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A cry from people at the frontline, from Mother Jones:

"We Will Never Stop": An EPA Employee Blasts the Trump Administration

“What type of nation are we?"
ERIC HOLTHAUSFEB. 22, 2017 11:00 AM

As we embark on month two of Donald Trump's presidency, it's hard to imagine a group of federal employees facing more uncertainty than the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency. Industry ally and new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt can be viewed only as an agent of profound change, and he's already faced intense opposition from Senate Democrats and from the staff he inherits.
A career EPA employee contacted me through a secure chat program and began to express profound concern over the threat now posed to their life's work.

In recent days, both Bloomberg and the Washington Post have reported that the first moves Trump and Pruitt will make in their overhaul of US environmental policy will be to roll back parts of Barack Obama's climate legacy and the "Waters of the US" rule—a thorn in the side of farmers and ranchers. This comes as no surprise—both of these policies were identified at the top of the administration's "America First Energy Plan" agenda the moment the White House website switched over on inauguration day.

After his hostile nomination process, Pruitt made an appeal to civility Tuesday in his first address to EPA staff. "We as an agency and we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment," he said. "We don't have to choose between the two." That message may ring a bit hollow to the agency's staff, however—coming from a person who has dedicated his career to dismantling environmental safeguards. We appear to be entering an era in which environmental protection will officially be seen as an impediment to the will of industry. For EPA staffers who have devoted their lives and careers to preserving the planet, this is a heartbreaking development.

Shortly after the inauguration, a career EPA employee contacted me through a secure chat program and began to express profound concern over the threat now posed to their life's work. What follows is a heartfelt essay that this official—who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution by the administration—wrote shortly after Pruitt's confirmation last week:

I am a proud employee of the EPA. My colleagues and I are passionate about protecting the health of the American people—and the natural environment we share—from harmful pollution, chemicals, and pesticides. Many of us fear that the American people believe politicians when they say our agency is full of "lazy bureaucrats." The reality is we all got into this work because we believe that it is our duty to protect people and the planet we live on for future generations. EPA is a public health agency, and we come to work every day focused on how we can better serve the American people and enable everyone, regardless of income, race, or any other factor, to enjoy equal protection and access to a healthy environment so everyone can prosper and enjoy the opportunities this country has to offer.

We are not against industry or economic prosperity; we want to work toward a society that cherishes people, the planet, and the economy—all at the same time.

"What type of nation are we when we allow our leaders to sign into law a rule that makes it EASIER for mining companies to pollute local waterways?"

When the EPA was established in 1970, by a Republican administration, the idea of a healthy environment was not a partisan issue. But since then, we have moved into an era where politicians and corporations started working to convince the American public that protecting their water, land, and air from harmful pollution was not in the people's best interests and that our economy can't be prosperous if our environment and public health is protected at the same time; this is a lie. What is true is that polluters don't want to be held accountable for their actions. But when will our leaders see that people matter as well? The attitude that powerful polluters should be able to operate unchecked, no matter how many people are hurt, is the same all over the world.

What type of nation are we when we allow our leaders to sign into law a rule that makes it EASIER for mining companies to pollute local waterways? These same politicians will try to convince their voters that making it easier to pollute local streams is somehow good for them. Communities in West Virginia, Indiana, and Alabama with sky-high rates of cancer due to industry pollution shouldn't be presented with the false choice of accepting even more poison in their local environment or having a job. No one should be told that they have to put up with cancer-causing poison in their water, air, and land. It's shameful, and it's wrong.

We at EPA believe that everyone should be able to breathe clean air, drink clean water, have healthy food, AND ALSO have a growing economy. Those that want to weaken EPA will say, "Well, the states can do it themselves." EPA has always worked closely with states and respects jurisdictional power, but rivers and air don't stop at state borders, and every American—no matter where they live—deserves to have a basic standard of protection.

