“Trump administrationu2019s zeal for deregulation seen by environmentalists as a recipe for fossil fuel cronyism, runaway climate change and toxic water crises
Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, caused co
iptions among scientists this week by claiming that carbon dioxide isnu2019t the primary catalyst of global warming. Conservative groups and industry, on the other hand, heard hints that a cherished goal may be within reach.
In 2009 the EPA determined that greenhouse gas emissions u201cendanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generationsu201d, opening the door to regulation. Donald Trumpu2019s crusade against government strictures could target this finding, effectively making it official US policy that burning fossil fuels poses no threat to Americans, despite a mountain of scientific literature to the contrary.
u201cI suspect the president and his team are doing due diligence in this area and Iu2019m hopeful they will request that the administrator reviews the endangerment finding,u201d said Tom Pyle, who served on Trumpu2019s EPA transition team.
The conservative American Energy Alliance questioned Trump on the finding before the election and elicited a promise that he would revisit the CO2 finding once in office. Pyle, who is president of the group, expects the administration to follow through. The EPA declined to comment.
u201cThe president has worked diligently to fulfill his promises and I am confident he will do so,u201d Pyle said. u201cThe Clean Air Act was abused by the previous administration to fit their agenda. Itu2019s up to Congress to make a decision on CO2.u201d
But even if the Trump administration shies away from a lengthy and bitterly opposed bid to repeal the finding, itu2019s clear that Americau2019s environmental laws are undergoing the most radical shakeup since the 1970s. Rules around climate change, water pollution and vehicle fuel standards are all in the process of being redrawn. Coal, oil and gas companies are being ushered onto public land and waters. Areas of scientific research are set to be sidelined.
u201cI think Scott Pruitt would have a hard time getting EPA staff to work on reversing the endangerment finding, he understands it would be a huge lift,u201d said Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA assistant administrator. u201cBut you donu2019t need to do that to do away with the Clean Power Plan or revisit the car and truck standards.”