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Senators Accuse EPA of ‘Denying Science’ and ‘Fabricating Math’ to Justify Clean Power Plan Repeal

Senators Accuse EPA of ‘Denying Science’ and ‘Fabricating Math’ to Justify Clean Power Plan Repeal

In a letter sent to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt on Thursday, 19 Democratic senators demanded that the EPA boss “show your work” in his justification of repealing the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

This move comes after suggestions that the agency seriously underestimated the costly toll of climate change. For instance, one analysis showed that the Trump EPA put the cost of one ton of emissions of carbon dioxide between $1 and $6 in the year 2020—a dramatic decrease of the Obama administration’s 2020 estimate of $45. This figure is known as the “social cost of carbon“—or the public cost of burning fossil fuels—which guides current energy regulations and possible future mitigation policies.


“Our review of the 2017 Repeal proposal reveals significant deficiencies associated with the cost-benefit analysis used to support the 2015 Rule’s repeal,” the senators wrote. “At seemingly every turn, the 2017 Repeal proposal uses mathematical sleights of hand to over-state the costs of industry compliance with the 2015 Rule and under-state the benefits that will be lost if the 2017 Repeal is finalized.”

The effort was led by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee. Other prominent signatories include Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

They continued:

“Denying the science and fabricating the math may satisfy the agency’s paperwork requirements, but doing so will not satisfy the requirements of the law, nor will it slow the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, the inexorable rise in sea levels, or the other dire effects of global warming that our planet is already experiencing. It will also not improve our standing in the international community or bring certainty to power markets as states plan for their future energy needs.”

“Your rejection of the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas pollution causes global warming is well-known. Additionally, we continue to await your response to the April 7, 2017 letter requesting more details about your views related to the cause of global warming and the agency’s plan to repeal and replace the 2015 Clean Power Plan Rule. Our review of the 2017 Repeal proposal only heightens our concerns.”

Pruitt announced earlier this month that he was repealing the CPP, which cuts carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants. Without the rule, the U.S. will not live up to its Paris climate accord pledge of a 26 to 28 percent reduction in emissions by 2025.

Pruitt says withdrawing the rule would end the war on coal.

“The EPA and no federal agency should ever use its authority to say to you we are going to declare war on any sector of our economy,” he said.

The full text of the senators’ letter can be found here.

 

Substitute pix by editor.

Source:  EcoWatch

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LINK:  https://www.ecowatch.com/clean-power-plan-senators-pruitt-2502303003.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=e7ab23d5c7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-e7ab23d5c7-86118937

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 5 Glaring Examples of Scott Pruitt’s Pattern of Secrecy and Why You Should Care

 

By Martha Roberts

The imposing limestone government building in central Washington where Scott Pruitt holds sway is increasingly operating away from public view with decisions made behind closed doors, once-public information blacked out, and influential insiders taking charge.

As the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Pruitt has also proven elusive, having spent more than half of his days away from Washington amid speculation he’s really focused on a future run for Oklahoma senator or governor. His frequent travel to the Midwestern state at taxpayers’ expense recently prompted the agency’s Inspector General to open an investigation—and yet, Pruitt has found time to quietly and systematically tear down policies that protect our health and safety.


Here are the five most glaring examples of the EPA chief’s pattern of secrecy, and what it means for you.

1. Suppressed Web Pages About Climate Change

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, my organization recently received EPA records detailing more than 1,900 items that had been modified or deleted from the agency’s website since President Trump’s inauguration day—including information about how climate change affects children and pregnant women.

2. Keeps His Schedule Secret

Pruitt is hiding from the public even the most basic information about how he spends his business hours and with whom. Contravening a bi-partisan EPA transparency practice, Pruitt no longer makes any senior management calendars—including his own—available to the public. Americans have a right to know how a high-ranking, taxpayer-funded public servant spends his time and makes decisions that directly affect their lives.

3. Suspends Pollution Laws Without Public Input

Over the past six months, Pruitt has taken actions to suspend environmental safeguards without providing any opportunity for public input—including protections against toxic wastewater, oil and gas pollution as well as climate pollution.

Among one of Pruitt’s earliest actions was to suspend, without any public input, protections against safety risks at major chemical facilities. Just a few months later, the Houston-area Arkema plant exploded after Hurricane Harvey flooded the site.

4. Attacks Reporter Covering the EPA

Pruitt’s press team lashed out against an Associated Press journalist after he co-authored a report that exposed the EPA’s absence at Superfund sites flooded after Hurricane Harvey. The agency’s press release attacked the reporter without rebutting any of the article’s factual findings, raising concerns about the politicization of press coverage when public safety is at stake.

5. Rolls Back Enforcement Against Polluters

Under Trump’s administration, the EPA has quietly but dramatically reduced enforcement against polluters. So far, the agency has collected 60 percent less in civil penalties than previous administrations did during their first six months in office, a recent analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project found.

Not holding companies responsible for their pollution has tangible impacts in the form of more pollution, more illness and more avoidable early deaths among Americans like you and me.

So covert is Pruitt that he earned the Golden Padlock Award this summer from investigative reporters and editors who recognize the most secretive U.S. agency or individual. The judges were impressed by “the breadth and scope of Pruitt’s information suppression techniques around vital matters of public interest.”

Indeed, looking at the rapid transformation of the agency he led during the Nixon and Reagan administrations, former EPA Administrator Bill Ruckelshaus described Pruitt’s first six months as someone “taking a meat ax to the protections of public health and environment and then hiding it.”

Pruitt’s efforts to hollow out the EPA and weaken the public health safeguards that the agency is required to uphold is why we’re mobilizing, like never before, to protect and defend America’s clean air and water.

Public opinion and, increasingly, the courts are on our side, but we cannot let up the fight for the future of our children and grandchildren at this critical time.

 LINK:  https://www.ecowatch.com/scott-pruitt-epa-secrecy-2485258981.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=65580d6a18-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-65580d6a18-86118937

 

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