You have to ask yourself: Who benefits when the EPA is weakened? Who benefits when our staff is laid off, cast aside, and when the agency is prevented from pursuing its mission of protecting public health and the environment? Who benefits when the agency can't consistently enforce environmental laws that are meant to protect the public? The beneficiaries are not the people. Environmental protection is not a partisan issue. Science is not partisan. We all share this earth and its resources on which we all depend to survive. The amount of money you have should not determine if you get to live a healthy life, free from pollution. The politicization of this issue is manipulation by those who are already powerful. We, EPA professionals, have dedicated our lives to this work because we care about people more than we care about money or even being recognized for what we do.

"You have to ask yourself: Who benefits when the EPA is weakened?"

2015 was the deadliest year on record for people working to defend and protect the environment. Let that sink in. One hundred and eighty-five human beings were killed around the world (more than three for every week of 2015) because they dedicated their lives to protecting human health from pollution and preserving the beautiful planet we all cherish. The same year, the Environmental Protection Agency welcomed Berta Cáceres, along with the other winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize, to honor them for being global leaders in defense of human rights and environmental protection. Less than one year later, Ms. Caceres would be murdered in her home in Honduras because she was brave enough to challenge mining and dam-building corporations. She defended human rights and the environment, and her life was taken because of it.

Here in the US, those of us who work to protect the environment and human health from corporate pollution are lucky enough that we do not live under the specter of murder. We are, however, acutely aware that the forces behind these heinous crimes against environmental activists abroad are the same forces that are working against us in the US today. And make no mistake: These forces are poised to grow even stronger.

If it is discovered in the next few weeks that the EPA Administrator does in fact have even closer ties to polluting corporate interests than we feared, what will the public do? Will the capture of EPA by corporate interests be swept up in all the other horrifying news of the day or week? Or will the public finally decide that it is not acceptable to allow EPA, the only agency with a mission dedicated to protecting the environment, to be systematically dismantled, allowing those at the top to further concentrate wealth and power among themselves? Despite the long odds we face, we will never stop working to protect every person's right to have a healthy place to live, work, and play. And if the new administrator casts me out of the job I love, I will not stop working toward the principles that have always animated my life. This is who I am, and that will never change. I stand in solidarity with brothers and sisters that work to protect human rights, human health, and the environment here in the US and all over the world. The struggle continues.
Cutting programs that meant to protect public health while doubling protection (bodyguards!) for the new EPA chair Pruitt. You can't make this up..

Quote:When it comes to the Trump administration’s plan to slash federal spending and constrict the federal bureaucracy, few agencies have attracted as much attention as the Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump administration’s proposed “skinny budget” cuts the agency’s budget by 31 percent, by far the largest cut of any federal agency. And recently leaked EPA documents outline plans to cut the agency’s workforce by 25 percent, while eliminating some 56 programs including programs aimed at monitoring and protecting public health and the environment.

One part of the agency, however, could get a boost under the Trump administration’s plan: Administrator Scott Pruitt’s personal security detail. According to a draft of the budget obtained by the Washington Post, the Trump administration has asked for 10 additional full-time security staffers to be added to the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement. Those staffers would have one job — acting as constant bodyguards for Pruitt.
The stunning hypocrisy of Scott Pruitt’s request for around-the-clock bodyguards
Quote:Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced a bill Friday (H.R.861)  to abolish the EPA, but Democratic congressional staff told Business Insider that they don't expect the bill to go anywhere. Gaetz, along with cosponsors Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Steven Palazzo of Mississippi, and Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, is associated with the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. In an interview with the Northwest Florida Daily News, Gaetz said  the EPA's rules and regulations designed to protect the environment actually hurt people and that the agency has "violated the sovereignty of the states."
Democrats aren't worried about a GOP bill to abolish the EPA - Business Insider
Quote:Pruitt’s aides are also drawing up plans to lay off many of the people at the agency who actually believe in environmental protection. In the budget proposal he released earlier this year, Trump called for the E.P.A.’s funding to be cut by almost a third.

