Scott Pruitt’s office deluged with angry callers after he questions the science of global warming

Mar 14, 2017

By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s phones have been ringing off the hook — literally — since he questioned the link between human activity and climate change.

The calls to Pruitt’s main line, 202-564-4700, reached such a high volume by Friday that agency officials created an impromptu call center, according to three agency employees. The officials asked for anonymity out of fear of retaliation.

By Saturday morning calls went straight to voice mail, which was full and did not accept messages. At least two calls received the message that the line was disconnected, but that appeared to be in error.

EPA spokeswoman Nancy Grantham said in an email that the agency “has logged about 300 calls and emails.”

While constituents sometimes call lawmakers in large numbers to express outrage over contentious policy issues, it is unusual for Americans to target a Cabinet official.

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30 comments on “Scott Pruitt’s office deluged with angry callers after he questions the science of global warming

  • @OP – link – “If I am interpreting Pruitt’s statements correctly, I do not find anything to disagree with in what he said: we don’t know how much of recent warming can be attributed to humans,” recently retired Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry, who herself has questioned the extent of the role humans play in global warming, wrote on her blog. “In my opinion, this is correct and is a healthy position for both the science and policy debates.”

    Ah! A blog – not a science journal??

    This sounds like the usual disingenuous crap which fails to properly state the proportions of uncertainty!

    we don’t know how much of recent warming can be attributed to humans,

    Which translated into an honest statement says:-

    “We are not completely certain whether humans are directly responsible for 75%, 95%, 120%, or 150% of the warming, or if they are indirectly responsible for it via uncertain levels of difficult to evaluate feedbacks!”

    Implied DECEPTIVE BULLSHIT” conclusion:-

    Therefore denial of massive evidence is credible”!!!

    The Earth is on a cooling phase of the combined main climate cycles.

    CO2 produces a greenhouse effect.

    Global trade figures show the burning of billions of tonnes of coal oil and gas!

    How certain do we need to be to accept the basic laws of physics and chemistry?



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  • Science denial , – hardly a positive attitude for the head of the EPA to have ! I think the new medical term for this disorder is Ostrichophobia, particularly to be found in and around GOP politicians in the USA.

    Ostrichophobia has many similarities to a previous condition Tobaccodenialosis common among those nicotine lubricated politicians of the past.



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  • we don’t know how much of recent warming can be attributed to humans,

    To add to Alan4Discussion.

    Think of it like lung cancer. A person who has chained smoked for 30 years and gets a diagnosis of lung cancer also does not know exactly how much their habit contributed by they know it is a very very high probability that it contributed a very great deal. I don’t imagine many (at least those who are not delusional) don’t regret their decision to keep smoking in-spite of knowing the clear risks and having 99.9% of doctors telling them they are at great risk.

    This argument they are using is of that nature but it is ultimately much weaker, there may well be a tiny percentage of people who have a particular combination of genes that might make them unlikely to get lung cancer even though they smoke. The planet has no such protection and what is more the xrays have come back and the tumors are there and growing.



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  • And it seems that it is not only Pruitt who has questions to answer on the climate-change denial issue!

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/secretary-state-tillerson-alias-account-climate-change-emails/story?id=46117655

    Secretary of State Tillerson used alias account in some climate change emails at Exxon, prosecutors say

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used a secondary email address under the name Wayne Tracker to send and receive information about climate change and other topics during his tenure at Exxon Mobil, according to the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

    Exxon Mobil confirmed the secondary email account and stressed that it was not used exclusively for climate change matters, saying in a statement it was used for “a broad range of business-related topics.”

    Company spokesman Alan Jeffers said the account was “mostly used while he [Tillerson] was traveling to ensure he’d see an item in a secure and timely way without having to sort through his regular email inbox, which could contain many items. To suggest it was exclusively or even primarily about climate issues is absolutely false and misleading.”

    The state attorney general’s office discovered the Wayne Tracker account during an investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company misled shareholders and the public about possible financial risks that climate change poses to its business.

