toxic waste into about two million miles of rivers and streams and 20 million acres of wetlands.

To get an idea of how dastardly this Trump cabal really is, the “official repeal proposal” appeared on the same day EPA Administrator and ardent “pro-life” evangelical Scott Pruitt testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee that with a fossil fuel advocate like him at the helm, “the EPA would focus on its core mission of ‘protecting clean air and water’ for the American people.”

Pruitt said in a press statement:

We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses. This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

Republicans, and particularly the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel cohort, complained bitterly in 2015 when President Obama tasked the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers with following an order from the United States Supreme Court to designate “waters of the U.S” that required protection from toxic dumping; solely because they provide “crystal clear and clean drinking water” to over a third of the population.

In February, at about the same time he signed a law authorizing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste into rivers and streams that provide clean water, Trump issued an executive order directing the EPA to “review and reconsider” the Clean Water Rule it previously devised in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers. Trump specifically ordered the EPA to give “special attention and consideration” to how the agency defined “navigable waters.” One can only imagine that “navigable waters” will be reserved for the oceans in and around the United States so the fossil fuel, manufacturing, chemical, and agricultural industry can dump toxic waste into the clean waters anywhere within the continental United States.

There really isn’t much to say about the party in power, or its corrupt leader, that is printable for polite company, but that it takes a special kind of evil to pass laws, issue executive orders and rescind protections just to “sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry.” It was beyond comprehension that Congress and Trump would enact a law allowing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste in and around mining and oil operations, but endangering a third of the population’s “crystal clear and clean water” is beyond comprehension. Sadly, there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do to stop this vicious attack on a “fundamental human right,” but there are environmental groups pledging to continue the fight for “human rights.” The executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune said in a statement:

“It goes without saying that the Trump administration doesn’t care about the environment, public health, or its duty to protect our most precious natural resources — and that is why it’s up to us, the American people, to hold them accountable. We will fight this and every other attempt by polluters and the Trump administration to destroy our water resources.”

The Trump administration is out to destroy, or steal, all of America’s resources for his and Republicans’ masters the Koch brothers, and the people can attempt to fight, and resist, their efforts, but they are impotent. That’s what happens when stupid Americans install a government committed to the general welfare of the rich, corporations and fossil fuel industry instead of the American people. First they came for your healthcare, then your schools, then your freedoms and now they’re coming for your most fundamental human right; “crystal clear and clean water.”

Scott Pruitt Eliminates Scientific Integrity At the EPA

Any American with the slightest knowledge of history is likely aware that without science, the world’s population would still be living in literal dark ages. The primary reason there was an honest-to-dog Dark Age was the result of the Catholic Church’s unrelenting and vicious attack on science and its practitioners the church portrayed as agents of Satan the Devil.

Now that it’s the 21st Century and America has been the world’s leader in scientific research leading to astonishing technological development for at least a century, this nation is devolving into a dark time. In fact, America under an anti-science demigod is on a path to return to the 1600s when Galileo Galilei was imprisoned by the Catholic Church for embracing science and rejecting the Church’s anti-science orthodoxy.

Under the new evangelical-driven Trump administration, America is ruled by an anti-science “church” owned and operated by the oil industry. The administration is also staffed with evangelical fanatics intent on crushing what they consider heretics for embracing science and empirical data and rejecting oil industry tenets that’s driving the purge of scientist from the government.

This week, the Jesus-freak Trump appointed to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, leveled yet another Trump attack on the “integrity of the science” used by the government. It is tantamount to the 17th Century Catholic Church’s barbaric assault on science it regarded as “of the Devil.

The latest assault on science was the announcement that the EPA dismissed “nearly” all the members of its Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC). The “board” is responsible for reviewing and advising the EPA’s internal research departments on how best to use scientific methodology to make accurate reports founded on real empirical data.  Trump’s EPA intends to use “fake facts” provided by the oil industry coupled with biblical mythos embraced by conservatives convinced that scientific research and scientists are of the Devil.

