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Trump EPA Accomplishments & Challenges

By:
Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Aug 14, 2018  at  at 6:42 AM
Category
Climate Change

The resignation of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the appointment of Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler presents an opportunity to review what has been accomplished at EPA and what challenges remain to be addressed.

 

Accomplished

 

  • “Secret Science”

Administrator Pruitt terminated the use of “secret science” by the EPA in the regulatory process. This decision raised concerns about the protection of information regarding individuals involved in the research projects. However, it is clear that the data, methods, analytical techniques and models used in the research can be made public to facilitate reproduction and validation without disclosing personal data of the participants.

EPA Ends The Use Of “Secret Science” In Crafting Regulations – Hot Air

 

  •  “Sue & Settle”       

EPA has terminated the use of the practice of “sue & settle” under which EPA assisted environmental activist groups in suing EPA, then settled the suits by adopting the regulations or practices advocated by the environmental groups.

Sue and Settle: Regulating Behind Closed Doors –US Chamber of Commerce

 

  • Paris Accords

President Trump notified the UN of the intent of the US to withdraw from the Paris Accords because the Accords uniquely disadvantaged the US; and, would ultimately be ineffective.

U.S. submits formal notice of withdrawal from Paris climate pact - Reuters

 

  •  “Green Climate Fund”

The US notified the UN that it would cease contributing to the UN Green Climate Fund. The GCF was intended to provide annual funding of ~$100 billion by 2020 to assist developing and not-yet-developing countries to reduce CO2 emissions. The Fund was slated to grow to $400-425 billion per year by 2030. The US contribution was to be ~25% of the total funding.

U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement: Reasons, impacts, and China's response - ScienceDirect

 

  • EPA Advisory Panel

Administrator Pruitt dissolved the EPA Advisory Panel, which was constituted of scientists, many of whom were also funded by EPA grants, in an apparent conflict of interest.

U.S. Government Disbands Climate-Science Advisory Committee – Scientific American

 

 

Remaining

 

  • Clean Power Plan

EPA has stated an interest in repealing the Clean Power Plan, which effectively prevents the construction of new coal generating stations and requires the closure of many existing plants. The emissions levels required under the CPP would require installation and operation of carbon capture and storage technology which is not currently commercially available and appears to significantly reduce plant efficiency.

Electric Utility Generating Units: Repealing the Clean Power Plan: Proposal - EPA

 

  • Endangerment Finding   

Administrator Pruitt had expressed interest in re-evaluating and potentially reversing the 2009 Endangerment Finding regarding CO2. The finding was based on IPCC modeled outputs, which have now been demonstrated to be inaccurate.

Trashing EPA's endangerment finding would be tough – E&E News

 

  • UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)

The US is required under current US law to exit the UNFCCC, since that body has recognized the Palestinian Authority as a “state level” participant. This action has not yet occurred.

Why the U.S. Should Clexit and Pexit—Exit UNFCCC and Paris Climate Treaty – Cornwall Alliance

 

  • Discontinue funding international climate efforts

The US continues to fund UN climate change activities through the UNFCCC. It appears that this funding will be terminated in the 2019 federal budget.

Trump Budget Would Cripple U.S. International Climate Change Work – Inside Climate News

 

  • Tiger Teams           

EPA should work with NOAA and NASA to launch tiger teams to conduct a detailed review of the climate change activities of those agencies. One focus of these teams would be the continual changes in the historical climate record by these agencies.

What is a Tiger Team Approach? - Trextel

 

  • Red Team - Blue Team

Administrator Pruitt advocated an open climate change debate using a Red Team – Blue Team approach. This open debate has not occurred and there is significant confusion regarding Administration support for such an effort.

Red team-blue team exercise will expose the junk science that filled Obama's EPA – The Hill

 

The Administration has accomplished much in its first 18 months, particularly at EPA under Administrator Pruitt. However, much remains to be done at EPA under the direction of Acting Administrator Wheeler.

 

“It ain’t over till it’s over.” - Yogi Berra, American philosopher