Science under siege: behind the scenes at Trump’s troubled environment agency

By Jeff Tollefson

The day Donald Trump took office as US president, the mood was sombre at the main research campus of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Durham, North Carolina. As scientists arrived for work, they saw pictures of former president Barack Obama and the previous EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, coming down off the walls. Researchers had reason to be anxious: Trump had threatened many times during his campaign to shutter the EPA, and he had already taken steps along that path. Weeks before he moved into the White House, Trump had nominated Scott Pruitt to head the agency — a man who had spent his career filing lawsuits to block a variety of EPA regulations.

When Trump put his hand on the Bible to take the oath of office on 20 January 2017, many EPA scientists kept their heads down. They wondered who might be fired first, and they warned each other to censor their e-mails, for fear that the new administration would monitor communications for any comments criticizing it.

Dan Costa wasn’t so worried. After nearly 32 years working at the EPA, he had seen the agency weather many political storms, and he had not lost sleep over the prospect of working for Pruitt and Trump. When inauguration day came, Costa streamed Trump’s speech on his computer and went straight back to work.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. in ontario canada
    the new ford/tory administration is trying to gut
    the ministry of the environment and climate change
    first by dropping climate change from its title
    ford just announced the end to cap and trade
    with no form of carbon tax replacing it
    and 758 green energy programme cancellations
    fossil fueled fascism trickles down from the u s a

  2. quarecuss #2
    Jul 14, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    in ontario canada
    the new ford/tory administration is trying to gut
    the ministry of the environment and climate change
    first by dropping climate change from its title

    While back in the US of A, apart from cosmetic propaganda value, Trump might as well drop the name “environmental protection” from its title!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44892275

    The Trump administration has proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a law credited with keeping hundreds of species from going extinct.

    The change would eliminate automatic protections for threatened plant and animal species, and make it easier for species to be removed from the list.

    Wildlife conservation groups say the proposed change could have disastrous lasting effects on at-risk species.

    The proposed change is the latest in a series of White House efforts to remove environmental regulations designed to protect vulnerable species and their habitats, as well as leave untouched some of America’s most wild places.

  3. @#6 – The Trump administration has proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a law credited with keeping hundreds of species from going extinct.

    Trump is championing the development of “valuable core industries” – such as golf courses! 🙂 – where profits are in need of protection from those damned scientists and their environmental reports! 🙂

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/trump-rival-s-plan-for-golf-course-on-rare-scottish-dunes-at-risk-1-4747421

    Plans to build a championship golf course on rare sand dunes in the north-east of Scotland are looking uncertain after Highland councillors were advised to refuse permission to develop the site because of the risks to wildlife.
    The proposals are spearheaded by US billionaires Mike Keiser – described as US president Donald Trump’s biggest rival in the golf business – and business partner Todd Warnock.

    The plans would see part of the 18-hole course built on a Site of Special Scientific Interest at Coul Links, near Embo in Sutherland.

    The site hosts a dune ecosystem of international significance and is protected by multiple conservation designations.
    The official report by planning officers recommends the scheme is turned down due to the “significant and permanent loss of sand dune habitat” it would cause. It also states “residual losses are extensive and likely to be permanent”.
    The developers have said the Coul Links course would be amongst the best in the world, providing economic opportunity and [adding their big pseudo-science lie of providing] ecological integrity.

    Aedán Smith, head of planning and development at RSPB Scotland, said: “Coul Links is a truly fantastic place for wildlife. The permanent destruction of these rare and irreplaceable dune habitats is unthinkable.

    ” Stuart Brooks, head of natural heritage policy for the National Trust for Scotland, added: “There are many places in Scotland that you could build a golf course without harming the environment but one of the last intact sand dune systems is definitely not one of them.

  4. Meanwhile:- one of the Trumpies junk info sources, is being removed from various platforms!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-45083684

    Facebook, iTunes and Spotify drop InfoWars

    “Due to repeated violations of Spotify’s prohibited content policies, The Alex Jones Show has lost access to the Spotify platform.”

    Mr Jones has been widely criticised for repeating conspiracy theories that the 9/11 attacks in New York were staged by the US government.

    He has also claimed that many of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre were actors. The parents of two children shot in that attack are suing him for defamation, saying he had made “false, cruel, and dangerous assertions”.

  5. Alan4discussion #8
    Aug 6, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Meanwhile:- one of the Trumpies junk info sources,
    is being removed from various platforms!

    Facebook, iTunes and Spotify drop InfoWars

    I see that Twitter, has now caught up with the standards previously applied by other internet platforms, and banned this reckless lying rogue conspiracy theorist!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45442417

    Twitter says it has permanently suspended the accounts of Alex Jones and his Infowars website.

    It made the move after a number of tweets that violated Twitter’s abusive behaviour policy, the company said.

    A number of tech giants, including YouTube and Facebook, deleted the right-wing conspiracy theorist’s content last month, citing hate speech.

    The radio host is best known for spreading unsubstantiated allegations about tragic events, including 9/11.

    He is currently being sued for defamation by the parents of two children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which he has repeatedly claimed was a “giant hoax”. Twenty children under the age of seven and six adults died in the attack.

    Twitter said the ban was a result of “new reports of tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behaviour policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations”.

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