The Assault Against Science Continues at the E.P.A.

The agency jettisons expert panels providing guidance on important health and environmental issues.


Comments: 162

  1. Throughout the Trump administration, facts and truth are inconvenient obstacles to policies that place the profits of a select group of businesses higher than the well-being of all Americans.

  2. These issues deserve FAR more attention than they are getting. THANK YOU for writing this piece. Need to get this out on social media.

  3. Truth is not a priority for this administration.

  4. How Trump got elected and is still holding office are beyond me.

  5. oh, ye of little imagination. close your mind and see how things look. the scales will fall from your eyes. give 'em what they want and always leave 'em wanting more.

  6. @Robert McKee The answer is because a large number of US citizens (especially rural elderly whites) really like him and are ready to vote him in again. We like to believe that his crowd is only a small, bitter fringe, but the polling in the last election makes clear what we have had for years, a large lumpenproletariat that does not like people from Nantucket.

  7. How is their greed going to offset the lung diseases their children will get? Not ours, because ours don't matter. Who needs clean water when fracking profits are to be had? Put some more pesticides on my GMO veggies please.

  8. If the EPA puts trust in science, then it must do experiments to prove its point. Experimentally prove that climate change exists. Apply the scientific method! Otherwise keep its opinion to itself and get on with MAGA. Thank you.

  9. @Southern Boy Apparently, you have little to no knowledge of how science works. You accept the findings of geology? Can't do labs there either. Data are collected in a lot of ways apart from experiments in a lab.

  10. @Southern Boy I don't know how else to get you to listen except to tell it like it is. It is not possible to physically model something as large and as complicated as the earth inside a laboratory. We can model physical and chemical reactions in a lab, but not the entire planet. What we can do is measure how the panet is behaving. We can monitor solar radiation, planet wobble, changes in the orbit, CO2 content and the temperature of the atmosphere, the seas, the level of snowpack, the glaciers, the polar ice, biological markets, ocean acidity, and among other markers. We can extract historical data that goes back millions of years by studying ice cores, rocks, fossils, geology plant life and other parameters. Then we can input these millions of pieces of information of our history and present conditions into powerful supercomputers and make projections within an reasonable range of accuracy. We don't know exactly what will happen 50 years from we can determine a range of outcomes with high probability. That's science. Now do you understand? Or do you refuse to understand?

  11. @Southern Boy The EPA deals with pollution issues that are separate from carbon pollution. These are important to public health and ample evidence of the EPA's success in protecting the public are numerous. It is NOAA and NASA that address climate change. Your dismissive attitude towards science is exactly what caused the writer to retire.

  12. As long as Trump is in power, we can count on the policy of appointing agency management whose role is to aggrandize Mr. Trump's ignorance of science and his policies based on his gut beliefs, rather than any fact-based knowledge. Trump is the center of the universe and all policies are intended to assure that that remains the cases. He believes he is right, most commonly not based on any accepted scientific evidence, and that is all that matters. And his base adores him for his rejection of the science of the "elite".

  13. @dpaqcluck I think the narcissism of Trump is important here. He has the delusion of thinking he can do another deal and deal us out of any set of problems. Being the best at the Art of the Deal is his core belief. Meanwhile the the dark lords play off of his seat of power. There is an old Chinese saying, "The Emperor chooses. The advisors provide the things."

  14. Mr. Zarba, your analysis based on historical scientific expertise is as sobering as it is alarming! The comparison to the tobacco industries 'last gasp' attempt at fact suppression is enlightening except, of course, unfortunately the entire planet is in danger. Those thwarting valid information likely will not directly suffer the horrific consequences, but their grandchildren most certainly will. They obviously don't care as long as they get their way now. As it is said "this is what slow extinction looks like". The unfathomable is becoming a reality.

  15. No matter what subjects are treated, under no matter what rubrique, the comments come down to the same thing: this administration is doing perhaps irreparable damage to the country and to the world. And the self-destructive base couldn't be happier.

  16. "Experts?? We don't need no stinking experts!!" "Reality?? We don't need no stinking reality!!"

  17. Those were my words exactly!

  18. Re: "...The agency jettisons expert panels providing guidance on important health and environmental issues..." If you're in a building, and...it's on fire, and you shout "FIRE!!", but everyone, else says, "Nope! Can't / Won't / Don't see it!"...you might feel, however, reluctantly, leave, 'em to their fate! Sadly... When it comes to preventing this Anthropocene_Age from being the last, such epoch where hominids play(ed) a significant role / exist(ed), and...space_faring technology remaining primitive, no 'judgmental', and/or, other 'tude, intended... There is NO 'walking, away', (in resignation), from...Earth!

