Photo: Lorie Shaull / Flickr
A federal agency is required to respond to public inquiries about their mission. The person responsible for directing a federal agency and mission is the Administrator appointed by the President of the United States. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is taking Draconian measures to diminish the role of EPA and its mission to protect health and the environment. This is in direct opposition to the highly skilled professional staff and scientists working for the EPA.
Administrator Pruitt has expressed profound ignorance of climate science and the EPA’s role in addressing CO2 as a pollutant. Anthropogenic CO2 is the most significant greenhouse gas contributing to global warming and subsequent climate change. Unprecedented global warming is changing the climate more rapidly than at any other time in human history. It is fundamental to the EPA’s mission to identify this hazard and put into place standards to mitigate the threat to health and the environment.
Public participation in setting standards and regulations to address health and environmental issues is standard practice. Recently, Administrator Pruitt appears to be ignoring this practice. As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, he sued the agency he now leads 14 times. He is openly more sympathetic to the fossil-fuel industry, deregulation and softening environmental protections.
The urgency to address climate change is well known. This is not a time for debate over small details when the vast preponderance of evidence has been clearly identified by more than 97% of climate science professionals. The consequences vastly outweigh any minor uncertainties.
Where could Pruitt obtain credible scientific information about anthropogenic causes for global warming and climate change? He could consult the EPA’s own scientists and those that construct the EPA public information pages on climate change.
It is unlikely that the Trump Administration will advise the EPA appropriately on the science of anthropogenic climate change. Mr. Pruitt needs to be motivated by the public he is directed to protect.
This can be done by calling Administrator Pruitt’s office directly. This should be followed by a call to EPA Regional offices with the following message:
My name is _________. I’m calling because I’m concerned about Scott Pruitt’s claim that CO2 is not the major driver of climate change. The role of light isotopic CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels as the major driver of climate change is widely accepted among the scientific community and EPA scientists specifically. I’m deeply concerned that Mr. Pruitt, as the head of the EPA, rejects scientific evidence.
In the 1980s, a similar situation arose with the appointment of Anne M. Gorsuch as EPA Administrator. Public outrage at her attempts to dismantle the EPA; ethical issues and close ties with members of the regulated community were responsible to a large degree for her leaving that office. (Note: Anne M. Gorsuch died of cancer. Her son, Neil Gorsuch, was nominated by President Trump for the Supreme Court).
The likelihood of a positive influence with Administrator Pruitt is directly proportional to the number of calls, cards and emails (in the order of influence). Repeated calls and networking with friends and associations would also be beneficial in eliciting a positive response.
Administrator Scott Pruitt’s office number is (202) 564-4700.
Regional office phone numbers and addresses may be found here — just click on the region where you live to get the number and address of your EPA regional office.
W. Douglas Smith is an environmental scientist, environmental diplomat, explorer, educator and a retired Senior Compliance Investigator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he worked for 36 years.