Scott Pruitt: EPA’s Moving Forward On Reg Rollbacks Despite Climate Report

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks during an interview for Reuters at his office in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri GripasEnvironmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks during an interview for Reuters at his office in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt suggested Tuesday that a government report from earlier this month blaming humans for climate change will have no bearing on the agency’s planned regulation-rollback.

“Does this report have any bearing on that? No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t impact the withdrawal and it doesn’t impact the replacement,” Pruitt told reporters about the impact the recent government climate assessment report might have on President Donald Trump’s move to eliminate the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

The Trump administration began the official process of nixing and eventually replacing former President Barack Obama’s principal environmental rule, which seeks to slash carbon emissions from power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Obama used the CPP as part of his plant to meet the goals of the Paris climate deal, which Trump also nixed earlier this year.

“Our job is to administer statutes,” Pruitt told reporters during an interview with USA TODAY, noting the limits and constitutional levers governing the administration. “We have to act (based) on the authority given to us by Congress.”

The newly-released National Climate Assessment (NCA) has sparked a tidal wave of media coverage, while focusing intently on how it contradicts the Trump administration’s stance on global warming.

Yet much of the media reporting on the report, which came out Friday Nov. 3, was largely overhyped, according to one climatologist.

Much of the reportage erroneously noted that global warming has caused natural disasters to explode with ferocity, University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke, Jr., an expert on extreme weather trends and natural disaster costs wrote in a series of tweets shortly after the NCA’s release.

Other academics have a different perspective on the report.

The Supreme Court has continually recognized EPA’s authority to curb carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act, David Doniger, a climate change expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told reporters.

“The National Climate Assessment has sounded a five-alarm fire bell, and Scott Pruitt pretends he can’t hear it,” he said. “The assessment shows unequivocally that carbon pollution is causing dangerous climate change and that our future depends on whether we cut that pollution.”

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Chris White
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