  19. As MEM's comment suggests, the Trump G.O.P. offers a grand economic myth that environmental regulations hurt economic growth. No doubt, the Trumpists conclude that China's purported enviable economic growth has not been hampered by our types of environmental protections. But their view of the economy is myopic, at best. It fails to fully account for all economic factors, like all those pesky costs from harmful products, bad air, bad water, etc. Sick and dying people; sick and dying wildlife, forests, open lands, and waterways cost lots; they are a drag on the economy (unless you like higher health care costs). The Chinese are working to overcome the messes they have created. The United States is still the greatest economy ever, and we did it with things like the Clean Water Act, Clear Air Act, and the EPA. Ask anyone from the PRC who now resides in the U.S., and he or she will tell you that they are glad to have escaped the pollution of the major metropolitan areas in China.

  20. @Chris Indeed; Externalizing costs does not make them go away- It only transfers the costs onto the public. One reason we have governments is to protect public health and safety.

  21. The attack on science at the EPA in particular and in general is an attack on the public at large. Science and its vast information gathering abilities has been the core around which those who question our role in climate change and other issues have gathered. Without this we are blind and don't even recognize that we are blind. Further the general population is so self absorbed that without the sharp point of science and its unfolding truths most sink back into apathy and just trying to live their lives. The GOP and its corporate cronies know and rely on this blind apathy. Their campaign against science and information fed by corporate greed and quarterly profits is a key cog in their campaign to lull the population into complacency and whether we know it or not is having a direct effect on our health and the health of our planet.

  22. The Republican party is now entirely in the hands of those who follow the libertarian belief that everyone must be fully responsible for their own outcomes. This has come to mean it is wrong to provide accurate information, protect those unable to protect themselves... Authoritarian churches insist everything is ordained by a God. There is a strange choice between happiness in preparing for end-times or asserting that God will provide so there is no need to address or even understand our changing world. Both the libertarians and the "Strongman Pastor" churches believe there is no need to serve as stewards of the earth--and no attempt to understand the "mysteries of nature" can succeed. They are the Republican party. The reality that none of us can actually stand on our own, and that we, as a species, are now farming the earth--and are fully responsible preserving that "farm"--is lost. My N95 filter helps some, as I breath in the air laced with the remains of the city and residents of Paradise from over 100 miles away. That filter is a good libertarian Republican response to the climate changes they want us to not understand--or address.

  23. @Mark Johnson The Republican party is now entirely in the hands of those who follow the libertarian belief that everyone must be fully responsible for their own outcomes except when they just gamble with all of our money then expect us...the tax payer to bail them out. The fact that AIG still exists is a sham. Where was the "Free" market. The GOP are truly the dregs of humanity!

  24. This consistent with the Trump/GOP core value - profit over the common good. Short term profit and wealth building is the God of the Party of Trump. What good is health without wealth?

  25. This is just one more card enabled by the combination of oligarchs + ignorants (i.e., the people, not the condition) putting active money harvesting above every other measure of success. I am thinking about accountability in this regard: if politicians and industry captains want to say all these chemicals aren't dangerous, then surely pouring them into THEIR wells can't be wrong, right?

  26. The earth revolves around the sun. Trump says “fake news, the sun revolves around me.”

  27. "the increasingly compromised science review process " will now be subject to actual effective Congressional oversight. Decisions by current management at the EPA will be scrutinized. They need to clean up their act ASAP.

  28. @Susan Watson ... You misunderstand the whole picture. The Congress of the United States does not have the time or staff to oversee each regulatory decision made by the federal government. It has EXPLICITLY delegated the determination of regulatory standards tpo the staffs and advisory bodies of its specialist agencies. There is little chance that the Congress, divided as it is, will rewrite the laws to make it possible to enforce science based decision-making onc ethe standard is abandoned.

  29. @Susan Watson Do you really think that our congressmen, who have degrees in poli-sci and whose technological expertise is limited to knowing which knee pads are the most durable when servicing Big Oil CEOs, have any business overseeing scientific research and regulatory decisions about particulate matter? You wanna let us know which BACT (Best Available Control Technologies) you'd recommend for, say, municipal solid waste facilities? How about the water cooling tower of a glass manufacturing operation? The machine that paints new vehicles? Curious to hear your responses. Or you can just let me know what Mitch McConnell thinks. He should know, according to you.

  30. @Peter Meyer Oversight committees work at the level of process. Senior management have an obligation to go through a process designed to produce evidence that the original reasons for the regulation are no longer true. If regulations have been eliminated without hearings and the facts to support the change, then management is derelict.

  31. This administration is all about money. Industry makes money and so do companies that treat sock people. This all makes sense in that context.

  32. It's almost as if the corporate Oligarchs who control everything actually want people to die from environmental pollution and climate change? Wait! That is what they want!

  33. How else can you come up with "big Beautiful Clean Coal" but to disband scientific information. It has worked for NRA, for Climate Change and Congress, NASA is also supposed to ignore it as are the military services whose bases are going to be underwater cities, etc. We live in the time where the facts simply are not relevant. My sincere apologies to my children and, when there are any, my grandchildren. This generation is failing the future for short term greed! Pure and simple!

