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'War on the EPA' details Trump's efforts to dismantle an agency

Just as Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt announces the repeal of President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the PBS documentary series Frontline will premiere a film tonight titled “War on the EPA.” The folks at Frontline were kind enough let me preview the film.

If you watch “War on the EPA,” you won’t be surprised to hear that it portrays President Donald Trump and his new administration as climate change deniers, friendly to the fossil fuel industry, and hostile to almost every major action the Environmental Protection Agency took during the Obama years. Trump has already announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the multilateral Paris Climate accord to combat global warming.

The film tracks the rise of Scott Pruitt from attorney general of Oklahoma (where he used his office to sue EPA 14 times and to combat regulation of the fossil fuel industry and received enormous support from the Koch brothers), to his appointment as EPA’s chief honcho, apparently tasked with undoing Obama-ism as it pertains to environmental issues and especially those affecting fossil fuel matters.

I guess I pretty much knew all that, but was nonetheless taken aback by an on-camera account given by Myron Ebell, whom Trump asked to lead the transition from the Obama to the Trump administrations.

Ebell is head of global warming and other international environmental policy matters for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian advocacy group. According to his Wikipedia page, he is also “chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a loose coalition formed in 1997 which presents itself as ‘focused on dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis.’ " He is not a scientist but is a climate change denier.

All of that by way of saying that after Trump won the election, his transition team asked Ebell to take charge of the Obama-to-Trump transition at EPA, which led to the appointment of Pruitt. In the film, Ebell gives this account of the phone call offering him that position:

They said well, Mr. Trump believes that the federal government cannot go on the way it is. And I said "Well I agree with that."

Mr. Trump believes it requires fundamental transformation.

And I said "I agree with that."

And he thinks that the EPA is one of the obstacles to getting the economy going again in heartland America.

Well, I certainly agree with that.

Mr. Trump has even said that he wants to abolish the EPA.

And I said "I agree with that."

And they said: "That’s why we’re asking you to head the transition team for the EPA.”

Ebell took the assignment. The rest is history, except for the parts that haven’t happened yet.

“War on the EPA” premieres locally tonight at 9 p.m. on TPT 2, with a second showing at 3 a.m. Thursday.

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Comments (13)

Lumps of coal

in Trump's Xmas stocking.

The Trump IQ

Trump may have a high IQ, we'll never know. The thing he is lacking is common sense. High IQ can be good if the person knows how to use it, Trump doesn't. Common sense is needed for rational day to day life. That is why we get what we get with Trump. His guidance system is missing in action.

IQ

"He Who Must Not Be Named did great things – terrible, yes, but great.”

Kind of rings a bell dosen't it, "Dark Times"

For those not familiar: He who should not be named is Voldemort the Evil Wizard" that analogy seems very relative to the situation,

Violation of oath of office

As long as it is still a federal agency which is charged with the enforcement of laws, which includes the thousands of pages of regulations it has passed to protect water, and land from pollution or contamination, the EPA, its chief, Scott Pruitt, and their boss, President Donald Trump, have a solemn obligation to enforce them. They took an oath of office to do so. While it won't make any practical difference in the sense that Trump's violation of his oath is just another impeachable offense for which he will not be impeached, it's still important to keep track and make note when it happens.

“The film tracks the rise of

“The film tracks the rise of Scott Pruitt from attorney general of Oklahoma (where he used his office to sue EPA 14 times and to combat regulation of the fossil fuel industry and received enormous support from the Koch brothers)” So suing EPA 14 times is bad but not bad enough so let’s mention evil Koch brothers for larger effect…What if those EPA rules were bad? On the other hand, what about those attorney generals who are suing government now to stop immigration regulations… including an illegal DACA – are they good? So maybe it’s not about suing government but about what policies you like?

“He (Ebbel) is not a scientist but is a climate change denier.” 99% of those defending global warming theory are not scientists either – so again, it is about what side you are on…

And finally, when I hear that with so many hurricanes this year the global warming theory is undeniable, I can just laugh since no one wants to remember many years without hurricanes…

Read about Oklahoma in the ‘30s

Next time the dust bowl appears there because of heat and drought, we will just tell Pruitt and the people of OK to take care of the problem by themselves. Surely could not be global warming.

