Trump decides the environment is not so important as corporate profits…
Sharon Lerner reports in The Intercept:
Environmentalists who were hoping that somehow a Donald Trump presidency wouldn’t be as catastrophic as they feared had those hopes dashed on Friday, when the president-elect announced Myron Ebell as his choice to oversee the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency. Ebell, head of both the right wing think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cooler Heads Coalition, has spent most of his career tossing out industry-funded nonsense bombs about climate change.
A non-scientist whose funders have included ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and coal giant Murray Energy Corporation, Ebell has been a consistent taunter of both scientists and environmentalists. As a talking head on TV news, he has for years offered false balance on climate change in the form of views so far outside of the mainstream as to be downright bizarre. For Ebell, Al Gore is “an extremist” who “lives in a fantasy world,” the Pope’s encyclical on climate change is “diatribe against modern industrial civilization,” and current climate patterns indicate an imminent ice age rather than a warming planet.
Since we were already falling short of our climate goalsbefore the election, and since the potential consequences of inaction may be irreversible, Ebell’s leadership in this realm seems to pose the gravest danger. He has already given much thought to how to get out of the Paris Agreement, the global treaty the U.S. signed in September, which is aimed at holding the increase in global temperature rise below two degrees.
There are several ways a Trump administration could do so. While Secretary of State John Kerry is scrambling to get the treaty implemented before President Obama leaves office, Trump is already signaling that he may try to withdraw from the global agreement in his first year, a move that is within his power and could increase the likelihood that other countries would also shirk their obligations.
Also caught in Trump’s crosshairs is the Clean Power Plan, the rules limiting carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants, which his administration could simply fail to enforce. The administration could also resurrect the Keystone XL pipeline and expand drilling on public land.
But there is much more to the EPA than the protection of the climate. And Ebell also runs a pro-chemical industry front group from the website saferchemicalpolicy.org, where you can read about the “life-enhancing value of chemicals” and the absurd idea that man-made toxic chemicals couldn’t possibly cause cancer because the average human lifespan has increased since 1950.
Indeed, Ebell’s hostility seems to extend to all scientific fact and the entire cause of environmentalism, and he will have a range of opportunities to inflict harm on human health and the environment. Still, certain protections of the earth, water, and land will be harder for him to reverse than others.
Here is a brief overview of some of the damage Trump and Ebell can — and can’t — inflict while they control the EPA.
Surrendering to Industry on Rules
Among the most vulnerable of the EPA’s efforts are rules that industry has already attacked through the legal system and are now wending their way through the courts. In any of these suits, the EPA could simply stop defending their rules. Or, worse still, they could reissue them so that they are friendlier to industry and less protective of people and the environment. Some of the most consequential of these rules tied up in ongoing suits are: . . .
Continue reading. There’s much more at the link. Somewhat depressing if you like the idea of preserving the environment, pretty exciting if your interest is in making corporations even more profitable.