Oped

Shortly after Scott Pruitt was confirmed as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), disgruntled EPA bureaucrats began leaking what they said were Pruitt’s personal abuses of money, rules, and regulations. Naturally, it caused a firestorm in the press and among liberals. With investigations by the EPA inspector general, the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, and two House committees, nobody is receiving more attention right now than Administrator Pruitt. Why is this happening?

Besides being a typical example of how technocrats respond to anyone doing things other than their way, they fear Pruitt because he is dismantling unnecessary and expensive environmental policies of the Obama administration. Marc Morano, publisher of the influential Washington DC-based Climatedepot.com, explained, “his EPA reform agenda is their biggest threat…Pruitt is the target like no other because he has dared to actually reverse the green agenda in DC. They will keep going until they claim Pruitt’s head!”

President Obama used the EPA to implement the industry and economy destroying policy of controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. His administration took the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) erroneous findings that human produced CO2 was causing runaway global warming (Anthropogenic Global Warming, or AGW) and converted it into national policy. In so doing, they bypassed the Constitutional checks and balances that require Congressional approval of policy and funding.

President Donald Trump knew that many of the Obama administration’s heavy-handed limits on development were achieved through the EPA. So, it was critical to quickly take control of the agency and clear the decks of the most troubling EPA rules and regulations and then introduce energy and environmental policies to make the U.S. economy grow.

Nobody on Trump’s team was better prepared and more capable of implementing this new approach than former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a lawyer who had a brilliant mentor about the exploitation of climate and the environment in Senator James Inhofe (R-OK). It was Inhofe, with the help of Morano, then the Senator’s research assistant, who filed the important December 11, 2008 U.S. Senate Minority Report, “More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims,” that drew violent reaction, serving to underscore that it was right on target.

Pruitt began acting right after taking the helm at the EPA, drawing an immediate reaction from Obama holdovers and the ‘deep state’ bureaucrats in the department. Pruitt survived the first salvo of charges, but by May 2018, he was under at least 12 separate investigations. Even more followed.

For example, as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request from a group called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Beryl Howell, chief judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ordered EPA on June 1 to substantiate a remark Pruitt made in a March 9 CNBC interview that “carbon dioxide created by human activity is not the primary driver of global climate change.” To help the EPA back up the Administrator’s correct statement, The Heartland Institute, an Illinois-based free-market think tank, shipped copies of the Climate Change Reconsidered series of reports to Pruitt. Heartland advised him “to use the 3,000-plus page report containing some 10,000 footnotes to comply with” the court order.

One of the reasons for the increase in the attacks against Pruitt is his April 30 introduction of “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” a new EPA rule saying that no scientific research study may be used for environment and energy policy formulation unless full disclosure of the data and methods are provided. Heartland Institute President Dr. Tim Huelskamp, explained the importance of this move: “For decades, the EPA has improperly claimed massive power to regulate nearly every aspect of our economy and lives. It is long overdue that the EPA should make such data and collection methods available for public review and analysis.”

Promoters of AGW, including many EPA bureaucrats, see the new rule as a threat. Yet its objectives are at the center of any legitimate science. The most crucial test in science involves reproducible results. To verify a proposed theory, other scientists must be able to reproduce the same results as the theory’s proponent. But to do that, they must have access to the data and methods used by the original researcher. Failure to follow these ideals allowed the ‘hockey stick’ temperature graph, which erroneously showed 20th century warming to be unusual, to sell the world on AGW. In fact, the full data and methods are still not fully available for the ‘hockey stick.’

The corrupted “hockey stick” temperature graph featured prominently in the IPCC Third Assessment Report – see http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/figspm-1.htm.

World War II Lancaster bomber pilot Sandy Mutch explained the approach Pruitt should take when he is attacked. “On bombing raids over Europe, we could tell we were closing in on the target when we started to get the most flak. Anyone who wants to kill the dangerous and unfounded climate scare… should focus on exposing the shaky science behind climate alarm,” said Mutch, who passed away on April 15, 2018 at the age of 98. “That is the Achilles heel of the whole movement. Shoot it down and you win the war!”

Pruitt must ignore the flak and use it only as a guide to drop more bombs.

Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba. Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition. Ball and Harris are among the hundreds of policy advisors to The Heartland Institute - see heartland.org/about-us/who-we-are/?page=1&type=policy-experts&q=&view=40.