Sunday, December 20, 2020

EPA Administrator Wheeler Touts President Trump’s Pro-Environment Record

How did our environment fare under the Trump administration these last four years?

Was the impact “disastrous” as critics prophesied? Did President Donald Trump’s policies accelerate global warming? Were his policies a “joke” or bad for the environment as the media and environmental groups claimed? Did Trump’s administration actively undermine our clean air and clear water standards?

According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, these characterizations are simply hot air.

Administrator Wheeler recently chatted with me about the agency’s accomplishments across its 50-year history, what the media got wrong about Trump’s environmental record, and more.

The agency’s 15th administrator continued former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s “Back-to-Basics” agenda—constantly drawing the ire of critics hellbent on discrediting their efforts.

Previously deputy EPA administrator, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February 2019 to fill the role vacated by his boss Pruitt (who resigned in July 2018).

“So many environmental reporters, so-called environmental reporters, are actually activists. They’re not practicing journalistic standards,” Wheeler lamented. “They have a habit of only reporting bad news. They don’t want to report any good news.”

With respect to the deregulation doctrine ascribed to President Trump, Wheeler claimed legacy media distorted EPA’s alignment with Executive Order 13771 to reduce regulation and control regulatory costs.

“We have deregulated,” Wheeler admitted. “We saved [the] American taxpayer 100 billion dollars. But in many cases when we deregulate, we replace the regulations with a new regulation that updates the science— updates the standards.”

He expressed his frustration with past agency heads who piled regulation on top of regulation or “guidance document on top of guidance document.”

“What we’re doing is doing away with two or three old regulations and replacing it with one. It’s sort of cleaning house,” he added.

Did his efforts to rein in the agency lead to rampant environmental destruction across the U.S.? The evidence clearly suggests otherwise.

The EPA recently published findings showing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are currently at historical lows, despite our exit from the unenforceable—and equally disastrous—Paris Climate Accords. Per a recent EPA report, emissions were down five percent between 2018-2019. This year alone, emissions are down an impressive nine percent compared to last year.

As for Superfund cleanups of toxic sites, Wheeler proudly touted his work on this front. “We’ve cleaned up enormous numbers of [Superfund] sites across the country, and it’s really an achievement,” Wheeler said.

And one unlikely source, POLITICO, agreed with the sentiment and aptly concluded, “The EPA under Trump has showed what it can look like when an administration gets serious about cleaning up long-neglected sites... Some have seen their backyards and communities finally cleaned up because of the Trump administration’s EPA.”

The media, he added, also downplayed America’s foray into energy independence, ushered in pre-coronavirus by natural gas exploration and hydraulic fracking.

Wheeler explained, “We produce our natural gas here in the most environmentally-conscious manner of anywhere in the world. Our natural gas is producing the cleanest. I’m using the best regulations and the cleanest standards of anywhere.”

Past EPA policies, Administrator Wheeler argued, had “a perverse outcome in communities.”

As a result, the avid hiker said his goal was to prioritize transparency in the rulemaking process. Most recently, the EPA announced a new cost-benefit analysis report relating to the Clean Air Act—a template, he hopes, future agency heads will emulate in the years ahead.

“All our cost-benefit rule does is require the agency to put in the preamble of future rulemakings what are the costs and what are the benefits—to follow a standardized method of identifying these costs and these benefits,” he added.


Since EPA’s inception 50 years ago, our nation has emerged as a global environmental leader.

Has the agency always had our best interests in mind? Not always. (See the Obama administration’s EPA and revisit its innumerable scandals.) But under President Trump, it promoted the notion that a healthy environment can happily coexist with a healthy business climate.

Will history judge this EPA kinder than critics currently allow? It remains to be seen.

Donald Trump gets his way on making showers more powerful with relaxed environmental regulations to allow dual high-pressure showerheads

The government took a step to rectify one of President Donald Trump's pet peeves just days before he leaves office by finalizing a showerhead rule after the president complained about water merely 'dripping out.

The U.S. Energy Department on Tuesday finalized two rules easing energy standards on consumer fixtures and appliances – about a year after the president went on an extended rant about plumbing fixtures during a public event at the White House.

