Wednesday 23rd of January 2019

poison'd pruitt...

poison pruitt

In late March, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt decided that his agency would not place an outright ban on a pesticide manufactured by Dow Chemical called chlorpyrifos. The decision came after a federal court ordered the EPA to make a final decision on whether or not to ban the pesticide, which the Obama administration had proposed banning in 2015. The chemical has been on the market in the United States since 1965under the brand name Lorsban and indoor use of the chemical has been banned for more than a decade.

In its decision to allow the pesticide to continue being used in the United States, the EPA went against its own agency’s findings that the pesticide presented unnecessary risks to American citizens. And while Pruitt’s EPA officials did not deny those findings, they did claim additional studies on the chemical were still needed before they could ban it, thus allowing the product's continued use.

In the three and a half months since the EPA’s chlorpyrifos decision, the story has become far more complex than the usual “regulators siding with industry” trope that has played out far too often.

One of the most interesting developments was from a report in early July indicating Pruitt met with the CEO of Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris, a few weeks prior to his decision not to ban chlorpyrifos. While the EPA claims that the meeting was simply a brief introduction when the two men met in a hallway during a conference in Houston on March, the timing of the “chance” meeting has sparked talk that it could have potentially influenced Pruitt’s decision on the chemical, which came just a few weeks later.

Originally, Pruitt and Liveris had scheduled an official meeting together while at the conference, but the an EPAspokesperson told the Associated Press that the meeting had been canceled due to scheduling conflicts and that the two men did not discuss chlorpyrifos in their brief hallway interaction.

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these idiots as friends make us imbecilic...

We love America and we hate America, which is another way of saying we can’t ignore it. For better or worse, the United States determines much of what happens in Australia.

Now we are forced to watch Donald Trump’s administration at war with his own country, savagely cutting public school resources, eviscerating the US diplomatic corps, rolling back civil rights and trying to repeal laws controlling health care costs.

It has also taken aim at science. In a war in which we are all victims, the main agent is the man appointed by Trump to lead the country’s Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt.

With a strong scientific complement and a cabinet-rank administrator, the EPA has evolved over 47 years into a powerful protective shield for natural America against the excesses of modern life.

Except in George W. Bush’s second term and under Barak Obama, EPA leaders have lacked specialist knowledge, but that has not prevented them from heeding scientific advice and supporting strong action to protect natural values.

Until Pruitt. Like all his predecessors except the most recent ones he is a lawyer by training, but unlike them he is sticking to predetermined views and taking advice from no-one.

In March, for instance, for reasons of “regulatory certainty”, Pruitt repudiated an EPA scientific finding that a pesticide and neurotoxin called chlorpyrifos should be banned. The main beneficiary of that decision is Dow Chemical, whose CEO Andrew Liveris is a Trump advisor.

A fortnight ago, Pruitt announced the rescinding of rules identifying waterways subject to the Clean Water Act, which had effectively protected the drinking water of a third of Americans. It was done, said Pruitt, to “provide regulatory certainty to the nation’s farmers and businesses.”

But the Pruitt decisions that have really pressed buttons among scientists and educators have been the shelving of the agency’s climate change website and his dismissal of EPA specialists.

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tassie in hot waters...

While Tasmanians enjoyed exceptionally warm summer waters in 2016, scientists have confirmed it was the most intense yet and they predict more to come.

But while the marine hotspot made swimming in Tasmania a bit less bracing, the impact on oyster and salmon industries was dire.

Scientists who have analysed data from September 2015 to May 2016 have produced a report on the heatwave and they said as well as it being the most intense, it was the longest recorded off Tasmania's east coast.

"Through the summer period, at least in the peak of the summer, we would see something like about 16 to 17 degrees Celsius and we saw it up to about 19.5 degrees Celsius," climatologist Neil Holbrook said.

"In scale it was about half the size of Tasmania and it was more than 3 degrees above climatological average and went for about eight months.

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in charge of the disappearance...

Even though Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail to “get rid of” the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form,” it’s rare for his EPA administrator to go around and admit that’s just what they’re doing. 

