EPA chief: ‘True environmentalism is using natural resources that God has blessed us with’

Oct 27, 2017

By Joe Romm

Another day, another attempt by Trump officials to silence scientists.

The latest egregious example of censorship is the Environmental Protection Agency’s last-minute move to forbid three of their scientists from speaking on climate change at a long-planned conference focusing on the health of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay and Watershed, the New York Times reported Sunday. Of course, the health of a major coastal watershed can’t be preserved without understanding and planning for climate change.

“These efforts by the Trump administration to stifle scientific research inconvenient to its corporate masters threatens all of us,”  climatologist Michael Mann told Think Progress. “It must not be tolerated.”

EPA spokesperson John Konkus — an anti-science hatchetman — confirmed in an email to multiple outlet that “EPA scientists are attending, they simply are not presenting.” Konkus is a Trump political operative with little environmental expertise, who was given unprecedented oversight to vet hundreds of millions of dollars in annual EPA grants, as we reported in September. His primary focus is cutting grants that include the words “climate change,” and he has already axed such life-saving grants as a clean cookstove program.

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19 comments on “EPA chief: ‘True environmentalism is using natural resources that God has blessed us with’

  • @OP – EPA chief: ‘True environmentalism is using natural resources that God has blessed us with’

    True stupidity, is appointing science illiterates to chief scientist positions, in the hope that the gullible will think that appointment confers capability or expertise, or that their pseudo-authoritative pronouncements will have any substance to them!
    Pruit has just demonstrated that he is totally clueless about the environmental sciences, but that he has the confidence of the TRUE IGNORAMUS who can talk god-gap utter drivel with a straight face and an air of pseudo-authority!

    @OP- The latest egregious example of censorship
    is the Environmental Protection Agency’s last-minute move
    to forbid three of their scientists
    from speaking on climate change
    at a long-planned conference
    focusing on the health of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay and Watershed, the New York Times reported Sunday.
    Of course, the health of a major coastal watershed
    can’t be preserved without understanding and planning for climate change.

    Those darned scientists would debunk propagandist nonsense and “offend” by exposing the pig-ignorance of the members of the Trump Administration!
    OOooo – Quick! – throw the toys out of the pram and silence them to assert respect for the posers who are spouting TRRrrrooo environMENTALISM!

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  • That guy, Phil, is like all the rest. What else would you expect from this foul regime? They are anti-human.

    This is the Trump Administration. Every appointee has been chosen to destroy anything of human significance within each respective area of the government, and has been assigned a task: to remove any hinderance of corporate profit.

    Up until fairly recently, Nancy Beck was an executive at the American Chemistry Council, the trade association for the nation’s chemical industry. As the New York Times reported over the weekend, however, Donald Trump’s administration has given Beck a job at the EPA – helping lead the agency’s toxic chemical unit.

    For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

    The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, has been linked to kidney cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders and other serious health problems.

    So scientists and administrators in the E.P.A.’s Office of Water were alarmed in late May when a top Trump administration appointee insisted upon the rewriting of a rule to make it harder to track the health consequences of the chemical, and therefore regulate it.

    It was, of course, Beck, the former American Chemistry Council executive, who demanded the revision. Voters who supported Donald Trump because they hoped he’d “drain the swamp,” preventing corporate insiders from helping call the shots in government agencies, are getting the exact opposite of what they wanted.

    But just to twist the knife a little more, consider what the political appointees at Trump’s EPA had to say when the New York Times called for a comment.

    “No matter how much information we give you, you would never write a fair piece,” Liz Bowman, an EPA spokesperson told the newspaper via email. “The only thing inappropriate and biased is your continued fixation on writing elitist clickbait trying to attack qualified professionals committed to serving their country.”

    And who’s Liz Bowman? Before she went to work at Trump’s EPA as a spokesperson, she was a spokesperson at … wait for it … the American Chemistry Council.