  34. Knowledge is power. Weakening our impartial scientific input not only makes us ignorant but also weak.

  35. As someone who has spent the past 35-years as a scientist / project manager in the environmental remediation industry and has worked with many EPA employees across the nation, it has been my experience that >95% of EPA employees are rational, logical proponents of fact-based clean-up decisions. Our nation has benefited greatly from the work done by the EPA and we all live better lives for it. It's truly disheartening to see how the GOP has become adamantly and unapologetically anti-science in past 20-years. And for what end? Its absolutely clear the GOP is not a Conservative organization who acts as good stewards of the nation's or the globe's resources - the very definition of conservative.

  36. Big Oil and polluting corporations control the agenda of the GOP. The supporters of air and water pollution are mostly old white men more interested in profits and stock prices. Sadly the younger generations under 50 do not vote at the same rate as seniors yet they have the most to lose with record breaking flooding,storms and wild fires in the years ahead. Politicians decide who gets what so student debt cannot be wiped out with bankruptcy but old folks who run up $500,000 in debt can just file in a day and be debt free.

  37. Climate change is not just real, it's 'climate changed' in places like the burning foothills of California. You can't eat fish without ingesting micro-beads of plastic. GMO salmon may not make you sick, but what would happen to natural salmon runs if it escapes into the North Pacific? The public's need for truthful environmental science grows daily. Preventing the public from satisfying that need is frankly unconstitutional.

  38. With the Koch brothers being their true constituency, most and possibly all Republican representatives are hostile to environmental regulation. With health, safety and economic losses in billions hanging in the balance, why on earth will the Democrats not make these (as well as climate change) issues a major priority during every single election cycle? This is as clear an example as one needs to see that the GOP has zero concern for individual Americans. Hostile to any government involvement in our health care as well as science, while giving industry a green light to pollute at will.

  39. @Paul Mc Once again, the media (NYT included) and politicians (Dems included) approach this battle on the Republicans' (Kochs and Trumps included) terms. Until we cease describing the issue as one of REGULATION and switch to couching it in terms of PROTECTION of our personal health, what scientists are telling us will remain vague and remote for most Americans. Note that the EPA has protection, not regulation, in its name.

  40. @backfull Curious to hear your explanation for how we might expect "PROTECTION of our personal health" (or PROTECTION against the deleterious effects of financial services industry malfeasance, gun violence or the myriad other risks we expect the government to PROTECT us from in exchange for our tax dollars) without REGULATION? REGULATED capitalism, while not perfect, has worked fairly well - unREGULATED capitalism has proven to be disastrous many times in our nations past and is why we continue to pay far more, per capita, for a health care system that still leaves a significant percentage of our population without access to needed medical care - considered a basic human right by all other OECD countries.

  41. @Paul Mc No debate on the substance of the relationship of regulation vs protection here. Just pointing out that the concept of personal protection resonates politically.

  42. Why does the author not state who is responsible for this, below the level of the President? (Or is this level the lowest that any human being has achieved, ever, and that everyone is talking about, and there is even a rumor about it?)

  43. The Environmental Pulverization Agency. Thanks, GOP.

  44. Current leadership at the EPA, Dept. of the Interior and other agencies are all about private gain, public pain. Give private interests access to resources on publicly owned federal lands, let then take what they want (oil/gas, minerals, timber), and leave the waste products behind on the land, water and air for the public sector to clean up (or not). Easier if scientific information isn't available.

  45. You wonder if the people making these catastrophic decisions have children or grandchildren. Can short term profits really make them feel good about damaging the future for their own children and grandchildren?

  46. Perhaps anti-science folks want to quit using the fruits of science. No more antibiotics when they get an infection No more asthma medication for their kids No more knee replacements for their parents No more emergency medical care No more contact lenses No more heart surgery No more cancer treatment No more blood pressure meds No more medical screening tests No more

  47. @Wendy L Sunshine....Yes, but think how much money we would save on healthcare.

  48. While you’re at it, think of how many people will die.

  49. So from this can we conclude that A) Republicans don't have lungs or B) All Republicans will be fitted with oxygen masks or C) Republicans will never go outside ever again and neither will any of their progeny? I understand the greed and corruption, but I don't get the lack of concern for the air we breathe, the water we drink, etc. But, then, there's so much about this administration I don't understand.

  50. @Alex Miller I have the same curiosity about how these people make sense of things like air quality. I now believe that there are two classes of right wing idealogues/Trump base members. The first is those who supply the money, the Koch's and the many rather wealthy members of the Tea Party. They are clearly aware of what medical science shows, yet their greed allows them to poison their children and grandchildren as well as everyone else. After all the children of the coal mine owner is likely also breathing in the particulate laden air. The other group are the rural, poor and poorly educated cult of personality Trump people. These people also breathe nasty air, but if they live sufficiently far from urban areas their air is a bit better. It is often pointed out that these people may vote against some of their self interests, e.g. favoring tax cuts for the rich but avidly defending Trump against those pointy heads in the big city.