    The investigation began in November 2015, and on Monday the attorney general’s office sent a letter to New York County Supreme Court saying Exxon Mobil “has failed to comply in good faith” with a subpoena issued to produce documents from the company’s top executives, including from the Wayne Tracker email account.

    “Despite the company’s incidental production of approximately 60 documents bearing the ‘Wayne Tracker’ email address, neither Exxon nor its counsel have ever disclosed that this separate email account was a vehicle for Mr. Tillerson’s relevant communications at Exxon, and no documents appear to have been collected from this email account, which also does not appear on Exxon’s list of preserved custodial sources or its privilege logs,” the letter reads.

    The letter also says there are “34 additional email accounts specifically assigned to top executives, board members or their assistants” that were not initially produced in the investigation.



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  • Perhaps the dim deniers may eventually work out, that a more energetic atmosphere moves more tropical air towards the poles and more arctic air towards the equator, – according to the position of the Jetstream! – Which is why (this year in England) I am gardening in spring sunshine, while the eastern USA is having blizzards!



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  • I was watching a film I downloaded the other day that I hadn’t seen before. “The American President” made in 1995 starring Michael Douglas and Annette Benning. Douglas as a widowed President is trying to get legislation through Congress while also falling for climate lobbyist Benning who’s trying to get the government to do more to reduce carbon emissions. The two main legislative topics in the film are global warming which the President is being fought on by climate change deniers and his attempts to do something about gun crime and assault weapons which the NRA is battling him on.

    It’s weird watching a film 22 years old and seeing the same damn stuff happening back in the middle of what would have been Clinton’s presidency as is going on today. While the rest of the world has moved on well past any sort of controversy stage about such topics and others such as abortion and LGBT rights the USA is still stuck in its time warp of religious, right wing and big money based denial which shows no sign of abating.

    Trump is reportedly about to issue an executive order forcing government departments to ignore or minimise taking into account the cost of carbon emissions in any decision making they do. Within 3 months of taking office he’ll have gutted healthcare, the EPA, education, clean water, climate change, NASA and diplomatic relations with most of the civilised world. It seems the grumpy old white men have gotten just what they always wanted – America transported back to the 1950s. Actually probably even further back than that because at least in the 1950s science was sexy and NASA was how the USA showed the world its technological prowess. I’m wondering when water fountains for blacks only are going to be reintroduced and women are going to lose the vote.

    There was a Star Trek, Next Generation episode when the crew got infected by some sort of pathogen and regressed back to the primordial ancestors of what each species had originally evolved from. It’s a bit like that watching the USA going backwards steadily to the dark ages. All the painfully slow advancement of the past couple of generations being ripped away in just a few weeks.

    Trump campaigned on this dystopian picture of society which of course didn’t actually exist but it seems that what the idiots who voted for him didn’t realise was that he intended to create it, not fix it. A plutocracy where the poor and middle class are stripped of what little they have left to give tax cuts to the filthy rich, 50 plus million without any sort of healthcare again, minorities cowering in fear as the police and immigration hit squads come to round them up and deport or imprison them.



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  • Which is why (this year in England) I am gardening in spring sunshine, while the eastern USA is having blizzards!

    And later in the year, it will be pavement bistro weather in London whilst New York stews like never before.

    By century’s end New Jersey will have 44 days above 35 Celsius (95F) instead of 4.

    Economic catastrophe awaits the States, particularly those in the south. The whole country will see a downturn of 36% in GDP due to climate warming. The UK will relatively flourish with GDP up from no warming to 42% higher, nearly an 80% difference in outcomes. Smugness.

    I’ll re-post this as q and Arkrid may not have seen it

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603158/hotter-days-will-drive-global-inequality/

    The millions of deaths in all the equatorial regions from the crippling of an already pants agriculture, however, and the global chaos of mass migrations will mean everyone will suffer.



