Trump using Republican playbook to tie up the EPA

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Trump using Republican playbook to tie up the EPA

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:37 pm

Trump using Republican playbook to tie up the EPA while methodically gutting it

By Walter Einenkel
Wednesday Jan 25, 2017 · 1:02 PM EST

The Republican Party has been attacking science and the “regulations” that come out of scientific discoveries and data for some time now. Texas Representative Lamar Smith was about to become the chair of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. When Rep. Smith farts, oil and Koch brothers money shoots out of his ears, that is. Rep. Smith has used his position to tie up scientists’ time and energy by relentlessly subpoenaing various agencies of research. He and other Republicans use the guise of “oversight” to create these costly and time-consuming witch hunts to stall the progress that different groups are making and then figuring out ways to neuter those programs. There is no shame for Republicans in overstepping any and all boundaries of decency or legality. Trump’s transition team has brought us Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry friendly Scott Pruitt to become the head of the EPA. If Pruitt is confirmed what can we expect to see? The head of Trump’s communications section of his transition team had this to say:

"We'll take a look at what's happening so that the voice coming from the EPA is one that's going to reflect the new administration," Ericksen told NPR. [...]

Any review would directly contradict the agency's current scientific integrity policy, which was published in 2012. It prohibits "all EPA employees, including scientists, managers and other Agency leadership from suppressing, altering, or otherwise impeding the timely release of scientific findings or conclusions."

This goes in tandem with the Trump administration’s censoring of all science information on social media platforms that went into affect the past 48 hours. But maybe science will be able to win Trump’s orange-spray-painted mind?

Pressed further about whether specific research on issues such as climate change could be withheld, Ericksen told NPR that "it's premature to comment on a hypothetical before we've even had the time to look at what's currently happening in the [agency]."

That’s bad news, because the “hypothesis” of that question shouldn’t be up for discussion in an intelligent government. ... t#comments
Best Comments

Jan 25 · 11:04:40 PM

There actually was/is a playbook for how to hobble federal administrative agencies and enforcement. It was put together by some Neos at the Heritage Foundation, and handed over to the Reaganauts to guide their war on regulation when RR moved into the oval office.

The book is called “Mandate for Leadership,” published first in 1979 and re-issued with differing emphases in later years.

I got to live through that “regulatory reform” exercise as an enforcement attorney and assistant regional counsel (1978-2000) with the US EPA’s Region V office. They told us early on to stop sending in litigation referrals because the locker was already full. They put the brakes on the growing EPA criminal enforcement program, that was starting to upset the Captains of Industry.

We were instructed that we were now in “customer service,” and that “business” was our clientele. We were to “assist in regulatory compliance,” gently nudge any recalcitrants to be less nasty as opposed to suing for penalties and injunctions and seeking indictments. There was a Green Book of politically approved and disapproved scientists and engineers, the disapproved were to have nothing to do with providing the factual background and scientific basis for regulation of air emissions and water pollution and toxic chemicals, all of which were henceforth to be based on “good science,” (wink wink…) They did a purge of the Regional libraries, to remove all the many reports and resources that were there to inform interested members of the public about what the EPA researchers, both employees and contracted, had found out about public health and environmental impacts and threat. They immediately froze hiring, and began a series of “Reductions in Force” to weaken the research and enforcement parts of the agency.

And of course all substantive information that might be of deep interest to the affected public was to pass only through the Head Office, for careful touch-ups to remove any troubling data and conclusions. One item I was personally involved in was when the Deputy Administrator allowed Dow Chemical to completely re-write and gut a pretty strong report on the effects of toxic chemical discharges and releases from Dow’s Midland, MI plant, and the then nascent information on impacts to the Tittibawasee River and Saginaw Bay. The corruption was pretty widespread, and there were enough people who wanted to keep their jobs to let the demolition go forward. There were also quite a few who fought a somewhat effective rear-guard action on behalf of public health and the environment, and there were a few Congresscritters that actually put the Reaganauts on the carpet and forced at least a scaling back of the demolition.

So here we go round the bend again, what a surprise. At least the various Dem administrations since then were a little more subtle about hamstringing the Agency and working through the cosmetics of regulatory capture. But not much more subtle, according to my friends who stayed on longer.
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