  51. @Alex Miller The wealthy know they can move to areas with good air, get air purifiers, etc. They know the bad effects will be almost entirely on others. Just look at where the superfund sites are, where the pollution is worst: neighborhoods of the poor and rural areas

  52. More horrid news about the Trump effects on the EPA! When will the public rebel on these dangerous trends? When will the main stream media question this? We all must start screaming about this horrible trend in ignoring Democracy, ignoring science and ignoring your health and your children's health?

  53. Nobody can assault science. It's a mistaken notion. People can disregard scientific knowledge and can avoid using science to acquire knowledge. Assaulting science is like impeding natural forces, a mind experiment like flying through the air unassisted. Natural forces existed before mankind and are not alterable by mankind. Science is a disciplined way to gather reliable information about nature and natural phenomena, including how societies operate. Nobody can change what it is.

  54. The denial of science goes across the board in the Trump administration. For example, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has the mandate to advise the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. Currently, the senior staff member of that office is Michael Kratsios, a political scientist who has absolutely no scientific background. I earned my Ph.D. at Princeton University in molecular biology and currently hold a faculty appointment at Harvard Extension School where I teach pharmacology. And, I consider my credentials to be sorely inadequate to serve in that office. I would like to see someone in that job with far greater scientific accomplishments than myself. Obviously Mr. Kratsios and President Trump feel differently.

  55. How many scientists or individuals with Ph.D.s sit in the WH? I cannot think of one. Not only are facts inconvenient, the guy (s)elected to be president cannot tolerate the company of individuals who are demonstrably more knowledgeable than he is and are confident to say so. We are left with a cabinet of toadies.

  56. @Dodger Fan . In Woodward's 'Fear' 45's standard response to a statement requiring basic comprehension is "I don't know what you're talking about." Truly frightening.

  57. Science studies what is natural, what is real, and it does not attempt to serve any belief system. The politicians can remove scientific studies from policy making but it just means that they wish to avoid reality in developing policies. It just means that they are developing policies which are going to address what the country faces stupidly. If Republicans declare that climate change is not affected by human activities contrary to what science has established to be factual, the effects of climate change will go unaddressed until it is too late to reduce their impact. They will not go away because they are being ignored.

  58. The saddest thing is that when Democrats re-take the White House in 2020, they'll re-instate these committees and advisory boards and we'll have an effective system of checks and balances, at least until the Republicans take power once again. Then they will again destroy the system until the Democrats take power and reverse the agenda once more. And so on, and so on... The American slide into ignominy continues.

  59. 45 ought to quit trying to make it look legit. just appoint the lobbyist from big oil, fracking, tobacco, etc., to run the e.p.a...

  60. The EPA has become a punching bag and a joke, and functionally the opposite of what it nominally is. How demoralizing it must be to work there -- unless of course you are a Republican.

  61. Responsible policy makers need the best available information in order to act intelligently and responsibility. Trump has no interest in either and will continue to fundamentally damage our government by driving out those capable of providing the best available information, whether at State, the EPA and other branches of government. The man is a wrecking crew.

  62. It's not like the assault on science started with the Trump administration. Obama shot down the Keystone pipeline notwithstanding the opinion of experts that it wouldn't increase CO2 emissions. In fact it would reduce both emissions and spills because the alternative was shipment by truck and rail. (You tell the Canadians they can't develop their oil reserves.) His Clean Power Plan was another triumph of politics over science and economics. Not only would the CPP have no impact on global warming, the cost-benefit analysis was skewed with an overstatement of benefits and understatement of costs. And until you are willing to accept that GMOs are safe (as every scientific study says they are) I don't want to hear complaints about ideology trumping science.

  63. @J. Waddell You confuse science with policy formation. Science does not predict it provides facts from which predictions may be drawn. The cases you cite are products of evaluating possible consequences from accepted assumptions. At best it's derived from propositional logic. Now if you took your conclusions as hypotheses and then used science to confirm them, that would produce results from science.

  64. @J. Waddell There is no shortage of distrust with environmental issues, and much of this distrust has been earned - see the article on electric school buses for an example. Whether a conflict of interest or incompetence was to blame, buying enormously costly electric school buses that drive very few miles is something that taxpayers simply should not tolerate. Pipelines increase CO2 emissions because, by sinking costs, they make fossil fuels more competitive in the long run. The emissions savings compared to shipping by trucks and trains is approximately meaningless when compared to the extra emissions from not switching to nuclear or renewable power sources sooner. Whether a politician can say this openly without a high political cost I do not know, nor do I know if this "sunk cost" reasoning was a factor in the decision. Restoring and keeping the public trust requires a focus on the science and on cost-benefit analysis in the conversations we have on the topic.