Usually, EPA chief Scott Pruitt sticks to a familiar set of talking points during his interviews, insisting he is refocusing the agency’s core mission defined by Congress to protect air and water. Yet he confirmed environmentalists’ worst suspicions on a conservative Birmingham-based radio program on July 6, when he responded to praise from co-host Andrea Lindenburg. “I like what Donald Trump has done here as president,” she said. “He took a guy who wanted to get rid of the EPA—dismantle it—and put him in charge of it.”

Pruitt replied with a chuckle: “Ha. That’s right.” The former Oklahoma Attorney General launched 14 lawsuits against the Obama administration’s EPA before his appointment.

Pruitt went on to explain that the administration’s primary interest is in oil and gas production: “What the president has talked about is energy dominance, that we as an nations shouldn’t be about energy independence, we should be about energy dominance.” He went on to explain that this meant generating “electricity at the cheapest rates here domestically,” exploring and exploiting our “natural resources,” but also exporting those resources “and become dominant in an energy space.”

At another point in the interview, co-host Matt Murphy asked about the agency itself, and what Pruitt expects in terms of shrinking it. 

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welcoming dirty water and pollution?...

President Trump is having a tough time getting what he wants this week. First the Senate dropped the health care bill, and then, late on Tuesday, a House committee approved an appropriations bill that doesn’t go nearly as far as he sought in slashing the Environmental Protection Agency.

In Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, released in May, the EPA took the biggest hit of any federal agency. His proposed 31 percent budget cut was so extreme that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt encountered resistance from fellow Republicans when he defended eliminating more than 50 programs, including Great Lakes restoration, reducing diesel emissions, and grants for tribes. As Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nevada) observed: “You may be the first person to get more than you asked for,” because “nobody is standing on the rooftops begging for dirty water and dirty air and dirty soil.” 

Yesterday, in a 30-21 vote, the committee advanced an appropriations bill that cuts funding to the Department of the Interior by 7 percent and the EPA by 6.5 percent. The bill moving through Congress does retain some popular programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that Trump wanted gone, but there are still plenty of blows to environmental protection.

Republicans are seeking cuts to science, environmental enforcement, clean water funds to states and other state grants, and cleanup programs for the Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay—though they aren’t as steep as those Trump had requested. The bill also includes at least 16 additional provisions in which Republicans targeted Interior and EPA policies, including the Endangered Species Act, a clean water rule expanding protections for drinking water, and stricter ozone standards. The budget bill also includes a rider restricting how greenhouse gasses are calculated, and declared burning trees to be carbon-neutral.

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reaching out to the heartland Institute...

WASHINGTON — Senior Environmental Protection Agency officials have been working closely with a conservative group that dismisses climate change to rally like-minded people for public hearings on science and global warming.

Recently released emails show they also recruited help to counter negative news coverage and tout Administrator Scott Pruitt’s stewardship of the agency.

John Konkus, EPA’s deputy associate administrator for public affairs, repeatedly reached out to senior staffers at the Heartland Institute.

Emails show Konkus and the Heartland Institute mustering scores of potential invitees known for rejecting scientific warnings of man-made climate-change.

The emails were released after a lawsuit by environmental groups under the Freedom of Information Act.


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Remember :

"We know enough about the climate system that it doesn't necessarily make sense to throw all the models in a pool and say, we're blind to which models might be good and which might be bad," said Patrick Brown, a postdoc at the Carnegie Institution and an author of the study.

All of the models predicted an average warming of 4.3 degrees Celsius — plus or minus 0.7 degrees Celsius — between 2081 and 2100, assuming that current atmospheric emission levels continue unabated.

However, the best and more accurate models suggest that there will be a warming of 4.8 degrees Celsius — plus or minus 0.4 degrees Celsius — during the same time period.

Some researchers claim that the study results are not definitive.

"The study is interesting and concerning, but the details need more investigation," asserted Ben Sanderson, a climate expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.


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After finally dissipating on Sunday, the strongest cyclone in recorded history to strike coastal areas of Yemen and Oman on the Arabian Sea has left 11 dead and over 30 missing, while dropping some three years’ of rain in a single day.

The most powerful cyclone on record, Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Mekunu blasted coastal and inland regions of Middle Eastern states Yemen and Oman with sustained winds of 112 mph and gusts of up to 124 mph, bringing rainfall amounts of up to eleven inches over a 24-hour period — an astonishing and unprecedented downpour that killed at least 11 as many more remain missing, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).


