Monday, June 19, 2017

Pruitt’s EPA trying to adapt to a fantasy world

The problem of trying to make science political is that a tortuous joining of facts and fantasy only works politically, until it’s exposed as boloney. Then it often creates terrible collateral damage. Social Darwinism and Lysenkoism are two examples where politically motivated pseudoscience crusades ended up in the trash bin of history. Rightly so because both were nonsense on stilts, quite immoral, and wreaked bloody havoc.

Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has been working furiously to get the EPA “Back To Basics”, which is to say turning our environmental protection agency upside down so that it views environmental problems through the lens of businesses’ priorities. This stance is ridiculous because most businesses want good stable environmental regulations from which to operate, not cherry-picked, politically-derived rules that simply remove obstacles to pollute. To accomplish his fantasy objectives, Pruitt seems hell-bent on gutting the EPA by asking Congress for a 31% budget cut.

But Congress said, NO!

Congress to Pruitt: We’re Not Cutting EPA Budget to Trump’s Levels House Republicans say they’ll protect programs that affect their districts. That’s a lot of the EPA’s work. Members of the congressional committee responsible for the Environmental Protection Agency's budget—Republican and Democrat alike—made clear Thursday they have no intention of approving the White House's proposal to slash the agency's spending. In a hearing, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt defended the Trump administration's budget plan for the first time on Capitol Hill, insisting that the agency he leads could fulfill its mission under a plan that cuts its budget more than any other federal agency's. (June 15, 2017) Inside Climate News)

However, trying to stop Pruitt from taking away our environmental protections with the power of the purse is not exactly a resolution of the problem. Congress can force Pruitt to take money for EPA, but they cannot make him do his job. Those looking for a silver lining with Pruitt in charge of the EPA should be considering the situation of an impotent EPA from a larger perspective. An environmental agency trying harder to fit their agenda to our life support system does not a sustainable existence make.

The same Congress who could sit on their hands while the Trump administration pulled us out of the Paris Accord is the same body that dare not let go of the environmental protections their constituents have come to expect. While this might seem like a nice compromise politically, it doesn’t solve the problem of stopping our environmental crisis any more than the Compromise of 1850 stopped slavery or war. Rather, trying to quell the storm between contending factions by trying to accommodate the irreconcilable truths of reality (science) with shoddy political scaffolding makes the eventual collapse of our political and environmental problems more inevitable.

Time passes. 

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