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  • The U.S. is regressing to pre-enlightenment times, where belief outweighs logic, or knowledge.
    Pruitt is absolutely entitled to be skeptical; science should always be questioning. BUT, he should be defining, then using the necessary resources to protect us, and future generations, from ourselves.
    The current government’s idea of protecting us seems to be pretty blinkered though; it’s based on Bannon’s ridiculous belief in preparing for (and maybe) precipitating the apocalypse.



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  • CliveJ #10
    Mar 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    The U.S. is regressing to pre-enlightenment times, where belief outweighs logic, or knowledge.

    Trump’s administration certainly is setting that course!

    Pruitt is absolutely entitled to be skeptical;

    But Pruitt isn’t sceptical in the scientific sense – which should be the correct context when discussing science! He is in ignorant denial of the evidence! His assertions have no scientific basis!

    science should always be questioning.

    Science is about questioning, but only ignorant muppets continue to demand answers to questions which have been answered thousands of times by experts, and for which answers are readily available in the basic text books which they have failed to study!

    A flat-Earthist is not a scientific sceptic, and neither is someone who claims CO2 is not a greenhouse gas or the physics is in doubt!
    Such people are simply incompetent ignoramuses, delusional clowns, or dishonest charlatans!

    Pseudo-scientists, AGW deniers, conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, and Young Earth Creationists, love to conflate the vernacular meaning of words like “theory” and “sceptic”, with the scientific meanings of those words which are very precise and quite different.

    BUT, he should be defining, then using the necessary resources to protect us, and future generations, from ourselves.

    But that is precisely what he is not doing!
    Like Trump, he is appointing grossly incompetent and perverse unqualified people to take charge of the specialist environment departments. The departments which are required to plan the requirements and deploy the necessary resources.
    This is of course combined with Trump’s denial and repeal of needed regulations and de-manning of the the expert services which are needed to de the job!



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  • @ Alan4Discussion #11 “But Pruitt isn’t sceptical in the scientific sense – which should be the correct context when discussing science! He is in ignorant denial of the evidence! His assertions have no scientific basis!”

    Scott Pruitt is a lawyer, a politician, and a deacon of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma First Baptist Church.

    Do you seriously expect him to have a scientific mindset?



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  • rogeroney #12
    Mar 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    @ Alan4Discussion #11 “But Pruitt isn’t sceptical in the scientific sense – which should be the correct context when discussing science! He is in ignorant denial of the evidence! His assertions have no scientific basis!”

    Scott Pruitt is a lawyer, a politician, and a deacon of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma First Baptist Church.

    Do you seriously expect him to have a scientific mindset?

    He is also a climate-change and a greenhouse-gas effect denier, so I don’t expect him to even have scientific competence at school-boy level!

    CliveJ #10
    Mar 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Pruitt is absolutely entitled to be skeptical; science should always be questioning.

    However, it was CliveJ’s claim that he was “entitled to be skeptical” in the context of science being questioning, and in that context, the use of the term “skeptical” should be the scientific one as defined and linked @#11.

    He is clearly NOT sceptical in that sense!
    He is in denial of massive evidence on which he is too bigoted or lazy to study or seek expert advice.

    I thought I had explained clearly @#11 that Pseudo-scientists, AGW deniers, conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, and Young Earth Creationists, love to conflate the vernacular meaning of words like “theory and “sceptic”, with the scientific meanings of those words – for the purpose (by the ambiguous misuse of those words) of trying to associate scientific authority and integrity, with their unsupported and false claims, or their gratuitous doubt-mongering of well evidenced scientific conclusions.

    Pruitt is not an informed scientific sceptic! He is an ignorant assertive denier!



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  • rogeroney #12
    Mar 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Scott Pruitt is a lawyer, a politician, and a deacon of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma First Baptist Church.

    Do you seriously expect him to have a scientific mindset?

    Lawyers are usually expected to be able to seek out expert witnesses and evidence, to use it to assemble and present a coherent, rational, argument. – Politicians and deacons – not so much!

