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Pruitt is truly terrifying as Trump’s tap for EPA tzar

Hey Mississippi River Restoration Coalition, cat got your tongue?

Hey Mississippi River Delta Restoration Coalition, cat got your tongue?

by Len Bahr, Ph.D.

On December 7 published a column by Ben Dreyfuss, in which Donald Trump’s tap of climate change denier-in-chief Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator was described as an existential threat to the planet. The same day published a piece by Brad Plumer on the same subject. On December 8 published an article by former EPA staffer Jay Michaelson that includes a point by point set of basic environmental protection rules that will likely be overturned if Pruitt is confirmed by the Republican majority Senate. On the same day published a piece on Pruitt by Robinson Meyer, which is slightly less pessimistic because of some built in inertia in the agency that makes overturning rules somewhat cumbersome.

Trump’s EPA choice is even more disastrous when considered in the context of the possible pick of Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Sec’y of State. Consider that a few years back Tillerson was a prospective partner with Vladimir Putin in a $500 billion Arctic oil production scheme. This deal was nixed after the Russians invaded Crimea and began threatening the Ukraine, during the time when a Russian partnership was considered more a threat than an opportunity by rational folks.

Tillerson’s connections with Louisiana are worrisome, especially with Exxon’s flagship refinery and chemical plant being such a dominant econo-political player in Baton Rouge.

On December 8 The Advocate published a discussion by Elizabeth Crisp and Tyler Bridges on Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Baton Rouge on December 9 (tomorrow) to promote Trump advocate and Senate hopeful John Kennedy in his runoff with Foster Campbell. This is a race in which underdog Campbell alone discusses climate change and other coastal issues. In the Advocate piece and in other election coverage the local print and broadcast media have been virtually silent on: (a) the vulnerability of Louisiana to climate change;* (b) the razor-thin GOP majority in the Senate; and (c) how Campbell’s Senate votes could help keep hope alive on climate change action.

Sadly but predictably the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Coalition has been absolutely silent on: (a) Saturday’s election with its critical climate change implications; (b) Trump’s outrageous appointment of Scott Pruitt for EPA chief; and (c) his even more outrageous possible choice of Exxon potentate Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. I assume that concern about jeopardizing their ongoing grant support from the Walton Family Foundation is the cat that got these NGOs their collective tongue. So much for the coast.

Vote for the coast!

Vote for the coast!

At any rate, on Saturday December 10 please vote Foster Campbell for Senate, whose campaign paid absolutely nothing for this plug. America’s Delta depends on your vote.

*The only print media exceptions of which I’m aware are an editorial in The Daily Comet by Keith Magill and the ongoing coastal series by Bob Marshall in An A/P interview on November 29 with Tor Tornqvist from Tulane Univ. shown on WWL-TV in New Orleans is a lone broadcast exception.

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  1. I confess to being surprised, both by the margin of Kennedy’s win and even more by the Cajun John Wayne beating Angelle. Like a drum. Sad days ahead for Len, what with Exxon as Sec St?

    • I wish that the sad days ahead only applied to me and not primarily to my grandson, step-grandchildren and their soon-to-be 9 billion counterparts around the world.
      The Russian and FBI roles in Hillary’s defeat speak volumes about the health of our democracy, as does the election of Trump acolyte John Kennedy, who will probably support the pending global co-oligarchy of Russia and Exxon-Mobil. I’m astounded that Vladimir is not being described as a war criminal.

      • Another chance for you to put down the dismay. Let this guy beat up on Trump for you

        • Although I agree with your Trump critic, he doesn’t mention Louisiana’s Achilles heel – global warming. My coastal concern focuses on the increasingly likely reversal of Barack Obama’s significant actions on climate change. This reversal is telegraphed by Trump’s appointees to Sec’y of State, EPA administrator, Interior Department Sec’y, and DOE Sec’y. The election of John Kennedy as our junior U.S. Senator further reduces the odds that Louisiana can retain a functional coast through the century.