The BOSC was already grossly understaffed, and besides dismissing the few “board members” still on the job, by August the “Board” will be “scientifically decommissioned” for all intents and purposes. Last week the acting head of the EPA office of Research and Development, Robert Kaylock, issued an email saying “that [the remaining] board members whose three-year appointments expire next month will not be renewed.” There may be a BOSC left in place, but it will not be staffed by scientists when there are plenty of oil industry sycophants at the ready to “transform” the EPA to help the Koch brothers.

Trump’s EPA head Scott Pruitt doesn’t need legitimate scientists at the EPA because he is a renowned oil industry climate denier with an aversion to empirical data and science, like his boss dumb Donnie Trump. Pruitt believes that the only people the EPA need directing scientific methodology and research are “the right kind of people who know how badly EPA regulations are for  the regulated community.” That is oil-whore code for putting the oil industry in control of the EPA’s scientific research; not unlike Trump putting an oil industry slut in charge of the EPA.

The only reason Pruitt and Trump will not completely eliminate all “scientific research” from the EPA is because they can use “oil industry” propaganda disguised as “scientific research and science” as justification to eliminate environmental regulations according to the Koch doctrine. The maneuver is not unlike Trump putting a pharmaceutical industry employee in charge of  the Federal Drug Administration, or Wall Street bankruptcy liquidation experts in charge of the Treasury and Commerce Departments.

The Trump administration attack on science is government wide and not just targeting the EPA.  Besides putting more American lives at risk on myriad levels, it is allowing the rest of the world to advance technologically while America devolves into the dark age. The days of American ingenuity and devotion to scientific research and technological development took a death blow with Trump’s ascension into the Oval Office, and his appointment of anti-science fanatics government wide portend a bad end for America.

At the pace that the rest of the world is investing in scientific research and advancing technologically, not only is America not a world leader any longer, it is on the verge of becoming insignificant. And without scientific research at the EPA, it is going to become environmentally dirty and hazardous to Americans’ health.

California Is Emerging As A Global Leader Against Climate Change and Trump

 

 

Now that the imbecile Donald Trump embarrassed Americans while in Europe and gave every indication he would single-handedly make America’s word worth less than dirt, a story that was sparsely reported last week is increasingly important; for the entire world’s population. Anyone who hasn’t been comatose over the past year-and-a-half likely knows that Trump and his administration are climate deniers; Trump says global climate change is a Chinese hoax. But while Trump refused to join leaders of the G7 nations in pledging to go forward with the Paris Climate Accord, California is “becoming a global force” to battle climate change, and Trump.

Last month in San Francisco environmental ministers of Canada and Mexico signed a global pact drafted largely by California to reduce greenhouse pollution responsible for climate change. Next month, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, will be heading to China to meet with climate leaders as part of a “global” campaign to curb global warming.

Besides becoming America’s “de facto” negotiator with the rest of the world on the environment, the Golden State is preparing to wage war against Trump and his attempt to abolish California’s environmental standards and pollution rules because Republicans detest “states’ rights;” particularly if they conflict with the oil industry. That being the case, California has “a battery of state lawyers” preparing to do battle and thwart “any attempt by Trump and Republicans to weaken California’s automobile pollution emission standards.” In fact, as the New York Times reported,

The state is pushing back on everything from White House efforts to roll back pollution rules on tailpipes and smokestacks, to plans to withdraw or weaken the United States’ commitments under the Paris climate change accord.”

Governor Jerry Brown said regarding California’s new role as surrogate for an America with an environmental conscience:

I want to do everything we can to keep America on track, keep the world on track, and lead in all the ways California has. We’re looking to do everything we can to advance our program, regardless of whatever happens in Washington.”

California’s efforts are not going unnoticed around the globe, either. One Nobel Laureate in science who advises several nations on climate change policy, Mario Molina, said:

With Trump indicating that he will withdraw from climate change leadership, the rest of the global community is looking to California, as one of the world’s largest economies, to take the lead. California demonstrates to the world that you can have a strong climate policy without hurting your economy.”

