Texas to the EPA: ‘Nothing to see here’

The U.S. Lab for Bad Policy

This is infuriating:


“In the weeks after Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic sweep through the Houston area — which resulted in chemical spills, fires, flooded storage tanks and damaged industrial plants — rescue crews and residents complained of burning throats, nausea and dizziness

“Fifteen hundred miles west in the high desert city of Palmdale, NASA scientists were preparing to fly a DC-8, equipped with the world’s most sophisticated air samplers over the hurricane zone to monitor pollution levels.

“The mission never got off the ground. Both the state of Texas and the EPA told the scientists to stay away.”

 


And who told the NASA* to stay away? Michael Honeycutt, a controversial toxicologist who has suggested air pollution may be beneficial to human health.

The issue was that Texas was afraid that NASA* would identify the locations of the greatest damage and slow down or stop industrial sites from rebuilding following the hurricane. Some benzene-induced cancer? not a worry!

The whole story is incredible, please go read it. But I’ll give you the spoiler right now. “Six weeks later, Trump’s EPA would appoint Honeycutt chairman of the agency’s Scientific Advisory Board, an independent panel of scientists charged with providing advice to the agency’s administrator.”

*It was NASA that Texas asked to keep away, and Trump’s EPA was OK with that, too. I’m still under the weather and I blame the Nyquil!

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14 Responses to Texas to the EPA: ‘Nothing to see here’

  1. ming says:

    The one thing that gives me hope is that career scientists in EPA and other federal agencies I work with are hunkered down protecting data and waiting for the wrecking crew to get the boot. Can’t happen soon enough. Two more years of this stupid shit is going to be hard to fix.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Dennis Cole says:

    Nothing about tRump Fucking America, Inc. surprises me anymore. The corruption is so rampant and widespread that I fear our country will soon be a vast wasteland, with drilling rigs from sea to shining sea, and toxic dump sites filling in the spaces in between. Would I be better off moving to some “shithole” country? Or should I stay and fight?

    Like

  3. This is Texas. THEY BLEW UP HALF A TOWN and not a goddamn thing happened. Hell, Houston isn’t even seriously considering zoning laws or flood mitigation. Why should they? We’ll bail their asses out every time it floods.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Redhand says:

    It brings to mind that great SacBee “Business is booming in Texas” cartoon in 2013, which you can see here.

    Texas is particularly notorious for not giving a shit about the health of its non-corporate citizens. But it is hardly alone wherever the GOP holds power, see, e.g., Flynt, Michigan.

    I take as a given that Republicans simply don’t care about the health of ordinary Americans. Profits over people every single time.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. donnah says:

    Trump’s early plan, helped along by Stephen Miller and Co, was to employ the worst people for the departments, like anti-public ed specialist DeVos and anti-environmentalist Zinke and the rest. And they have done everything within their power to snatch as much cash and goods as possible before being pushed out. No one has the best interests of the American people in mind; the grifters and cheats all find their way into plum positions immediately after the previous cheat leaves.

    They’re despicable, rotten characters. And the damage they’ve done will takes decades to repair, if it’s even possible.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Redhand says:

      “If it’s even possible,” as you say. The GOP has debased the political and social culture of our country to a degree I would never have dreamed possible, and they are actively promoting a Kulturkampf that could break out into a full-blown “cold” civil war. They are uniformly despicable.

      Like

  6. ming says:

    Donnah,
    It is worse than that. They were specifically appointed to weaken and dismantle the regulatory agencies they oversee. They have been very effective in this respect.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Pingback: Texas To EPA: 'Nothing To See Here' | Celebrity Gossip Fix

  8. roket says:

    State’s rights, bitches. Also too, you can bet that a sum of money was transferred directly from TX to Donnie Dorko’s grubby little pockets because that’s how we roll now.

    Like

  9. A.J. says:

    A little late to this party, but I have been mad for a long time about the Trumpers and the EPA, and anything to do with Texas (you, too, Oklahoma) and their combined war on science.

    From my files:

    In 2014 House Republicans passed H.R. 1422, a bill deigned to shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky pointy-headed “scientists”, and create room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.

    Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas of course, claimed the then EPA’s board’s current structure is was problem because it “excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups,” and the inclusion of industry experts, he said, would right this injustice!

    Worse, their bill forbid scientific experts from participating in “advisory activities” that either directly or indirectly involve their own work! Experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research!!

    And their “reasoning” for that bit of stew-pud…?

    Having conducted peer-reviewed studies on a topic would constitute – a conflict of interest.

    “In other words, academic scientists who know the most about a subject can’t weigh in, but experts paid by corporations who want to block regulations can.” – Andrew Rosenberg, Union of Concerned Scientists director.