According to the Washington Post, Pruitt’s staff has drawn up a detailed plan that would eliminate a quarter of the agency’s workforce and fifty-six of its programs, including ones designed to clean up the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and Puget Sound.
The Real Trump Agenda: Helping Big Business - The New Yorker
Quote:The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has buried a climate change website aimed at kids, the Washington Post reported, citing a public watchdog group. Last month, the EPA removed several pages from its website — including those related to climate change — as part of an update to "reflect the agency's new direction under" President Trump and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. But a snapshot of the agency’s website during the Obama administration is still available online, and the EPA said pages like those relating to climate change are still “under review.”
EPA website buries youth guide to climate change | TheHill
Quote:Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has effectively fired more than half of an advisory board tasked with making sure the science conducted and evaluated at the agency meets rigorous standards.

Greenwire is reporting that the 12 dismissed advisers — academic experts in various fields of environmental science and policy — were nearing the end of a three-year term, and were told Friday their positions would not be renewed for a second term. Which came as big surprise.
The Trump administration just dismissed a dozen of the EPA’s top science advisers - Vox

My bet: in come the cronies from industry..
Even producing something of a Republican backlash, you really have to go far for that..

Quote:If President Donald Trump gets what he has asked for in his budget request, the Environmental Protection Agency will be in the worst shape of its entire 47-year history. Trump’s budget would eliminate more than 50 EPA programs, cut the agency’s scientific research by nearly half, and decimate environmental enforcement and grants to states and tribes. In all, the proposal would eliminate $2.6 billion in EPA spending, which amounts to roughly 31 percent of the agency’s annual expenditures.
These Republicans Are Pretty Upset About Trump’s EPA Budget – Mother Jones
Quote:A new report finds that ARPA-E, the Energy Department program that supports cutting-edge energy technologies, is succeeding at what it was created to do under the George W. Bush administration -- even as the current administration seeks to zero out its funding.  On Tuesday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released the results of a joint study that finds ARPA-E is meeting the goals of the 2007 law that created it, and doesn't need to be reformed or overhauled to keep bringing new energy technologies to market.
Report Finds That ARPA-E Is Working, Even as Trump Seeks to Shut It Down | Greentech Media
Culling scientists, science is no longer welcome..

Quote:The Environmental Protection Agency has given notice to dozens of scientists that they will not be renewed in their roles in advising the agency, continuing a scientific shake-up that has already triggered resignations and charges from some researchers that the administration is politicizing the agency.

Members of the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) whose terms end in August will not see them renewed, according to an email sent to members and obtained by The Washington Post, though they can reapply for their posts. Moreover, five meetings of subcommittees of the board, planned for the late summer and the fall, will now be canceled because of lack of membership. They will be held once the board is reconstituted, according to EPA officials.

It effectively wipes out the BOSC and leaves it free for a complete reappointment,” said Deborah Swackhamer, the current chair of the board’s executive committee and an emeritus professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Minnesota.
EPA just gave notice to dozens of scientific advisory board members that their time is up - The Washington Post
Not hardline enough, go figure..

Quote:Although the White House hasn’t announced its pick yet, Axios recently reported that the “last man standing” for the job is lawyer Jeff Holmstead. Unlike most other Trump EPA appointees, he actually once served there in the George W. Bush administration. But he’s no environmentalist: He’s been hard at work at the lobbying firm Bracewell & Giuliani, where he’s part of a case against Obama-era climate regulations and represents utilities, refineries, coal, oil and gas companies.

When Holmstead was at the EPA from 2001 to 2005, as assistant administrator for air and radiation, he was part of Bush’s proposal to create a cap-and-trade system for mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, an approach that was thrown out in court for being far too lenient. At Bracewell, Holmstead participated in a 2011 debate where he argued, “It is pretty hard to say that [mercury from coal plants] is a significant public health issue,” adding he didn’t “believe that there are thousands of people who are dying because of exposure” to small particulate matter—meaning air pollution

More recently, in 2017, Holmstead testified in favor of House Science Chair Lamar Smith’s bills that would restrict how the EPA uses science to support its policies. For example, the euphemistically labeled “HONEST” bill Holmstead supports would forbid the EPA from using studies that draw on confidential health data and medical records.

Yet these conservative bona fides are still not enough for some far-right climate change deniers, especially since they’ve gotten comfortable calling the shots in Trump’s EPA.
Trump’s Likely EPA Pick Isn’t Conservative Enough for Climate Deniers – Mother Jones

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