          • Rising seas are not the biggest problem our coast faces. (Besides, if it takes GHG reform to fix that, give up now, since that’s not gonna happen. So, if you’re right about GHG reduction, you’ve already lost the argument.)

            Subsidence is a far bigger threat than sea level rise.


            This abstract may have an error, but if it does, then the coast is in even more trouble. If it’s correct all around, it’s bad enough.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous is correct about jobs being more important than the environment. You can’t have both and it’s clear Louisiana voters prefer to suck at the tits of the petroleum industry. You are correct in that the environmental groups are more concerned with funding pet projects than environmental principals. It’s just that simple, that’s who we are, that’s what we want, a reality that not only denies climate change but embraces unlimited exploitation. Sweet dreams little children, our leaders will save us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t limit jobs over environment to Louisiana. Trump broke the Blue Wall in the Rust Belt. Too few people wanted Obama’s third term. Counties in Wis and Penna which had not voted Repub since 1972 or 1984 went to Trump this time; almost 400 of them. No way white supremacy explains that. But I want a job does.

      • Anonymous says:

        True for the rust belt in the north where slavery was opposed, but here in the south we started a war to keep slavery. White privilege in the south has a sacred history. Concern for jobs in the rust belt + fear of loosing white privilege in the south = Donald Trump.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If America’s Delta depends on anyone’s vote, then it’s toast. If Pruitt is an existential threat to the planet, then we’re all toast. Seriously, if you’ve got an argument in favor of Campbell, just make it, and skip the dire warnings.

    Whatever the science turns out to be on the merits, assuming the skeptics/deniers can ever be silenced, the voters have unmistakably decided that climate costs too much to change, especially since they want jobs now, if not yesterday. Thus I expect Campbell will lose by the same 58-42 ratio as Trump over Hillary. Really, who would vote for Trump last month but Campbell this month?

    • Mike Beck says:

      “You can’t have both”? Really? Someone seems to have accepted the claim that pollution controls destroy jobs, which is one of the most crippling superstitions you can operate under. A familiar case to me is the cost of the SO2 cap and trade rule under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Industry comments on the proposed rule placed the cost of SO2 reduction at $1200 per ton, EPA estimated it at $600/ton. The first batch of publicly traded tons sold for only $135 each. Retrofitting antiquated utility boilers with fluidized bed technology paid for itself and created jobs. (see See also .
      There’s money to be made in reducing the carbon footprint and well-paying jobs as well. The dinosaurs, predictably, don’t want to adapt to a smarter business model.

      • If a business model made any sense in its own right it wouldn’t have to be mandated by law. We have no laws required people to recycle their old gold. If there’s money to be made in the carbon reducing game, it wouldn’t require a treaty. People would already be doing it. Carbon credits would still be traded on the Chicago Board of Trade. Do a little digging into the price of carbon in California as compared to everywhere else. If you feel like investing your savings in some carbon scheme, be my guest. Just leave the taxpayers out of it.

        • I have already invested thousands of dollars in a carbon reduction scheme known as energy conservation, and it has paid off nicely, for me personally and for California utility companies who made similar investments during the 1980s (only after being fined and forced to invest in conservation by the Public Utilities Commission after losing a series of lawsuits). During the same period, Gulf States Utilities bankrupted themselves by following an outdated business model (they were bought by Entergy).
          “If a business model made any sense in its own right it wouldn’t have to be mandated by law.” I can’t think of any environmental laws that mandate particular business models, only laws that constrain shoddy environmental practices that externalize costs at the expense of private property and other businesses.
          But the point is that a lot of polluting industries I know have reduced pollution and made money doing it by adapting their business models from earlier, less efficient ones. Sometimes all it takes is waiting 5 years for a payoff instead of the next quarter.

      • Mike Beck, the thread related to industrial and petroleum jobs. Of course pollution control creates a relatively few jobs. The point is that there is a mind set of jobs that exploit vs. impacts to the environment. And that is ultimately an incompatible view unless you assume natural resources are unlimited. Do you believe that?

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