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  • “These efforts by the Trump administration to stifle scientific research inconvenient to its corporate masters threatens all of us,” climatologist Michael Mann told Think Progress. “It must not be tolerated.” OP

    Must not be? Must not? It is being tolerated. How does one stop it? (There’s the rub.) Not by saying: “must not be tolerated”- although that’s a good start.

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  • Dan #4
    Oct 27, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Must not be? Must not?
    It is being tolerated. How does one stop it?

    The research will continue in the rest of the developed world, and like the pronouncements of results from the “research” by Ken Ham and Co. at Answers in Genesis, the scientists and educated populations will in the rest of the world, will laugh at their stupidity, and ignore their ridiculous claims.
    Civilised countries will ban imports of contaminated American products, (as they already do with sub-standard products from China etc.), but of course that does not prevent US workers from living and dying in dangerous polluted environments (as many Indian and Chinese workers do at present).

    The bottom line in a democracy, is:- “elect monkeys – live in the jungle”!
    (Apologies to wild monkeys!)

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  • Plus ca change ! When Marx was writing Capital, he saved special praise for Leonard Horner, who was the man supposedly empowered to enforce the various Factory Acts. Of course passing legislation and enforcing it are two entirely different things. Horner faced opposition from the industrial capitalists whilst trying to ensure safety at work. Eventually, when it became apparent that British capitalism had no endless supply of cheap labour, and that the ‘geese’ who laid the golden eggs, needed some protection at work, some degree of education, and some protection from disease, and some standard of living, in order to raise up the next generation of golden geese, the state had to step in and start to reform the way capitalism was regulated. Not for the workers, but for the capitalists and their system. A dead worker produces no wealth.

    It seems with Trump’s administration , profits of course come before everything else, whatever the cost in environmental, or human terms. If Pruitt likes to eat lobster, (heaven forbid if he’s a Bible loving Christian), he will have to pay far more for them from this bay, as the water temperature has increased a lot and the lobsters have declined a lot. Oh and all that CO2 going into the oceans via human pollution is causing how much long term damage to the system we all depend upon ?

    Take the money and run.

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  • @OP – EPA chief: ‘True environmentalism is using natural resources that God has blessed us with’

    I see that some of the Brazilian gun toting lawless, share the Trumpy view, that the environment is there to be polluted and ripped off for profit – just like everything else! !

    Extra troops and federal police have been deployed in the north Brazilian town of Humaita after hundreds of armed men set alight several offices belonging to environmental agencies.

    The attack took place on Friday, in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon region, and lasted five hours.

    The authorities say it was carried out by gold prospectors in revenge for a recent raid on an illegal operation.

    Property belonging to two government agencies was destroyed.

    Buildings, vehicles, furniture and documents were set alight at the local headquarters of Brazil’s Environmental Protection Agency (Ibama) and the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation.

    Police managed to foil attacks on the buildings of government agencies – Incra and Ipaam – but vehicles parked outside were set alight.

    “This is a barbaric attack, an act of terrorism,” Mr Barroso told O Globo newspaper.

    “They are challenging the Brazilian state and they will get the proper response. Ibama will carry on with its activities. They may set fire to our offices, but we will carry on.”

    It all began days after Brazilian officials seized boats used in a gold operation on the Madeira river, which crosses the town of Humaita.

    This is the latest incident in the cat-and-mouse game played by federal agents and thousands of gold miners, known locally as garimpeiros, who operate illegally in Brazil’s vast Amazon region.

    They often look for gold in protected areas or indigenous lands.

    In the process, they dump tonnes of health-harming mercury in the region’s rivers.

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  • Meanwhile, as Trump continues without appointing a science advisor, and his denialist science illiterates babble ignorant ideology while hiding as much scientific evidence as they can, – with measurements taken in 51 countries, they can only con those addicted to US false news sources: –


    Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

    Last year’s increase was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years.

    Researchers say a combination of human activities and the El Niño weather phenomenon drove CO2 to a level not seen in 800,000 years

    Scientists say this risks making global temperature targets largely unattainable.