Thank you for a good point –

Thank you for a good point – to the best of my knowledge there wasn’t much of manmade pollution in the 30’s… and yet the Dust Bowl did happen. So logically, if it happens again, it will not be a result of the climate change…

Eric I'll try again!

"What if those EPA rules were bad?" What if they were great? Suing on immigration: From this perspective they are good, Analogy, is similar to protecting the non-desirableness in WWII. "Policies we like" Yes, we like humanity and compassion for our fellow man/woman.
"99% of those defending global warming theory are not scientists either" You don't need to be a scientist to understand science.
"it is about what side you are on" True, you can be on the side of less pollution is better, or more pollution is better, understanding/ logic and the scientific method or, on the side of what ever makes you feel good, and serves more profits to the corporations at the expense of the populous.
"So many hurricanes this year the global warming theory is undeniable" Well the undeniable part is 100% accurate but the "so many" part is 100% inaccurate. the key point about the season was "Intensity" not qty. "I can just laugh" Sorry those in the path of those hurricanes are still in a bad state, not much for laughing!

What if they were great?”

What if they were great?” Maybe they were so let’s discuss the rules not just accuse people of repealing them…

“Suing on immigration: From this perspective they are good, Analogy, is similar to protecting the non-desirableness in WWII” I don’t know what you meant by reference to WWII but why don’t we discuss the actual Trump’s immigration policy rather than claim that it is just bad…

“"Policies we like" Yes, we like humanity and compassion for our fellow man/woman.” We do, too, and that includes Americans losing their jobs to illegal immigrants and losing their lives to terrorists.

“You don't need to be a scientist to understand science.” Will you please explain the quark or wave-particle duality theory to me, in depth?

“you can be on the side of less pollution is better, or more pollution is better,” There are no people on the “more pollution is better “ side even though you think conservatives are. The sides are about HOW to reduce pollution… Ban plastic bags or allow them so people, like me, can reuse them as garbage bags…

“the key point about the season was "Intensity" not qty.” Right… so why didn’t global warming make hurricanes of the last 10 years more intense?

What the "Frontline" program

What the "Frontline" program illustrated is how a fierce anti-science lobbying group for carbon-based fuels has corrupted an entire sector of state and federal government: Republican state Attorneys General and now the Oklahoman former AG who has eviscerated the EPA in staff, scientific advisory panels, and all public access to science on our climate's huge changes fro human activity (You can't
GET EPA scientists' research results any more. Did you know that, Ilya? You approve of such censorship?).

Resulting in the corrupt and totally unethical head of the Environmental Protection Agency taking methodical steps to destroy environmental protection of our air (first and most of all), our water, and the earth as soil itself.

This activity is under the radar for the public, mostly because the press is obsessed with Trump Tweets.

“What the "Frontline" program

“What the "Frontline" program illustrated is how a fierce anti-science lobbying group for carbon-based fuels has corrupted an entire sector of state and federal government.” This is the way you look at this but the opposite point of view is that these people are dismantling useless job killing regulations that do not do anything even for proclaimed goal of fighting climate change, which is questionable on its own.

“You can't GET EPA scientists' research results any more. Did you know that, Ilya? You approve of such censorship?” I doubt this: To the best of my knowledge, they were just removed from the EPA website… Can you provide a reference?

Also, can you explain to me why we have not had a major hurricane hitting South for the last 12 years?

"Bad regulations"

"Bad regulations" by definition can only mean those that either are arbitrary and capricious, lack substantial evidence to support them or or exceed the authority of the agency which promulgated them, contrary to law (illegal) or are unconstitutional. "Exceeding the authority of the agency" means acting contrary to the express law and which authorized the regulations. Regulations are not issued by some rogue bureaucrat acting in his or her own sultanate without authority by the law.

"Dismantling useless job killing regulations that do not do anything even for the proclaims goal of fighting climate change" would be an arbitrary and capricious regulation or rule under that definition. If that were really the case with these rules, the way they could only be undone is by going through the same rulemaking process by which they were made. Pruitt and Trump are circumventing the law by simply repealing rules by fiat without complying with administratitve law and procedure. That's the definition of "arbitrary and capricious rulemaking."

How do you know that they did

How do you know that they did it illegally without going through the proper channels or that the law did not give them authority to do it?