    (I am familiar with lawyers of normal capabilities. – My daughter is a lawyer!)

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/02/can-the-electoral-college-system-be-reformed/#li-comment-219780

    Judge Derrick Watson said:- The illogic of the government’s contentions is palpable.

    However, it would seem from judges’ comments, that Trump lawyers are either selected for their irrational incompetence and are incapable, or are not being allowed to put together evidence with a coherent reasoned argument to present to the courts or the public!



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  • Posting someone’s telephone number on a web page is doxing, one of the biggest Internet “no-nos”. It will contribute to a denial of service attack. The Richard Dawkins Foundation should have nothing to do with this.

    That said, it is alarming that an environment administrator has such views.



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  • I disagree Phil. You are not doxing because people will only contact that number if they have an enquiry for the DVLA. The agency number above and on the Washington post site is there to make it easy for people to contribute to a deluge of calls. All you have to do is click on the link and Skype will set up a call. This will lead to overloading the communication equipment and this is a denial of service attack. As far as I know this is illegal. The people in charge of this site should replace the phone numbers with Xs if this is technically possible.



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  • SteveHorn.

    I think this is cosmetic with no moral virtue.

    Besides doxing is about publishing the unpublished specifics of an individual. Pruitt is a servant of the people to be publicly accessed via the published contact information of his organisation.



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  • phil rimmer #16
    Mar 17, 2017 at 8:15 am

    @ link @#16 EPA Departmental Sections contact numbers.

    Pruitt’s thinking is clearly blocked by bigoted ignorance or a lack of integrity!

    Anyone with a learning ability and integrity, who was given access to advice from a whole list of expert departments – (paid to advise and inform him), would not make idiotic public statements because he still cannot not learn the basics which are understood by most science-educated school children! –
    Another Trumpie “Dunce of the Month” – next to Kellyanne Conway in the gallery of perverse ignorance!



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  • I agree, Phil, that this is not the classic doxing of people who want to keep their identity secret on the internet. But calling the main phone number of a government department is a bad way to register disagreement. Mostly people who disagree with what Pruitt said will bother to call. This is not a poll.

    I think the Washington Post has an agenda here. The only reason I can see for them to publish the phone number is to make it easy for readers to call the number and contribute to the deluge of calls which, they tell us, overloads the equipment. Many people who have legitimate business with the department will be prevented from calling because of this crude tactic.

    Encouraging people to flood an address or phone number is a form of doxing.



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  • Nope this is still nonsense. Every other officer of the AO with a proper job to do has their own number as you can see for yourself. If you are worried Pruitt will be unable to work then you can rest assured he is getting the right message.

    Perhaps, write to your MP, your Congressman and complain….?

    In important matters that will adversely affect my kids and theirs, (forgive me ) fck propriety or whatever it is. I was happy with a little civil disobedience over the Vietnam and Iraq wars. This time generations will be hurt by this folly.



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  • SteveHorn #20
    Mar 17, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    But calling the main phone number of a government department is a bad way to register disagreement.

    Not really! It is what people do when they want to make a complaint about a particular service from a department or organisation!

    Mostly people who disagree with what Pruitt said will bother to call.

    Of course they will!
    He is incompetently contradicting and denying the key major issue he is being paid to deal with!
    That is how complaints are made!
    Whingeing about the volume of complaints is no answer to the monumental mess he is making of the job he has been given to do for the public.

    If the complaints line can’t cope with the volume of complaints, put in some more lines and more staff to take the calls – or better still – train or sack the clown who is giving people good reason to complain because he is too incompetent to do his job!



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  • I can see I am out on a limb here. I think it is one thing for individuals to act independently and find contact information themselves, it is quite another for a web page to provide this with the express purpose of increasing a communication attack (I can see no other reason for the Washington Post to include the phone number).

