Trump’s pick for environment agency chief sued government over climate rules

Nature | News

by Jeff Tollefson

Oklahoma attorney-general Scott Pruitt has sought to reverse federal limits on greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution.

07 December 2016

Rights & Permissions

Image: John Taggart/Bloomberg/Getty

Scott Pruitt has questioned the science underlying climate change.

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Oklahoma attorney-general Scott Pruitt to lead the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Pruitt, who must be confirmed by the US Senate, is an ardent opponent of federal regulations to curb climate change and has questioned the science underlying global warming. He is one of dozens of state officials who have mounted a legal challenge to President Barack Obama’s limits on greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants — regulations that Trump has promised to repeal.

That case is pending review by the US Supreme Court. If the court agrees to hear the case, the outcome could hinge on whom Trump nominates to fill a vacancy on the nine-member panel of judges. Some experts say that the EPA itself could also seek to repeal the regulations after Trump takes office.

In May, Pruitt made his views on climate science clear in a guest editorial in the National Review that he wrote with Alabama attorney-general Luther Strange. “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” the pair wrote. “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.”

Strong reactions

Environmentalists blasted Trump for choosing Pruitt, whom they say has put the interests of the fossil-fuel industry before those of the environment and the people of Oklahoma. As well as challenging Obama’s climate regulations, Pruitt has sued the EPA to halt a series of regulations intended to keep air and water clean. In doing so, he has often worked in concert with the same oil, gas and coal companies that he would regulate as EPA chief.

“It’s hard to imagine a more alarming person to run the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency,” says Jeremy Symons, associate vice-president for climate and political affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund, an activist group in New York City. “It’s an unprecedented gamble with an agency that has protected the air we breathe and the water we drink across Republican and Democratic administrations for more than 40 years.”

But Pruitt will have plenty of support from industry officials — many of whom have long asserted that the EPA has overreached its regulatory authority, particularly on climate change.

Scott Segal, a lawyer at the firm Bracewell in Washington DC, which has represented many industry interests, calls Pruitt “a measured and articulate student of environmental law and policy”. Segal adds that Pruitt understands and respects states’ roles in environmental policy, and that his decisions to challenge federal regulations should not disqualify him for the EPA job.

“There is no conflict in faithfully representing your state on litigation dealing with rules of general applicability and then serving your nation as a federal administrative official,” Segal says.

To win Senate approval for the EPA post, Pruitt would require only a simple majority of 51 senators in a body where Republicans will hold at least 51 seats. (A 52nd seat is up for grabs in a 10 December run-off election in Louisiana.) This means that Republicans should have enough votes to approve Pruitt if they stick together.

Nature
doi:10.1038/nature.2016.21127

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Filed under Climate Change, politics, Uncategorized

Trump Action Toolkit

From the Center for Biological Diversity:

Ready to Fight Trump? Start Here

With President Trump in the White House, people power is more important than ever.

That’s where you come in. When we rise up and speak with one voice, our power multiplies, and with it our ability to enact change.

Trump will be a disaster for our planet, wildlife and the civil rights of people across the country. The Center for Biological Diversity launched the Trump Action Toolkit as a fast and easy way to stand up for what’s right.

Read more here.

Source: Trump Action Toolkit

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We Need the Alternate Realities Living Inside Girls of Color from Brooklyn

Jeff VanderMeer & Chana Porter discuss the Octavia Project

octavia


“This summer our theme at the Octavia Project is “200 Years in the Future” — we chose this theme for a few reasons. First, it pushes our participants to think about what they want their futures and the futures of their communities to look like. We’re asking them a question “What do you want the future to be like?” and then we’re helping them build the skills to create the answer. While most people agree that scientific discoveries can make the world a better place to live in, we created the Octavia Project to help address the imbalance around who gets to benefit from current and future technologies.

While most people agree that scientific discoveries can make the world a better place to live in, we created the Octavia Project to help address the imbalance around who gets to benefit from current and future technologies.

Along with our theme, this summer we’re learning about the evolution of life on Earth. We are looking at how plants and animals have evolved to where they are today, and then we’re imagining what these plants and animals might be like hundreds of years from now. We’re asking how has life on Earth changed and what conditions or events have made it change.”

Continue reading here.

Press release: VanderMeer Creative Sponsors the Octavia Project for 2016-2017

Support this important project here.

 

Image source: https://electricliterature.com/we-need-the-alternate-realities-living-inside-girls-of-color-from-brooklyn-dea308acb10#.2f3fizura

 

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The Vertigo of Power: A Review of Stephen Graham’s “Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers”

Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: The Vertigo of Power: A Review of Stephen Graham’s “Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers”

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From UN Climate Talks, Indigenous Activists Align with Standing Rock Protesters as Tensions Rise and Temperatures Fall

 
Days before police resorted to using water cannons in freezing temperatures against Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) protesters, the international indigenous community was already decrying the treatment of Native Americans and environmental activists c

Source: From UN Climate Talks, Indigenous Activists Align with Standing Rock Protesters as Tensions Rise and Temperatures Fall

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From Exhibit to Classroom: Transitioning Aquariums and Zoos for the Twenty-First Century

by Jeanne Gang at Center for Humans & Nature

People young and old are captivated by Calypso, the Green Sea Turtle who lives at the National Aquarium. Whether swimming in the crystal-blue waters of the Blacktip Reef exhibit, nibbling on romaine lettuce and the occasional squid, or peeking her head out just above the glistening surface, the five-hundred-pound, three-flippered Calypso is a sight to behold. The giant turtle was rescued by the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in 2000, after becoming cold-stunned and stranded in the Long Island Sound. At the time of her rescue, Calypso weighed only six pounds and had a badly infected front flipper that was later amputated. Due to federal regulations governing the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of endangered marine life, the Riverhead Foundation could not return Calypso to her habitat. Instead, she came to live at the National Aquarium, where she has been delighting visitors ever since as one of the Aquarium’s most popular attractions.

Source: From Exhibit to Classroom: Transitioning Aquariums and Zoos for the Twenty-First Century

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Before the Flood-Trailer

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