It is noteworthy that California is the 6th largest economy in the world and has led the nation, and often the world, in protecting the environment and its citizens’ health while its economy continues to flourish; the New York Times rightly labeled California an “economic powerhouse.” And it is worth repeating, the state has provided a model for other states, and the nation, that very robust environmental protections and regulations have had the opposite economic effects than the doom and gloom, job-killing devastation claimed by Trump and Republicans. California’s annual economic output is approximately $2.4 trillion indeed making one American state a global economic powerhouse and one progressive state the world’s leaders want to work with; especially to save the planet’s environment.

Although California is under Democratic control, its environmental efforts cross party lines and that includes Herculean climate efforts by former governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although Mr. Schwarzenegger’s economic expertise is often criticized, during his eight-year tenure he did lead the state in developing the most aggressive pollution-control programs in the nation; he has also taken a leading role as one of Trump’s biggest Republican critics on his lack of a climate policy.

Mr. Schwarzenegger wasn’t the first Republican governor to champion a cleaner environment and strong pollution regulations. For well over three decades the Golden State “has been at the vanguard of environmental policy, passing ambitious, first-in-the-nation measures on pollution control and conservation that have often served as models for national and even international environmental law.” That model is what Trump and his climate-denying cohort want to put an immediate end to.

Trump has already made moves to reduce federal auto emission standards that were influenced by California’s tougher standards because when automakers met with Trump, they complained bitterly that federal standards forced them to build expensive electric vehicles that consumers do not want. This battle is also going to center around concerns that Trump will direct the E.P.A will revoke a waiver issued by Republican President Richard Nixon allowing California to “set fuel economy standards exceeding federal requirements.” Doubtless the auto makers and oil industry contend that drivers also do not want automobiles that get better mileage; they also desperately want to “stop the spread of electric cars.”

California is not intimidated by Trump and is preparing for a legal challenge according to the state’s attorney general Xavier Becerra. “You have to be concerned when anybody talks about going backward. In this case we think we have a strong case to be made based on the facts and the history.”

The state’s Senate leader, Kevin de Leon, is also not intimidated by the Trump and earlier this month introduced legislation that accelerates, rather than retrench, the state’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The legislation requires that by 2045 100 percent of “retail electricity in the state comes from renewable sources.” Mr. de Leon said “it is important that we send a signal to the rest of the world” at a time of what he explained “was blowback from Washington” with an idiot anti-environment administration reverting to policies that helped create global climate change.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, everything about Trump is taking the nation backwards and his non-existent climate polices are “a threat to the planet.” Arnold continued,

Saying you’ll bring coal plants back is the past. It’s like saying you’ll bring Blockbuster back, which is the past. Horses and buggies, which is the past. Pagers back, which is the past.”

As the data show, Arnold reminded the Trump and his fellow Republicans that California is the shining example of a state that can adopt and implement “aggressive environmental policies without hurting the economy. We’re outdoing the rest of the country on G.D.P.”

Of course Trump and his anti-environment cohort will never cite California’s success and instead have attempted to frame the issue as California attempting to control the rest of the nation and the world. Trump’s bible-thumping E.P.A. chief, Scott Pruitt, a champion of state’s rights when it comes to gun proliferation and imposing religious laws,  said Governor Brown is “is being the aggressor” with strong state environmental regulations. And he said that Trump’s anti-environmental regulations effort is solely meant “to lift the oppressive yoke of federal regulations and return authority to the states;” but only if the oil and automobile industry approve.

At a time when the rest of the world is shaking their collective heads at the anti-science climate denying moron in the White House, and reaffirming their commitment to move forward in the collective fight to slow the advance of anthropogenic climate change, they can no longer look to America for leadership; a role California is already fulfilling.