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In 2015, a catastrophic heatwave across Pakistan killed more than 1,000 people, many of them homeless.

In a 2017 report, the Asian Development Bank named Pakistan as one of the world's most vulnerable countries in light of climate change.

It reported that the duration of heatwaves in the country had increased fivefold in the previous 30 years.

The mountainous north of the country is vulnerable to glacial melt, while rising sea levels, drought and temperature increases are expected to affect the coastal south.


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pissing on the environment...


The Environmental Protection Agency made news recently for excluding reporters from a “summit” meeting on chemical contamination in drinking water. Episodes like this are symptoms of a larger problem: an ongoing, broad-scale takeover of the agency by industries it regulates.

We are social scientists with interests in environmental healthenvironmental justice and inequality and democracy. We recently published a study, conducted under the auspices of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative and based on interviews with 45 current and retired EPA employees, which concludes that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration have steered the agency to the verge of what scholars call “regulatory capture.”

By this we mean that they are aggressively reorganizing the EPA to promote interests of regulated industries, at the expense of its official mission to “protect human health and the environment.”


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replacing tweedledum with tweedledee...

Scott Pruitt, whose tenure at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was tarred by corruption scandals and hostility to environmental regulation, offered his resignation today, July 6.

The EPA’s new interim administrator, Andrew Wheeler, is a former coal lobbyist, profiled by DeSmog.

DeSmog's prior profile of Wheeler reports:

Wheeler is the latest former staffer of climate change denier James Inhofe to join the EPA. Prior to joining FaegreBD Consulting, Wheeler worked as majority staff director, minority staff director and chief counsel at the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for Inhofe. He worked in a similar vein at the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, Wetlands and Nuclear Safety under the chairmanship of Inhofe and also that of George Voinovich. Before that, he worked as Inhofe's chief counsel from 1995 to 1997.

Under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Wheeler spent four years as a staffer at the EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics before moving on to his position at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Until mid-2017, Wheeler lobbied on behalf of Murray Energy, the nation's largest privately owned coal company. Run by vocal climate change denier Robert Murray, the energy company has fought against industry regulation and climate change mitigation efforts. According to EcoWatch, Wheeler brought in at least $3 million in income for his firm from Murray Energy.

Murray Energy, while Wheeler's client, produced an “Action Plan” for the Trump Administration including complete elimination of the Clean Power Plan, overturning the endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, and eliminating tax credits for wind and solar energy. In his confirmation hearing, Wheeler admitted to having seen the plan.

According to his profile at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, Wheeler “worked on every major piece of environmental and energy-related legislation over the last decade, including greenhouse gas emissions legislation, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the Clear Skies Act and the Clean Air Interstate Rule.” The consulting firm also notes that Wheeler has worked on 1998 and 2005 Highway Bill reauthorizations, the Diesel Emissions Reduction SEP Bill, and Renewable Fuel Standards. His regulatory work includes “all major fuel related issues including Refinery MACT, Gasoline sulfur, and the NSPS program.”

“Andrew Wheeler’s nomination is very much in keeping with the Trump administration’s agenda of fossil fuel exploitation and climate inaction,” Michael Mann, a climatologist at Penn State University told HuffPost.

Pruitt Out, Wheeler In

Reaction from environmental organizations was swift.

“We say to Scott Pruitt: Good riddance,” Food and Water Watch said in a statement moments after the resignation was made public. “We say to Donald Trump: We will continue to oppose your cabinet’s agenda to serve billionaires and corporate interests, and we will continue to fight your administration’s attack on our environmental protections, whoever the next EPAadministrator may be.”

Wheeler's record as a coal lobbyist drew immediate scrutiny — as did concerns about his record on ethics.

Wheeler, who until today served as deputy administrator under Pruitt, faces an ongoing ethics complaint from Public Citizen, a watchdog organization, according to CBS News. Wheeler’s tenure as a coal industry lobbyist only ended in May of 2017 — too recent to meet the requirement of Trump’s executive order number 13770, which requires waivers for government officials overseeing industries they lobbied for in the prior two years. Wheeler never obtained that required waiver, the ethics complaint alleges.

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