    October 2017:

    The Trump Administration banned from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board any and all scientists who receive EPA grants. Instead, the administration invited onto the board…a vice president of the Phillips 66 oil company, Merlin Lindstrom; and an manager for a coal-fired power utility, Larry Monroe of the Southern Company.

    Also picked for the EPA Science Advisory Board was a California professor, Robert Phelan, who takes the minority position that clean air is not good for children, because their lungs need irritants to learn how to ward off pollution.

    October 13, 2017

    Trump nominated Kathleen Hartnett-White, a former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, to head a key White House office that coordinates environmental and energy policies across the government. Previously, she had been considered to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Kathleen who…?

    Kathleen Harnett White is a director of a conservative think tank called the Texas Public Policy Foundation (part of the State Policy Network, a system of conservative think tanks that are funded by Koch brothers-backed dark-money groups, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, as well as the Koch-backed Claude R. Lambe and Charles G. Koch foundations, and ExxonMobil) that was funded in part by – Koch Industries. How convenient, because Koch Industries owns refineries, chemical companies, and fertilizer factories and has a direct financial interest in avoiding climate regulations.

    In December 2003 a Texas state auditor report found that the Texas Environmental Quality Commission under Hartnett White consistently failed to hold violators accountable for breaking its laws, applied fines that amounted to only about 40% of the profits the companies made breaking the law, and introduced policies that weakened – its own regulations! And now you know why she became the darling of Texas Republicans and the Trump admin.!

    In her 2014 blog post she theorized that “fossil fuels dissolved the economic justification for slavery.”

    “There is, in fact, a historical connection between the abolition of slavery and humanity’s first widespread use of energy from fossil fuels.”

    (Her point was that industrialization and urbanization were enabled by the use of coal and oil. She was wrong. The Industrial Revolution increased the demand for slave-labor-produced raw materials, making slavery MORE lucrative.)

    In November 19, 2015, she was a keynote speaker at a Texas Public Policy Foundation-sponsored event, “At The Crossroads” climate conference. She presented a talk titled “Not a Pollutant: CO2 is the Gas of Life,” arguing carbon dioxide was not a pollutant, but “the gas of life”.

    In 2016 she argued that the human contribution to climate change is “very uncertain”; and that ozone, or smog, isn’t harmful unless “you put your mouth over the tailpipe of a car for eight hours every day.”

    November 2017

    In her Senate confirmation hearing to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Trump nominee Kathleen Harnett White:

    Senator Cardin:  “It seems to me that you don’t believe climate change is real?” 
    
    White:  “I... I am...I am uncertain.” 
    
    Cardin:  “You’re uncertain?” 
    
    White:  “No, I’m not. I’m sorry.  I jumped ahead of myself. Climate change is, of course, real.”
    
    Cardin:   “Does human activity affect climate change?”
    
    White:  “More than likely.  But the extent to which, I think is very uncertain. Any my...”
    
    Cardin:   “Would you rely on scientists to give you that answer, or not?”
    
    White:  “No, I’ve had that question for a very long time.”
    
    Cardin:   “So you have a distinguished background in academics, in humanities and religion.”
    
    White:  “Yes.”
    
    Cardin:   “Which is fine - a wonderful field.  <b>You are not a scientist, are you?”
    
    White:  “No. I’m not a scientist.”</b>
    

    Yup! Not a scientist; the one honest statement she made. She holds a B.S. and M.A. in Humanities & Religion from Stanford University, and attended Doctoral Program in Religion, specializing in – East Asian and comparative Religions – at Princeton University. So yeah; let her head a major government organization.

    04 Feb 2018

    The White House withdrew this blatant, paid-for, walking-fraud’s nomination to head the Council on Environmental Quality.

    See the pattern here…?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dennis Cole says:

    Maybe someday, all the foxes in the henhouse will look around them and say, “Where did all the chickens go?” Once they’ve successfully destroyed the agencies they were placed in charge of they’ll be out of a job, won’t they?

    Like

    • tengrain says:

      Dennis –

      They are millionaires and in the case of Wilbur Ross, billionaires (allegedly), and I don’t think it’s about the Ameros from a piddling gubmint salary for these guys. They are making bank with the corporate classes, doing their bidding. Or in the case of Ross, doing his own bidding as some reports are showing that he still is maintaining day-to-day control over his own investing.

      Rgds,

      TG

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dennis Cole says:

        I meant it more in the sense of them having to find new projects, or even a hobby* maybe. And I agree – the paychecks are paltry compared to the pillaging.

        *Maybe Origami using $100 bills, or T-bills, or even Bearer Bonds? Because once you have that much money all piled up, what do you do with it?

        Liked by 1 person

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