    This year’s greenhouse gas bulletin produced by the WMO, is based on measurements taken in 51 countries.
    Research stations dotted around the globe measure concentrations of warming gases including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

    The figures published by the WMO are what’s left in the atmosphere after significant amounts are absorbed by the Earth’s “sinks”, which include the oceans and the biosphere.

    2016 saw average concentrations of CO2 hit 403.3 parts per million, up from 400ppm in 2015.

    “It is the largest increase we have ever seen in the 30 years we have had this network,” Dr Oksana Tarasova, chief of WMO’s global atmosphere watch programme, told BBC News.

    “The largest increase was in the previous El Niño, in 1997-898 and it was 2.7ppm and now it is 3.3ppm, it is also 50% higher than the average of the last ten years.”

    El Niño impacts the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by causing droughts that limit the uptake of CO2 by plants and trees.

    Emissions from human sources have slowed down in the last couple of years according to research, but according to Dr Tarasova, it is the cumulative total in the atmosphere that really matters as CO2 stays aloft and active for centuries.

    Over the past 70 years, says the report, the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is nearly 100 times larger than it was at the end of the last ice age.

    Rapidly increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 and other gases have the potential, according to the study to “initiate unpredictable changes in the climate system…leading to severe ecological and economic disruptions.”

    The study notes that since 1990 there has been a 40% increase in total radiative forcing, that’s the warming effect on our climate of all greenhouse gases.

    “Geological-wise, it is like an injection of a huge amount of heat,” said Dr Tarasova.

    “The changes will not take ten thousand years like they used to take before, they will happen fast – we don’t have the knowledge of the system in this state, that is a bit worrisome!”

    According to experts, the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was three to five million years ago, in the mid-Pliocene era.
    The climate then was 2-3C warmer, and sea levels were 10-20m higher due to the melting of Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheets.

    Other experts in the field of atmospheric research agreed that the WMO findings were a cause for concern.

    “The 3ppm CO2 growth rate in 2015 and 2016 is extreme – double the growth rate in the 1990-2000 decade,” Prof Euan Nisbet from Royal Holloway University of London told BBC News.

    Another concern in the report is the continuing, mysterious rise of methane levels in the atmosphere, which were also larger than the average over the past ten years. Prof Nisbet says there is a fear of a vicious cycle, where methane drives up temperatures which in turn releases more methane from natural sources.

    “The rapid increase in methane since 2007, especially in 2014, 2015, and 2016, is different. This was not expected in the Paris agreement. Methane growth is strongest in the tropics and sub-tropics. The carbon isotopes in the methane show that growth is not being driven by fossil fuels.
    We do not understand why methane is rising. It may be a climate change feedback. It is very worrying.”

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  • However, in the UK, there is clearly an educated TV audience, who value high quality scientific environmental information over superficial amusement!


    Blue Planet II beats Strictly and X Factor in weekend ratings battle

    Blue Planet II, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, drew more viewers than Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor on Sunday evening.

    The first episode of the nature documentary blew the other programmes out of the water, and was watched by an average of 10.3 million live viewers.

    This dwarfed the X Factor’s audience; the singing show was seen by 4.3 million live viewers on average.

    The Strictly Come Dancing results show, broadcast just before Blue Planet II, did better, attracting an average of 9.6 million viewers.

    Once the viewers from catch-up services are added, these figures will increase.

    Viewers of the documentary about marine life were both fascinated and disgusted by a bird-eating fish, during the opening episode.

    A giant trevally was seen swallowing a bird mid-flight, and viewers said they were “traumatised” by the incident, in which the 40kg fish devoured a sooty tern in a remote stretch of water in the Seychelles.

    On Saturday, the dancing competition drew slightly more viewers than Blue Planet II did on Sunday.

    The Halloween Strictly special was seen by an average of 10.6 million live viewers.