  65. @J. Waddell -- Whoops, let's un-muddy those waters a bit. You chose to ignore the OTHER alternative to filthy tar sands oil: Economics hinder its use, given the glut of fracked gas and price depression of relatively cleaner energy. If Canada wants to assume the costs, risks, and environmental burden of shipping oil westward, fine, but why should we abet them or share in the risks, for a few temporary jobs from pipeline construction? Frankly, you understate and distort the impact of CPP, which targets global warming AND the real health hazard of lung disease caused and aggravated by particulates, as well as widespread contamination of soil and water by carcinogenic and neurotoxic heavy metals. Reducing emission of greenhouse gases is the ONLY way to arrest our ongoing contribution to global warming. Emission reduction aside, anything which tilts the playing field in favor of zero-emission power generation will also reduce emissions of other pollutants, such as particulates which cause and aggravate lung disease, and carcinogenic and neurotoxic heavy metals. Honest people will admit that GMOs need selective evaluation. Making medical insulin with engineered microbes instead of extracting it from harvested animal parts is a win/win. Engineering plant resistance to toxic herbicides only encourages their use in greater amounts, with the inevitable result of higher residues in our food. That should be an ethical and legal non-starter, i.e. banned by law.

  66. Where scientific information has been disregarded by the EPA and other agencies responsible for protecting our health, boycotts have proven quite effective in getting corporations manufacturing and marketing consumer products to act responsibly. It's a blunt tool though, and not as effective for getting at toxic ingredients such as those emanating from the petrochemical industry and corporations like the Kochs' that, with the help of Republican efforts to reduce product transparency, go to great lengths to obfuscate what they produce and where it goes.

  67. In response to someone who was wondering how depressing it must be to work at the EPA: It felt suffocating in the first few months and up to maybe a year. But more experienced staff provided perspective and confidence in the vibrant democratic checks and balances. I am a research fellow at the Office of Transportation and Air Quality in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When the administration wanted to allow unchecked glider (new trucks with very dirty older engines) production, the staff pulled together a solid test program in record time and submitted the results in the public docket. Staff also made a formal request to remove the EPA name and logo from the NHTSA (re)analysis being used to roll-back the fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles. I earned my Ph.D. in pollution from automobiles and every day for over three years that I have spent at the EPA, I am thrilled to be in the company of very smart, passionate, and diligent staff (through the ranks). We aren’t in the best possible mood, but we are doing everything possible to uphold science. Just like the soldier that knows this battle might be lost, but there is no option but to win the war. For your part, dear readers, please stay educated and help others stay educated about the scientific process.

  68. @TheTruthShallPrevail Thank you for this. It has troubled me that so much of the science staff and leadership at this agency and the DOE and other p[arts of the government that do such important work have been driven out or chosen to resign or retire. I hope there are a lot of others like you trying to hold on to standards that protect us all

  69. @bse - Very much agree with you. I have tremendous respect for the people who are hanging on at the EPA (and other agencies), trying hard to do the job they are supposed to be doing, regardless of pressure from above. I just hope we can return to sanity, and appreciation of the benefits of science, sooner rather than later.

  70. @TheTruthShallPrevail Thank you for holding the public good first and foremost while weathering this nightmare of an administration. You represent the many dedicated public service employees who are passionate about their work and protecting public health and well-being. We may not know you or your colleagues yet certainly you deserve our thanks for your commitment to good science despite the current anti-science climate among the leadership at EPA. Please continue to do what you do knowing you are deeply appreciated.

  71. If our current president had actually earned his bachelor's degree in whatever discipline he claims, rather than it having been purchased for him by his father (as the quality of his written communications makes only too plain), he might have developed the ability to understand that even and especially if he doesn't understand science, he is best served by surrounding himself with people who do, rather with the sycophants he has habitually employed his entire adult life.

  72. @Glen This is wild speculation -- many people with earned degrees are corrupt. Trump may well understand that this will, in fact, damage peoples' health, he does not care. College is no panacea for subsequent corruption.

  73. So the Trump mob has succeeded in converting the Environmental Protection Agency to the Environmental Polluting Agency. No surprise there. But surely there are legal mandates, responsibilities, and strategies that the newly elected Democratic House can bring to bear to right the EPA ship. Those should be pursued with all the speed and vigor the House can muster. In view of the intentional damage that the Trump administration is doing and allowing, that task of restoring the EPA should be approached as a public health emergency.

  74. I can't wait for the Cuyahoga River to catch fire again. It will an EPA-approved source of festive light and good cheer for the holidays.

  75. The environment can only take so much. It took awhile to reach the threshold, now we are passing it. You know like lungs can only take so much smoke. You can chose to ignore, continue to justify, or do something about it. You can create jobs jobs jobs but if you don't have the environment to live in because of those jobs whats the point. The point is that anyone over 50 won't be around to see the true fruits of those jobs nuking the environment but their children will, that I find truly irresponsible and selfish.

