Mike Cox worked for the Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years, and retired last week — with a blistering letter to the anti-environment ideologue appointed by Donald Trump to head the agency, Scott Pruitt.
Cox’s letter blasts Pruitt and Trump for their dangerous anti-science attitudes, calling Pruitt’s statement that carbon dioxide does not contribute to climate change “shocking” and comparing it to tobacco company executives denying that smoking causes lung cancer.
It was surprising, no shocking, when you stated on National television that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to climate change. This is settled science and we have too many other important scientific issues to investigate related to climate change to waste our time debating this issue. I am reminded of a Congressional hearing several years ago when Congressman Henry Waxman asked the CEOs of the major tobacco companies if smoking caused lung cancer. All of the CEOs categorically denied that smoking caused lung cancer. We know, of course, that was not true. You will continue to undermine your credibility and integrity with EPA staff, and the majority of the public, if you continue to question this basic science of climate change.
Cox also harshly critcizes Trump for his false promises that eliminating EPA carbon pollution regulations would magically restore all those lost coal mining jobs.
According to coal companies themselves, the decline in production of coal in the USA will not be reversed to any great extent. There are no major new coal plants coming on line and the price of the most common replacement fuel, natural gas, will continue to decline with the advent of new production. Even if there is an increase in coal production, the number of jobs associated with the increased production will be small due to the automation of the industry.
And Cox pointed out what’s been obvious from the start of the Trump Horror: that our new president is deliberately appointing people who are hostile to the very agencies they’re managing.
We were surprised and dismayed when it was announced that the new EPA Chief of Staff, and several other staff, had worked for Senator Inhofe. As you know, Senator Inhofe is one of the harshest critics of EPA and the most vocal climate change denier in Congress. This sends an unmistakable and disturbing message to EPA staff that you have no intention of engaging with EPA staff and working together to accomplish what Congress and the American people have entrusted us to do.
Here’s the entire letter from Cox to Pruitt. Reading the whole thing is highly recommended; it really brings home how much trouble our nation is in with Trump and his gang of far right anti-science villains in charge.
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