    Try and think if the tables were turned. Suppose Richard says something a religious group doesn’t like. They put the phone number and internet addresses of the Foundation in forums and social media messages with a text about how a deluge of calls can cause great inconvenience to the recipients. These are widely copied and as a result the telephones don’t work for several days and nobody can take part in forums due to people registering their disapproval of what Richard had said.

    I think we would feel pretty annoyed and I think the site administrators would be justified in contacting the police to see if any law had been broken.



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  • SteveH.

    I think we are doomed to disagree here.

    This site has been taken down by denial of service attacks a few times I believe.

    Myself if this was from a coherent group and I was RD, I would offer them a platform here to express their concerns.

    The point about phone calls to his outer office is he will hear them unlike emails and tweets. He needs to not be able to shut them out too easily, like he does with other facts.



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  • SteveHorn #23
    Mar 18, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Try and think if the tables were turned.
    Suppose Richard says something a religious group doesn’t like.
    They put the phone number and internet addresses of the Foundation in forums and social media messages with a text about how a deluge of calls can cause great inconvenience to the recipients.

    That analogy really does not work, as RDFS, unlike the EPA or DVLA, is not a public service which taxpayers pay for and are entitled to use or expect replies from, on questions about public policy or regulations!

    I think we would feel pretty annoyed and I think the site administrators would be justified in contacting the police to see if any law had been broken.

    It would be quite bizarre for it to be illegal to refer questioners to a publicly funded public information service!



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  • If Mr. Pruitt has qualified as a lawyer, we should ask him this….”Since you disagree with trained scientists in the relevant fields regarding the source of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, calling upon your expert opinion as a trained & licensed lawyer, then you should have no problem if we seek legal advice from and have ourselves represented in court by our locally licensed plumber.”



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  • So while Trump and Pruitt direct American investment into risky obsolete coal based industries, and undermine the clean green new ones, the rest of the world is moving on and leaving the backward investors with stranded assets, job-skills in the wrong sectors, and potential bankruptcy!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39342818

    Plans for coal-fired power plants drop by almost half in 2016

    Twenty-sixteen saw a “dramatic” decline in the number of coal-fired power stations in pre-construction globally.

    The authors of a new study say there was a 48% fall in planned coal units, with a 62% drop in construction starts.

    The report, from several green campaign groups, claims changing policies and economic conditions in China and India were behind the decline.

    However, the coal industry argues the fuel will remain essential to economic growth in Asia for decades to come.

    Between 2006 and 2016, India and China together accounted for 85% of the coal plants built around the world.

    But according to the Boom and Bust 2017 report, put together by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and CoalSwarm, there has been a huge swing away from coal in these two countries in just 12 months.

    The main causes of the decline are the imposition of restrictive measures by China’s central government – with the equivalent of 600 coal-fired units being put on hold until at least 2020.

    The Indian go-slow was prompted, according to the authors, by the reluctance of banks to provide funds. Work at 13 locations is currently not going ahead.

    However, there have also been significant retirements of coal plants in Europe and the US over the past two years, with roughly 120 large units being taken out of commission.

    “This has been a messy year, and an unusual one,” said Ted Nace, director of CoalSwarm.

    “It’s not normal to see construction frozen at scores of locations, but central authorities in China and bankers in India have come to recognize overbuilding of coal plants as a major waste of resources.

    “However abrupt, the shift from fossil fuels to clean sources in the power sector is a positive one for health, climate security, and jobs. And by all indications, the shift is unstoppable.”

    The study comes as other groups analyse the potential for investments in coal to become stranded assets if governments continue to restrict CO2 emissions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that hundreds of billions of dollars could be at risk.

    “The decline in new coal plants in Asian countries is truly dramatic, and shows how a perfect storm of factors is simply making coal a bad investment,” said Paul Massara, now of North Star Solar but a former CEO of RWE npower.

    “Growing awareness of the air pollution problems coal causes, the impact of policies to tackle climate change, and the rapid growth and cost-competitiveness of renewable sources of energy, along with emerging battery technologies, are making new coal plants redundant before they are even built,” he said.



