Senate Democrats boycotted a final committee meeting on EPA nominee Scott Pruitt today, stalling a vote on the controversial attorney general of Oklahoma. In addition to his deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, as AG, Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times over what he considered federal overreach.
And to be filed under You Can’t Make This Up: The Washington Post quoted Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican, as saying: “I ask my Democratic colleagues: Will they take the blame for an EPA that is not fully informational? God forbid we have an environmental crisis.”
Shortly after President Trump was inaugurated, he imposed an information and media blackout on the EPA. The website could not be changed; official social media accounts were suspended, prompting a spate of Alt EPA and Alt NASA and Alt National Parks Service Twitter accounts.
As for Ernst’s concerns about an environmental crisis, the Trump administration has also called for a gutting of EPA funding and staff, which would leave the agency practically impotent to deal with any such disaster. A Florida congressman went so far as to file a bill disbanding the EPA altogether.
From the WaPo story:
As one after another lawmaker spoke, a GOP aide displayed a chart designed to show how quickly past EPA nominees had been confirmed. Notably missing from it, however, was President Barack Obama’s second EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy. Nominated in March 2013, she was not confirmed until July of that year — and at one point, committee Republicans boycotted a meeting to demand that McCarthy answer more questions.
For more insight into what we can expect for the environment and science under a Trump presidency and in North Carolina, the Roy Cooper administration, UNC Gillings School of Public Health is livestreaming a panel discussion today on that very topic.
“What’s the Future for 2017: How Elections Influence Science and Environmental Policy” begins at 1:15 p.m. Speakers include Kelly Kryc, former senior policy analyst for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; David Goldston, director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council; Jason West, associate professor, UNC Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering; and Jennifer Mundt, senior legislative analyst, North Carolina General Assembly.