The rule rolled back a regulation dating to the Bush administration to allow showerheads with multiple showerhead fixtures to provide more robust water-flow. But the regulation – to take effect just five days before inauguration – will do nothing to meet Trump's complaints about sinks where 'you don't get any water' and toilets that people are flushing 'ten times, fifteen times' due to environmental regulations.

The government acted after Trump complained some showers don't adequately rinse his hair.

The rules are part of Trump's last-minute efforts to roll back rules that limit production or consumption of oil, gas and coal as part of his "energy dominance" policy.

The department also finalized a rule to exempt some clothes washers and dryers from standards allowing them to use more energy and water.

Trump had complained in July at a White House event that water does not flow strongly enough from showers to his liking. "So what do you do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair - I don´t know about you - but it has to be perfect," he said at the event.

But it wasn't his only concern. He complained about sinks and toilets as well.

'You turn the faucet on in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it. And you don’t get any water,' said Trump – who was a real estate developer before he took office.

'You turn on the faucet and you don’t get any water. You take a shower and the water comes dripping out. Just dripping out very quietly dripping out. People are flushing toilets ten times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water.'

'You can’t wash your hands practically so little water comes out of the faucet. It takes you much longer to wash your hands,' he claimed.

Trump said the Environmental Protection Agency 'is looking at that very strongly at my suggestion,' although it was the Energy Department that issued the rule.

But environmentalists said easing standards will boost utility bills and waste. The rules "allow for products that needlessly waste energy and water are ridiculous and out of step with the climate crisis," said Andrew deLaski, head of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project nonprofit group.

LinkedIn Shuts Out Climate Skeptic Views

Gregory Wrightstone

If you think that the Microsoft-owned social media platform LinkedIn is just about professional and business connections with no politics, you would be wrong. The online service appears now to be emulating its bigger social media rivals at Facebook, Google and Twitter in censoring views with which it disagrees.

My second run-in with LinkedIn censors in as many months occurred recently, when they removed a post linking to a new CO2 Coalition paper on global temperatures. According to LinkedIn, the post was removed because it “goes against our Professional Community Policies.”

Although LinkedIn did not identify the broken rules, the only possible “violation” of their terms and conditions was an admonition to “not share false or misleading content.”

The censored paper, The Global Mean Temperature Anomaly Record, may interest only climate geeks like myself, but it was completely factual, fully sourced, and written by two of the top climate scientists in the world, Richard Lindzen and John Christy.

These are no lightweight scientists. Dr. Lindzen of MIT is an award recipient of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. He is also a member of the National Academy of Science and was a lead author of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) third assessment report’s scientific volume.

Professor Christy is the director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and has been Alabama’s State Climatologist since 2000. Along with Dr. Roy Spencer, he has maintained one of the key global temperature data sets relied on by scientists and government bodies. For this achievement, they were awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement.

The main thrust of the paper was to put the modest 1.2-degree rise in temperature since 1900 in its proper perspective. When compared to the wide swings in temperature experienced on a daily and yearly basis, that slight rise in global temperature over the last 120 years does not appear as alarming as portrayed by the purveyors of climate doom. Like so many other scholarly works that don’t support the notion of catastrophic man-made warming, the paper risked being censored by the intellectual elite — or those who identify as such. And it was.

The CO2 Coalition was the publisher of the now censored Lindzen/Christy paper and is no stranger to social media censorship squads. The coalition’s leadership and members are a who’s who of leading scientists studying carbon dioxide and climate change. They include atmospheric physicists, climatologists, ecologists, statisticians, and energy experts, some of whom have faced down attempts by well-known climate avengers to silence them.

First, a letter—signed by Stacey Abrams, Tom Steyer, and 13 leaders of groups working to ban fossil fuels—was sent to Facebook demanding that it shut down the Facebook page of the CO2 Coalition and to censor posts of its members’ studies and articles on other users' pages.

Soon thereafter, four senators, including Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren and Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse, sent an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to censor the CO2 Coalition because “climate change is an existential crisis” and publicizing any view contrary to that claim “puts action on climate change at risk.”