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  • I see the Trump administration has approved the XL Pipeline in the (“National”) err – oil industry’s best interest – while everyone is distracted by the attack on Obama’s Healthcare system!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39381324

    The Trump administration has issued a permit to energy company TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

    The State Department said it had found the project, which was blocked by former US President Barack Obama, to be in the US national interest.

    The 1,180 mile (1,900km) pipeline will carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Texas coast.

    While announcing the approval President Trump called it a “great day for American jobs”.

    “TransCanada will finally be allowed to complete this long overdue project with efficiency and speed,” Mr Trump said in the White House Oval office, joined by TransCanada officials and contractors.

    Mr Trump signed an executive order only days after taking office in January, designed to speed up final approval of the $8bn (£6.4bn) pipeline.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recused himself from the matter because of his previous role as chief executive of ExxonMobil.

    The permit was signed by an undersecretary of state for political affairs, career diplomat Tom Shannon.

    In denying the project in 2015, former Secretary of State John Kerry wrote that it would neither spur economic growth, nor help the US achieve energy independence.

    He said it would threaten environmental damage by allowing “a particularly dirty source of fuel” to enter the US.

    Not over yet – Analysis by Matt McGrath, BBC Environment correspondent

    Making oil from the bitumen-rich Canadian tar sands is a messy and expensive business – separating the oil from the sand requires huge amounts of water and heat, and environmentalists say the process causes about 17% more greenhouse gas emissions than standard oil extraction. So how is green-lighting the XL pipeline to bring this oil to the Gulf Coast now serving the US national interest – when two years ago President Obama said it didn’t?

    However, completing the pipeline is not a foregone conclusion. The low price of oil makes XL (which stands for ‘export limited’ and not ‘extra large’) extremely expensive, while land rights and environmental objections may delay it for years.

    TransCanada still needs approval of the pipeline’s route through the US state of Nebraska.

    Mr Trump offered to call the governor of the state later today.

    An evaluation by the US state department was required, because the pipeline crosses an international border.

    TransCanada says the pipeline will create 13,000 jobs over two years, but opponents argue the vast majority of these jobs will be short-term work in the construction phase.

    During the presidential election, Mr Trump embraced the idea that the pipeline would create American jobs.

    He also signed a memorandum requiring Keystone to be built using American steel.

    However, the White House later said this requirement would only apply to future applications, not projects already being built, such as Keystone.

    A mandate to use US steel would not only have been more expensive for TransCanada, but could have led to US authorities being sued by the World Trade Organization.

    White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said earlier this month: “Since this one is already currently under construction, the steel is already literally sitting there, it would be hard to go back.”

    The company said that roughly half the steel would come from US manufacturers.

    Environmental groups criticised the decision, saying the potential damage from a spill is not worth any profit.

    “This dirty and dangerous export pipeline would run right through America’s heartland, threatening our water, our land, and our climate – all to pad the profits of a foreign oil company,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, from the League of Conservation Voters.



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  • Trump is now moving on to “reforming” the tax system – which I suspect will involve tax-cuts for people like Trump – to fund activities like commuting to Florida at weekends in ridiculously large private aircraft or executive jets, producing massive carbon footprints! – But hey! Those mug-voters really do need to tighten their belts so as to elect rich “important” people whose life style needs to be protected from the burden of supporting base-line benefits to the US population or global mankind in general! 🙂



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  • It seems we can’t afford to have Republicans in office any more, or people like Pruitt running (destroying) the EPA. This business about global warming is real, I’m afraid.

    (I spoke with a climate change denier this past evening. She said that there are many scientists who don’t think that global warming is caused by Man. All I could say was that there are many scientists who are psychotic too. You can’t argue with some people.)

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=18751

    Climate Catastrophe Is Here: 2016 Hottest Year on Record

    Dr. Michael Mann emphasizes says [sic] we are already seeing global impacts; within one to two decades we are on track for an iceless Arctic.



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