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  • Despite the Trump Administration’s pathetic attempts to suppress the evidence, the information just keeps flowing on the international scene!


    In its annual review, the UN says the gap between carbon cutting plans and the reductions required to keep temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius is “alarmingly high”.

    Pledges made so far cover only one-third of the cuts needed by 2030 to keep below that goal, the review warns.

    Even if all the promises are kept, temperatures might still rise by 3 degrees by 2100.

    However, cost-effective options are available that can close the gap.

    The UN has published an annual analysis of emissions every year since 2010.

    This year’s instalment re-iterates the point that current pledges are insufficient to keep within the temperature limits agreed in the Paris climate pact.

    Emissions from human activities involving burning fossil fuels have stalled since 2014, caused by a reduction in coal use in China and the US, as well as the rapid rise of renewable energy sources.

    Despite this slowdown, the World Meteorological Organization warned on Monday that concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere were at a record high.

    The new emissions gap report finds that global greenhouse emissions by 2020 “are likely to be at the high end of the range” consistent with keeping temperature rises below 2 degrees or 1.5C.

    There is a graph on the links showing a range of scenarios 2025 – 2030!

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  • I see that Trump has further plans to to make his American administration, even more of a laughingstock in the the scientific world!


    Plans by the Trump administration to promote coal as a solution to climate change at a major UN meeting have angered environmentalists.

    An adviser to the president is expected to take part in a pro-coal presentation in Bonn next week.

    However the official US delegation, mainly career civil servants, may well be overshadowed by other groups with very different visions for how the US should combat climate change.

    According to reports, members of the Trump administration, will lend their support to an event to promote fossil fuels and nuclear power as solutions to climate change.

    Speakers from coal giant Peabody Energy, among others, will make a presentation to highlight the role that coal and other fuels can play in curbing the impacts of rising temperatures.

    A White House spokesman said in a statement that the discussion aims to build on the administration’s efforts to promote fossil fuels at the G20 meeting this year.

    “It is undeniable that fossil fuels will be used for the foreseeable future, and it is in everyone’s interest that they be efficient and clean,” the spokesman said.

    They really don’t get it or won’t get it, that the laws of physics don’t care about their propagandist drivel, and the climate remains unimpressed!

    ‘Beyond absurd’

    The prospect of fossil fuel industries making their case at this meeting has angered some who will attending.

    “Fossil fuels having any role in tackling climate change is beyond absurd. It is dangerous,” said Andrew Norton, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development.

    “These talks are no place for pushing the fossil fuel agenda. The US needs to come back to the table and help with the rapid cuts in emissions that the situation demands.”

    “It’s not a credible solution, but that doesn’t seem to bother them,” said long time talks participant Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    “They might even welcome some of the reaction to show to their base that they are fighting for America’s interest

    There is no doubt that the carbon lobby false news media outlets, will prominently feature the Trumpy pseudo-science!

    Environmentalists point to the contradiction of the Trump administration championing fossil fuels while an authoritative National Climate Assessment report, released on the eve of COP23, is clear that CO2 from these fuels is the key cause of climate change.

    US climate report at odds with some in Trump team

    The report says “that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

    Other groups, opposed to the Trump perspective, will also be paying for a large pavilion at the talks.

    It is obvious that the carbonaceous Trumpies are playing the false dichotomy beloved by creationists, of “debate the controversy”, – where there is no controversy!

    However under the rules, the US cannot leave the agreement until 2020 so they will be sending a team of negotiators to this meeting.

    Delegations of US governors, mayors and business people, under the We Are Still In coalition umbrella, will be in Bonn to tell negotiators that below the Federal level, much of America still supports the Paris Agreement.

    The US Climate Alliance, which represents 14 states and one territory, says that it speaks for around 36% of the US population and if it were a nation state would be the third biggest economy in the world.

    One of the governors who will be on the ground in Bonn is Washington’s Jay Inslee.