  76. Making American Great Again by killing us slowly from air pollution, pesticides, polluted water, Super Fund Sites that leak and more. Who needs science or real facts.

  77. Hard for me to believe but we Americans are now living in a Banana republic. Panama’s got nothing on us that’s for sure. We have government for the enough is never enough crowd who will never have to nor will the children’s grandchildren ever have to live next to a toxic waste dump or a coal fired electric generation plant. The rest of us might not be able to avoid that outcome.

  78. This becomes like a forecast for earnings, "what number do you want?" They will massage the data until it says that there is no danger to human health from breathing air so dirty it burns your lungs to breath. Smoking will now be safe and seat belts will be nothing but a nuisance. Welcome back to the 1950s

  79. This is really bad but for years everyone said it was all about the economy. Jobs, jobs, jobs, is the refrain now. Many believe that being a good consumer is their purpose in life, it is patriotic. Again, this is really bad but Americans like their stuff and are easily cowed to consume. They stopped saving and spent until they could spend no more, and no one thinks about where it comes from or how it is produced and even the supposed progressives are pro-business and pro-corporations. To big to fail. I hear no one saying we need a law to cancel the citizens united decision. It's all about the economy. Jobs, jobs, jobs! It's my new favorite thing, I think I'm in love. Live like a fool and expect the government to clean it up, except you need pro-corporation moderates to make sure the "economy" is good and you have a job that affords you the ability to be a frivolous consumer. I am not sure local ecologies matter much at this point. We are likely very close to triggering feedback mechanisms that will lead to runaway global warming. All those fires in California are releasing massive amounts of CO2. The oceans warm and release methane from methane hydrates. The same is true as permafrost melts at the poles. Even if you pretend you like and support scientists it won't be possible to solve the issues as the population continues to grow and people consume at historic levels.

  80. The most anti science administration in a century or more. We will have quite a job to repair the damage of the Trump administration when he leaves office.

  81. Green energy to the Trump administration means the color of hundred dollar bills.

  82. just because you say it doesn’t make it true

  83. @Crossing Overhead Just for yucks, what does make it 'true'?

  84. When history looks back on the Trump presidency, his attack on science, especially via defanging the EPA, will forever be a stain on all who ever supported this travesty of anti-progress.

  85. "If you visit American city, you will find it very pretty. Just to things that you must beware: don't drink the water and don't breath the air." -- Tom Lehrer, Polution 1965 Make America grasp again.

  86. "Deconstruction of the administrative state" was Bannon's euphemism for what the Trump administration and republicans generally are attempting to pull off. That is the creation of an authoritarian state. One where corruption rules the day and Trump rules forever. The EPA has done so much in my lifetime to clean up the environment and inform the public. It should anger everyone who breaths to see Trump politicize and weaken this valuable agency. Vote them all OUT.

  87. We need to impeach this administration. With impunity. What a clown car of hacks and carpetbaggers. (With apologies to the clowns). Alternatively, the GOP really are cockroaches. They will be the only thing left on a planet of chemicals for air, toxic sludge for water, and ?? for food. Leaving science out of protecting the environment is like having trump for president. It's stupid, painful, and you pray for enlightenment to breakout, and soon.

  88. This article reminded of the story of Clair Patterson. Patterson was sort a lone voice warning about leaded gasoline battling the petroleum industry in the 1960s. He was opposed, maligned, and smeared by the oil and gas industry, and sidelined by "experts" generating reports for congress, most paid directly by this selfsame industry, which were serious conflicts of interest. Patterson had the data and guts to stand up for the public interest and his scientific research eventually helped convince people in the nascent EPA that lead in humans were elevated to dangerous levels due to human activity. Reading this article you can see this sort of scenario happening all over again. How many people's lives will be wrecked because of moneyed interests and short term self-serving politics? We can get a feeling for the answer to this by reading about leaded gasoline and the fight the industry put up to convince people that there was no issue with lead. There's a very good article on mentalfloss that tells Patterson's story that everyone should become familiar with.

  89. Why has it become okay to allow an agency meant to protect us to become essentially useless in the era of Trump? Consider if the CDC or the NIH suddenly ceased to exist? The EPA has a huge impact on protecting us when it comes to chemical pollutants in our environment that can adversely affect our health. The current administration would rather protect corporations than individuals so science and regulations are being dismantled. Generations to come will pay the price if something isn’t done right now to put a stop to the destruction of this agency.

  90. @Dawn But corporations are people, too. They're just the wealthiest ones that bought the most politicians.

  91. @Dawn, This is Trump "faithfully executing the law" which he swore to do at his inaugural. This country is in a tailspin as Republicans protect his behavior endlessly. McConnell and Ryan, I'm looking at you.

  92. The Republican party is all about monetizing public institutions and lands by selling them off to private companies for development. The EPA's role under this administration has nothing to do with public health. It's an agency that is greasing the wheels for selling public land, water and air quality to private developers. It's not an attack on science as much as a recognition that science no longer has a role in the EPA.