Pruitt To Scrap EPA Safety Rules Preventing Oil and Chemical Tank Disasters

 

By now it should be apparent that with Republicans running the government the oil and chemical industry have taken a leadership role in slashing regulations meant to protect the environment and the people. Whether it is the rush to approve and build dangerous oil pipelines over sensitive ecosystems, agriculturally-rich land or precious drinking water sources, Republicans are Hell-bent on giving big oil and chemical manufacturers anything they want without regard for the environment or the people’s health. Of course what they want is complete abolition of all safety and environmental regulations.

This week an environmental activist, Earth Justice, reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has spent valuable time and effort to developmodest but important” updates to safety regulations affecting industrial sites such as oil refineries and chemical manufacturers’ storage tanks.  The “updates” were approved by Congress less than a year ago and announced by the EPA at the end of 2016 during the waning days of the Obama Administration.

Those storage tanks require more robust rules than currently existed because like crude oil refinery fires in California, or a chemical leak in West Virginia two years ago, any kind of accident can affect the health and well-being of tens-of-thousands of nearby residents, facility employees, or first responders.

Despite the alarming frequency of these dangerous industrial accidents, with an oil and chemical industry shill running the EPA, the one-time “protection agency” proposes putting a halt to the improved rules for a year-and-a-half. During that 18 month “hold” on the EPA’s safety proposals, Earth Justice reports there will likely be about 300 toxic chemical releases that could have been prevented with what can only be considered very modest rule changes.

While the chemical and oil industry claim the new safety rules are overly burdensome, they are very minor, not costly, and protect workers and “fence-line communities” in and around the facilities. They basically call for “strengthening emergency preparedness and coordination with local first responders; requiring more thorough, prevention-focused investigations; and forcing plants with the worst accident records to consider implementing available safety precautions.”

Those protections are necessary and might have averted some catastrophic health and economic disasters that occurred prior to the EPA’s safety rule implementation. For example, during 10 years leading up to these rules, there were 1,500 chemical fires, releases or explosions at chemical facilities around the country caused over $2 billion in damage to property, and necessitated emergency evacuation or “shelter in place” orders for half a million people. And those preventable accidents led to 17,099 injuries and 58 Americans’ lost their lives.

Without the safety measures in place, there is certainly going to be more Americans affected by ruptures, leaks and explosions.  The bad news is that “at least one in three schoolchildren attends a school within the vulnerability zone” of a hazardous facility like a refinery or oil and chemical storage tanks. And what is a very telling statistic about who, among the millions of people who live under the threat of a toxic plume or chemical disaster, will be most impacted by a manmade and preventable disaster; “the communities most in harm’s way are Black, Latino and low-income people.

Those statistics represent an unacceptable amount of death and destruction in an advanced society. Particularly when a couple of preventative safety measures could have halted or reduced the level of destruction. What cannot possibly be known yet is how many Americans will succumb to cancer and other ailments that take years to manifest and could have been easily, and cheaply, prevented with simple safety measures.

Those mainly preventative and preparedness rules are too much for the chemical and oil industry to accept which is why Pruitt’s EPA put them on hold for a year-and-a-half. Apparently, it is going to take 18 months for the EPA under oil and chemical industry activist Pruitt to “look for ways to roll back these vital protections.” Pruitt is well-practiced in the art of fighting EPA rules and campaigning to deregulate the chemical and oil industry because it has been one of his claims to fame since long before being put in charge of neutering the E.P.A.

Earth Justice rightly noted that the Pruitt-led EPA’s proposed action “defies logic and good sense,” but only if one believes that protecting the lives of Americans and the environment is a logical function of the government. Obviously, as an oil and chemical industry shill, Pruitt doesn’t believe that protecting Americans is reasonable, or logical, because the industries he’s protecting opposes them; Pruitt’s plan to put the rules on hold is a gift to his campaign donors.

Although it is doubtful that any amount of citizen action will change Pruitt’s position on halting the safety rules, the Environmental Protection Agency is still accepting comments from the public on the wisdom, or insanity, of delaying implementation of safety measures for a year-and-a-half; until Pruitt and the oil and chemical industry can eliminate them completely which was the plan the minute Republicans gained control of the entire government.