    “We need to make sure that world maintains confidence in our ability to move forward,” he told reporters.

    “So far, not one single nation state, city or county, municipality or school district have followed Donald Trump into the ranks of surrendering to climate change since he pulled out of Paris – his decision has energised our efforts.”

    This determination to remain part of Paris is also being reflected at city level in many parts of the US.

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  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41868878

    The White House has sought to downplay a major climate change report, which was compiled by 13 US federal agencies.

    A spokesman for the White House said it supported “rigorous scientific analysis and debate” but added that the climate was “always changing”.

    . . . . while lying through their teeth as usual, and contradicting themselves, by ignoring the “rigorous scientific analysis” provided for them by experts, illustrating their TOTAL LACK OF CAPABILITY to engage in “rigorous scientific analysis and debate”, – as they continue spouting the usual propagandist, ignorant, science denial, with comically shallow posturings of “authority”!

    The study is at odds with assertions from President Donald Trump and several members of his administration.

    It says it is “extremely likely” human activity is the “dominant cause” of global warming.

    The scientists’ predictions include:

    A global sea level rise of up to 8ft (2.4 metres)
    cannot be ruled out by the end of the century

    Risks of drought and flooding will increase

    There will be more frequent wildfires and devastating storms

    Running to nearly 500 pages, the report concludes that the current period is “now the warmest in the history of modern civilisation”.

    It is “extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause”, it finds, adding that “there is no convincing alternative explanation”.

    President Trump has made it easier for industry to pollute and he has appointed to key government positions men who are sceptical of their own scientists, the BBC’s James Cook, in Los Angeles, says.

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  • @OP – EPA chief: ‘True environmentalism is using natural resources that God has blessed us with’

    Strangely, both he and Trump, have passed on a golden opportunity to experience this sort of “environmentalism” first hand, with a visit to Delhi as part of the Asian tour!


    A public health emergency has been declared by doctors in Delhi as air quality in the world’s most polluted capital city plunged to levels likened to smoking at least 50 cigarettes in a single day.

    Slow winds and colder temperatures have been blamed for a surge in airborne pollutants beyond what instruments in the city could measure with some recording an Air Quality Index (AQI) maximum of 999.

    The Indian Medical Association said the country’s capital was suffering a health emergency and called for an upcoming half-marathon to be cancelled to avoid “disastrous health consequences”.

    Residents were warned to avoid leaving their homes as smog enveloped streets and landmarks on Tuesday, sparking road, rail and airport delays and renewed calls for Indian state and federal governments to act.

    The Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, said the city was a “gas chamber” as his government met on Tuesday afternoon to consider a response to the crisis. Primary schools, already asked to keep students indoors, will be shut on Wednesday and possibly longer if the poor conditions persist.

    The crowd paired their race-day dresses and suits with pollution masks

    Apparently there are “GREAT DEALS” to be done selling pollution masks! 🙂

    Delhi’s air pollution rises to nearly 50 times the London average

    Annual mean PM2.5 levels for selected cities, micrograms per cubic metre

    Stockholm Sweden 6

    Los Angeles US 11

    Tokyo Japan 15

    London UK 15

    Paris France 18

    Beijing China 85

    Delhi India 122

    PM2.5 levels in Delhi on 7 November 2017 – 710

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  • @OP EPA chief: ‘True environmentalism is using natural resources that God has blessed us with’

    So while this disreputable, scientifically incompetent, propagandist, promotes the “White-House-Delusion”, and the utter irrelevance of the obstructive Trump Administration, to any useful forms of environmental management, – competent people who actually care about sustainably managing the environment, are making international agreements! –
    Seemingly including those in the USA!


    The world’s major fishing nations have agreed a moratorium on commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean, before it has even become established.

    Much of the Arctic was once permanently frozen but global warming means its waters are becoming more accessible.

    The deal is expected to last for 16 years while research is carried out into the existing marine ecosystem.