  93. Not a single one of the wealthiest 0.1% of our citizens lives somewhere that is heavily polluted by airborne particles. But a measurable, even if miniscule, amount of their resources would have to be taxed to pay for scientific study of pollution and its causes and then on formulation and enactment of policies to reduce the pollution. And some of them might own companies, or stock in companies, that would be regulated as a result of those policies. I have just outlined the complete set of considerations needed to understand this administration's actions in the EPA. Your view of "public confidence" also needs a different perspective. The public that votes properly gets its "news" from Fox, Breitbart, and similar sources. It will now be confident that public policy is no longer dictated from on high by elitist scientific "experts" who invent environmental "issues" solely to amass research grants and consulting fees. What do those so-called experts know that allows them to tell all of us what we can or can't breathe? Your recollection about tobacco is on point. There are some very wealthy citizens who would be even wealthier if not for all those pesky regulations on tobacco. Lesson learned. So now we won't act on medical studies unless every individual agrees to complete public disclosure of his/her personal health history, in the interest of "transparency." Transparency is progressive, right? Ha! EPA all in for MAGA!

  94. "Sorting out the logic behind these new policies defies reason." No, it does not. The purpose is very clear and very logically related to these actions: to prevent effective pollution control, and to give polluters as much freedom from accountability as possible.

  95. The idea is to the undermine the federal agencies of Bannon's Deep State: Environment, Health, Housing, Veterans, Interior, State, Labor, Transportation, to the point where they are so decimated that that they will be abolished or privatized for corporate profit.

  96. Yes, and weaken and destroy America and Americans along with them. Makes it so much easier then for autocracy that he and his, and their Russian buddies (owners) so admire.

  97. I just can't imagine how damage the people are who make these decisions are. How is it that people at the EPA can decide that the science is no longer needed? How can they live with themselves? I don't mean to sound naive, but I can't understand how anyone can reject the science, and then think there's some type of reward awaiting them? And I don't mean a material reward.

  98. Patrick: No offense intended, but you are naive. The material reward is all that matters to them. Truth gets in the way of that.

  99. If there's one thing the majority of civic-minded Americans will agree upon, it's how easily the Trump administration has been able to stock government hen houses with foxes. Once the democrats are back in control and we have a return to civic responsibility in DC, it will fall to congress and the new president to codify the vetting, type and qualifications of personnel and their role in the decision-making process of a given agency in determining policy. We, the public, need to be assured that whomever is elected to the White House, the autonomy of a a given agency to serve solely and exclusively in the interest of the public is maintained.

  100. "Flawed processes, like eliminating the expertise critical for making informed regulatory decisions, rarely lead to good outcomes." Let's be serious. Outcomes without science are good for industrial interests that fund and support Trump and Republicans. They're not good for anyone in the long term, of course; few people gained by the collapse of the Roman world, but who cares? That's in the future.

  101. Since we are dispensing with regulations, who needs regulatory advice? Protecting people's health subtracts from corporate profits, so that's that. No, wait, I should have said it 'kills jobs.' Perhaps the new motto of the EPA should be "Kill People, Not Jobs."

  102. "Will we look back at actions the E.P.A. is making today with the same regret and disbelief as we do with tobacco regulation?" Yes. But by then it may be too late to reverse the ongoing damage to the environment.

  103. Wildfires and the hazardous smoke they spread over hundreds of miles don’t distinguish between Republicans, Democrats, Green or Libertarian; nor between cannibalistic capitalists and the rest of us; nor between “blue” states and “red” states. And we all rely on valid and reliable scientific information from the EPA when, for example, trying to determine how safe it is to breathe the air around us. I dare say that the trumpian attacks on and dismissal of science, and the decimation of the agencies and programs meant to protect ALL Americans’ health and safety is an affront to all who survive or are directly impacted by wildfires and other hazards, and a desiccation of the lives, deaths, and memories of those who succumb to such dangers. SHAME ON THEM!

  104. Perhaps it is time to move from outrage about your President’s actions to,,, “ as usual, President Trump has chosen to misrepresent long established provable data with”. ,, and then just fill in the rest with his comments. The rest of the world,Macron, Trudeau, Merkel, May, are onto the game show format. America needs be too

  105. Let's not forget the GOP's absolute disdain of the E.P.A. who will stop at nothing to ravage the environment. And Trump, the G.O.P.'s dream enabler!

  106. This is not an "assault on science", it's the weeding out of a panel that advises a committee that advices the agency. In other words, a typical Washington D.C. bureaucratic rat's nest. No one is stopping the author from doing anything, he can go find the funding, and do his work elsewhere. It would probably a lot more valuable than sitting around on yet another Washington advisory board. The current President isn't going to listen to you anyway.

