Erasing Climate Change from EPA Budget Won't Fix the Problem
For the second year in a row, Administrator Scott Pruitt has proposed an Environmental Protection Agency budget that slashes climate research and protection programs.
Pruitt has not yet proposed one pollution regulation to improve air and water quality, yet says he wants to “deliver real results to provide Americans with clean air, land, and water.” Instead, he is abandoning any effort to curb the pollution that drives dangerous climate change.
Last March, Pruitt stated publicly that “no, I would not agree that [human activity] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” This is despite the widely-accepted science that climate change is fueled by carbon pollution from coal, oil, and natural gas.
But during an interview just last week, he changed his tune, instead pinning his own ignorance on the scientific community: "I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing. Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100, in the year 2018?”
The answers to Pruitt’s questions can be found on the EPA’s own website. At least they used to be there, until Pruitt personally supervised the cleansing of climate data from his own agency’s website. There are hundreds of climate change experts working for the EPA—people compiling data, tracking trends, and devoting their careers to understanding humanity's role in global climate change. But Pruitt is doing his utmost to deprive millions of students, inquiring citizens, and other Americans of the most reliable and accessible government data.
What’s more, Pruitt’s budget seeks to permanently cripple EPA’s capacity to understand and respond to the dangers of climate change. "Climate change" is mentioned in the FY19 EPA Budget in Brief only in the 'eliminated programs' section, and is nowhere to be found in the FY 2018-2022 EPA Strategic Plan.
Eliminating programs such the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Grants Program and the Atmospheric Protection Program, as well as $66 billion in “voluntary climate-related partnership programs,” puts climate research on hold and lives on the line. With hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters wreaking havoc across the country, this blatant disregard for the threats posed by climate change is irresponsible and disrespectful to people all over the nation.
But as Congress knows, the American people value EPA and the meaningful work it does and want the agency to be properly funded. Ignoring climate change and jeopardizing the health and wellness of millions of Americans is not part of the EPA’s mission. Congress should reject Scott Pruitt’s budget proposal, which prioritizes profits over people.