How the EPA has turned a once-vibrant green energy industry into a dinosaur
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has become a dinosaur.
Its new chief is a former oil executive and former Koch Industries lobbyist, and its own scientific review board has long sided with industry interests.
Now, the EPA is trying to undo some of that damage by making some of its own scientists more cautious about interpreting its science and making it harder for states and other agencies to do their jobs.
As a result, the agency has taken on a lot of the heavy lifting that it had to do to make sure that states and others get to do what they can to help the EPA achieve its goal of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
This is a new challenge for the EPA, which has been at the center of the climate crisis.
EPA chief Scott Pruitt told The Associated Press last month that the agency will begin taking on more of the environmental issues of its time.
“We’ve got a lot more responsibilities to do,” Pruitt said.
“I’ve just got to be a little more cautious.”
He said the agency would be “taking the time to do that.”
In response to the EPA’s shift in direction, some state governments and energy companies have been trying to figure out ways to use EPA science and other tools to keep up with the agency.
The agency’s Science Advisory Board has issued a series of reports to the White House, Congress and state and local governments.
These reports have not gone unchallenged, however, and the agency’s chief science adviser, Judith Curry, has expressed doubts about the science and the results of its studies.
She recently told the Associated Press that the scientific assessment by the agency is “highly flawed.”
“It is not scientifically sound,” Curry said.
Some states and energy producers have said that the EPA should not be making decisions about climate change at all, arguing that EPA is too cozy with industry.
Pruitt, who is the son of former Oklahoma Attorney General James Boasberg, has said he’s been “on the wrong side of science” since he was a young man.
But he has also been one of the most vocal supporters of the oil and gas industry.
The EPA was created in the 1990s to protect people from the dangers of toxic pollution and to curb the damage that fossil fuels cause to the environment.
Its scientific advisory board includes former oil executives and industry officials, as well as scientists who specialize in a wide variety of issues.
Pruitt has also pushed the agency to weaken environmental regulations that would help the industry, such as the Clean Power Plan and a proposal to phase out carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.
The proposal to end the use of coal in electricity generation has been met with skepticism by the energy industry.
In recent weeks, Pruitt has made it clear that he does not believe in climate change.
He told reporters last month at the National Press Club that the Paris climate agreement was a “terrible deal for the planet.”
In an interview with the AP, Pruitt said the administration has decided to “cut the fat” by eliminating many of the regulations it has adopted in the past.
In one of his first moves as EPA chief, Pruitt ordered the agency not to conduct a review of the greenhouse gas limits that Congress set in the landmark Kyoto Protocol.
The review is supposed to evaluate whether the EPA can use its science to predict how much global warming might occur if emissions from human activities are allowed to continue unabated.
Pruitt also ordered the EPA to review a proposal that would have given states more power to regulate pollution from sources such as fracking.
The idea was to encourage more of these drilling operations in states where they have been allowed to be allowed.
The move has been criticized by many scientists who say the EPA did not properly consider the impact of these new sources of pollution.
The Obama administration approved permits for the drilling for several months in some states, but in a statement on the issue on Friday, Pruitt acknowledged that the rules have not been fully implemented.
“This is the first of many steps that the Administration will take to help ensure that America’s air and water are clean, and that our energy is abundant and secure,” Pruitt wrote.
Pruitt said he wants to continue to support efforts to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and other sources.
“As we move forward in this effort, we need to ensure that we keep working with the industry to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius,” Pruitt added.
“And we need more flexibility and better oversight of our permitting, permitting processes, permitting standards, permitting requirements, permitting procedures, permitting rules, and other processes to ensure we are not doing anything that puts the health of our citizens at risk.”
The EPA has said that while it is not in a position to say whether the review of climate change will lead to the end of the Clean Energy and Security Act, the review will help inform the agency when it does decide to take action.
The office of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt listens to a question during a news conference on the global climate change issue in Washington, Thursday