The attempts at censorship extended to the Coalition chairman, Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace. His PragerU video, What They Haven't Told You About Climate Change, which has more than 3.6 million views, was “fact-checked” by Climate Feedback as “misleading.” Moore’s supposedly misleading statement was: “Of course the climate is changing. It always has. It always will.”

The censorship at LinkedIn is not widely known. However, it has been extended to others daring to post factual data on climate change and on COVID-19. The latter was the subject involved in the de-platforming of blogger David Ramsden-Wood who posted a link to a Stanford University antibody study.

The social media giants are currently protected by a key legal shield known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Future Congressional hearings on this protection should include testimony from LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky alongside his compadres Mark Zuckerberg of FaceBook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Sundar Pichai of Google.

Australia: Greenies do something positive

Ecological “arks” will be created in the Great Barrier Reef under a new Federal Government funded program that for the first time links island health as critical to saving the coral.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley will today announce $5.5 million for a new island restoration program, starting with Morris Island off Cape York.

She said Lady Elliot Island on the reef’s southern border was the first regeneration project ever attempted at scale and its success could be replicated elsewhere.

“There are 1050 islands along the reef ranging from the pristine to former mine sites, disused tourism destinations and those that have been damaged by introduced pest species,” she said.

“As part of the Reef Islands initiative, Dr Kathy Townsend of Sunshine Coast University is leading new ‘leaf to reef’ research that follows the nutrient trail between islands and its importance to corals and marine life, as well as researching the importance of Lady Elliot’s reefs as a biodiversity ark in the region.”

Reef manager for the marine park authority Mark Read said overseas views particularly under-appreciated the complexity of the issue.

“For context the world heritage area is 348,000 square kilometres; it’s bigger than Italy, bigger than Japan and can sit Victoria and Tasmania within its boundaries. It stretches over 2000km and at its widest point is 250km, it’s 1050 islands, 3000 reefs – so trying to categorise that whole system within a single category, ultimately it fails and doesn’t do the system justice,” he said.

Lady Elliot Island is a genesis of what the Federal Government yesterday branded an “ecological ark” carrying the essential ingredients to rehabilitate the in-crisis reef, critically affected by natural and man-made climate change.

Gash and a dedicated team of scientists, backed by a string of Federal Government funded initiatives, are in part driven by a sketch discovered in archives drawn from a sailor aboard HMS Fly in 1843 of what the island sanctuary looked like then and could again.

“So many people say ‘oh but it’s hopeless, there is nothing we can do and it’s all going to die’ and I hate hearing that, it’s never hopeless,” Island custodian Gash said as he looks out over the turquoise waters on the southern point of the reef, 80km from the Queensland mainland.

In 1973 Lady Elliot Island was a dead 42-hectare coral atoll that after almost a century of mining for guano fertiliser was left barren, with no bird or sea life.

Now it boasts more than 1200 species of marine life including turtles and manta rays, whole forests of native Pisonia trees and grasses and the second highest diversity of breeding birds of any feature in the Great Barrier Reef after Raine Island on the reef’s northernmost tip.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley visited Lady Elliot this week to see first-hand the spectacular restoration result which she now hoped will be replicated elsewhere along the reef island chain starting with Morris Island, under a new $5.5 million investment.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden said without a doubt there were “dark days” ahead for the climate but Lady Elliot was a shining light in what could be achieved within our life times.

“The idea is these arks, these climate refuges, will carry the reef forward,” she said. “The habitat will be able to be the ones to go, before the dark days, then when the world gets its act together and the balance restores these are the places that will reopen the doors and repopulate.”

World renowned marine biologist Dr Kathy Townsend said the correlation between land life and reef marine life was now only being understood.

“The connection between coral cays and the island has been undervalued,” she said.

“The current dogma is where these coral cays are getting their nutrients but new research is showing these coral cays are creating nutrients for the reef in a balanced way. It’s not a dump but a pumping action … it’s like growing an island. Without healthy islands you wouldn’t have the same level of growth and biodiversity you see around the reef.”

She said there had been a 125 per cent increase in turtle habitat and they again were the primary herbivore about Lady Elliot which was keeping coral killing grasses down.




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