    The moratorium was agreed by Canada, Russia, China, the US, the EU, Japan, Iceland, Denmark and South Korea.

    It covers an area of about 2.8m sq km (1m sq miles) – roughly the size of the Mediterranean Sea. No commercial fisheries exist in Arctic waters yet.

    “This is one of the rare times when a group of governments actually solved a problem before it happened,” said David Balton, US ambassador for oceans and fisheries.

    “In the future if fish stocks are plentiful enough to support a commercial fishery there, they will be part of the management system and presumably their vessels will have the opportunity to fish for those stocks.”

    Conservationists applauded the deal.

    Trevor Taylor, of the Canadian group Oceans North, said fish and marine mammals that many Arctic communities relied upon would now be protected.

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  • So presumably the same applies to “true defence”? So he’d support getting rid of guns? And nuclear weapons? Actually, come to think of it, if “true” anything is simply relying on God to supply us with what we need and to take care of everything else on our behalf, he presumably supports getting rid of the military altogether. No?

    No, didn’t think so. These people have such a terribly convenient religion, do they not? The ultimate shape-shifter.

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  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42239895

    UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste

    Nations have agreed that the world needs to completely stop plastic waste from entering the oceans.

    The UN resolution, which is set to be sealed tomorrow, has no timetable and is not legally binding.

    But ministers at an environment summit in Kenya believe it will set the course for much tougher policies and send a clear signal to business.

    . . .and guess where we find the dog in the manger?

    A stronger motion was rejected after the US would not agree to any specific, internationally agreed goals.

    Under the proposal, governments would establish an international taskforce to advise on combating what the UN’s oceans chief has described as a planetary crisis.

    Environmentalists say ministers are starting to take plastic waste more seriously, but need to move much more quickly.

    Li Lin from the green group WWF said:
    “At last we are seeing some action on this issue, but we still don’t have the urgency we need. The problem needs solving right now.”

    One contentious issue is the wish of delegates to include businesses on the global taskforce.

    Ministers say the problem will not be solved without business, but green groups point out that some firms in the plastics industry have been lobbying against restrictions for decades.

    Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s environment minister, a leading voice in the talks, told BBC News: “Business is listening to markets and seeing how marine litter is a growing popular concern.

    “It’s possibly the fastest-growing environmental problem and it’s therefore a fast-growing problem for business.

    “We need to bring on board those companies that want to change things, then look at taxes and regulations to make more companies act sustainably.

    “We also need to mobilise businesses like aquaculture that suffer from marine pollution.”

    Certainly, there has been a flurry of resistance from plastics firms to the bans occurring across Africa.

    One UN delegate, who did not want to be named, told me journalists in some countries were being paid by the plastics industry to write stories about job losses following the plastic bag ban.

    Here in Kenya, a long newspaper report counted job losses from the sudden closure of a plastics plant. But it did not mention the jobs being created in alternatives, such as labour-intensive basketwork, which provides work for the rural poor.

    But some governments are standing firm, and the meeting has witnessed individual nations declaring tougher action against single-use plastic bags on their own territory.

    South Africa and Cameroon are the latest to declare a tax on the thin bags which strew Africa’s fields and cities.

    Nations with a near total ban include Mauretania, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mauritius, Zanzibar and Uganda.

    Bangladesh imposed a ban in 2002 after plastic bags blocked drains and contributed to major floods.

    Sri Lanka and others adopted a ban for similar reasons, although in Mauretania a ban came because cattle were getting sick from eating plastic.

    The UN’s spokesman Sam Barratt told BBC News: “Of course we would have liked to have gone further, but this meeting’s made real progress.

    “There’s now a sense of urgency and energy behind the issue that we haven’t quite seen before.

    “What is obvious, though, is that the UN can’t solve this problem on its own. We need to do it in partnership with governments, businesses and even individuals.”

    Oh! and @link –

    The top 15 countries which produce most mismanaged plastic waste, are developing countries, with strong ideological or religious cultures!

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