Monday, January 16, 2017

Pruitt vs. the EPA - William L. Anderson

by William L. Anderson

Indeed, scientists are in disagreement about “the degree and extent of global warming” and while the NYT and its allies condemn anyone who veers from “climate-change orthodoxy,” this issue does need to be debated

Follow the mainstream media (especially the New York Times), and one concludes that all of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks are straight out of Central Casting of villainy for the MSM narratives of Republicans. Jeff Sessions, for example, supposedly is a racist segregationist who would love to join the Ku Klux Klan -- but holds back because some Klansmen smoke pot. And Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and Trump’s nominee for EPA administrator, wants us to die horrible deaths on a polluted, overheated planet.

An NYT headline last December 7 read, “Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Climate Change Denialist, to Lead E.P.A.” In modern political speak, a “climate change denialist” is like a Holocaust denier. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, along with 17 Democratic state attorneys general, demands criminal prosecution of oil executives and scientists that do not acknowledge the view of climate change as outlined in the Democratic Party platform. According to the Times,
Mr. Pruitt, a Republican, has been a key architect of the legal battle against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies, actions that fit with the president-elect’s comments during the campaign. Mr. Trump has criticized the established science of human-caused global warming as a hoax, vowed to “cancel” the Paris accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate change, and attacked Mr. Obama’s signature global warming policy, the Clean Power Plan, as a “war on coal.”
Mr. Pruitt has been in lock step with those views.
“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” he wrote in National Review earlier this year. “That debate should be encouraged -- in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.”
Indeed, scientists are in disagreement about “the degree and extent of global warming” and while the NYT and its allies condemn anyone who veers from “climate-change orthodoxy,” this issue does need to be debated, and someone with political courage needs to be able to stand up against the political and media bullying of the Left. Pruitt’s article in National Review raises important legal, scientific, and, yes, moral questions about EPA policies under President Obama, but to question the climate orthodoxy pushed by the Left today invites massive pushback, and there will be a firestorm of opposition to the Pruitt nomination.
Environmentalists and their political and media allies will claim that if Pruitt is appointed and reverses some of Obama’s policies (and there is no way he can overturn everything that the EPA did in the past eight years), then Earth itself will suffer an irreversible environmental decline. For example, when Republicans called for very minor changes in environmental policies in 1995, NYT columnist Anthony Lewis screeched that Republicans “want feces to wash up on our beaches.”

People who employ an “all-or-nothing” approach to environmental regulation are not interested in scientific debates; they want control of others. In his NR article, Pruitt showed that he understands not only the threat that the Obama EPA has created to the economy by pushing a costly and ineffective “alternative energy” regime, but also the real threat to free speech and scientific inquiry that the current regime of environmental correctness has unleashed.

At present, the EPA has become a grim reaper of environmental zealotry, and if the regulators there have their way, Americans will pay much more for electricity and be forced to sit in cold homes in winter and sweltering homes in summer because they won’t be able to afford to heat or cool their dwellings. Businesses will close and it will be increasingly difficult for people to climb out of poverty.

That is the reality of EPA zealotry: making life much more difficult now in order to make negligible changes in the climate (if their actions change anything at all). One hopes that someone like Scott Pruitt can reestablish some sanity in environmental regulation.

William L. Anderson is a professor of economics at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. He also signed a recent open letter calling for the U.S. Senate to confirm Scott Pruitt as the head of the EPA.

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