  107. @David Godinez - the board advised the EPA about public health issues that fall under the purview of the EPA, and had expertise to provide good, solid advice for the political staff at the top who make the decisions. Good, solid advice based on the most complete evidence is what's needed for protecting the health and well-being of our population, but it is apparently bad for the industries that are getting their dream - regulatory capture of agencies designed to prevent them from harming the public. This is a continuation in the Executive Branch of the flight from good advice on science and technological issues that Newt Gingrich started when he shut down the Office of Technology Assessment that reviewed issues for Congress, preparing reports on technologies and potential help or harms that they could present. The GOP these days wants to avoid all that clear-eyed, informed decision making. Their mind's are made up for them by ALEC and the extremely wealthy donors with their lists of marching orders.

  108. First of all the EPA was begun under Nixon to combat the toxic environmental poisoning of the public by unchecked and single minded interests who try to profit from the loss of public health and welfare. Do you really think it’s wise to gut the only agency in America whose sole purpose is to protect our water, air, food and future from unchecked environmental poisons, degradation and death brought on by polluters on all fronts??? What could be a more important function of our government???

  109. The EPA was created in 1972 by President Richard Nixon. Where have all the Republicans gone? Make America Gasp Again.

  110. First, nobody should be surprised that the attack on science by the EPA resembles the attack of the tobacco lobby. Books have been written describing how specific "tobacco isn't dangerous" scientists when that funding source dried up moved right into the "there is no climate change" business. Second, Stable Genius has pronounced climate change a Chinese hoax. That should settle the matter, shouldn't it?

  111. Must read: Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid. In the 1930s it contributed to the rise of fascism. Alarmingly, we are experimenting again with a monopolized economy. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/opinion/sunday/fascism-economy-monopoly.html Bigness also leads to juggernaut-sized power, which turns the EPA into the Environmental Profit Agency. Science is inconvenient, so tell everyone that the scientists have an agenda - it's a conspiracy! - and are not to be trusted. And then, the rich get richer, and everyone else suffers. As Trump would undoubtedly say (and probably already has) "Environmental protections and regulations are for losers."

  112. I see the poster child photo of Salt lake Valley with it's horrible air. It is better than it used to be, but only because of science backed clean air efforts. The saddest reality of this photo is the people that live here overwhelmingly voted for Trump and his EPA harming efforts. What's good for business may not be so good for the many children and older folks living there!

  113. So many people believe that science is not reliable, that I would not be surprised if most of them think that climate change driven weather patterns are God’s punishment for mankind defying the teachings of the Bible. It means that instead of dealing with the physical causes, they will try to find ways to address God’s wrath, as did people in the 14th century did the plague.

  114. @ Casual Observer More like climate change and its catastrophes are God’s wrath against people who defile(d) God’s gift of the Earth as they worshipped the idol of money and power! Too bad the rest of us have to suffer too.

  115. I have worked in conservation biology since the late 1960s, and I have served on various advisory commissions and committees for California, Federal agencies, and branches of the Armed Forces. I do not recall a blacker period than this for conservation or science itself. Willful ignorance of science-based findings is one thing, but what we are seeing in the Presidency is something blacker, something evil, something sinister. I can scarcely wait for 2020 when I will be walking through small towns and rural areas, trying hard to get people to vote.

  116. @Lloyd Kiff "By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes." Wow...Shakespeare could have been writing about the Trump administration. Something wicked indeed and in deed.

  117. The assault against science is nothing else but an assault upon reason, rational thought, evidence based discourse & conclusions, enlightened thinking & fact-centered policy decisions. This assault upon science is a full frontal attack against the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, both of which nurtured our nation from its inception as well as the Declaration of Independence and Constitution by which it is inspired & governed. The assault against science has excluded from the EPA those with specialized scientific knowledge. This is a farce & a travesty. It has been done in the name of Deregulation, the darling of the Conservative movement & the Republican Party. Regulations protect the public from those who would weaponize their wealth, influence & power to compromise our safety & well-being so that they be able to monetize government policies in order to further enrich themselves whilst destroying the health, safety & security of the rest of the 99%. Those who uncritically, tribally derive all of their "information" from radical Conservative propaganda machines that masquerade themselves as "news" organizations end up voting for those Conservative-Republicans who seek to further enrich & empower the CEOs & Billionaires while permanently injuring the vast majority of Middle Class & working class Americans. I engage the services of a professional plumber for plumbing. I engage the services of a surgeon to conduct surgical operations. This is not rocket science.

  118. The scary thing is that Trumps base is either too poorly educated to understand the impact his policies have on their and their children’s lives or rich and thinking that they can buy their way out if the consequences of ignoring science....

  119. Since the Scientific Advisory Board was created at the direction of Congress, doesn't Congress have the oversight to see that proper scientists are appointed to the Board?

  120. Is there a legal theory that allows citizens to sue the EPA for not following the law? If the Scientific Advisory Panel was mandated by Congress, and the EPA has chosen to disband it, the EPA is not following the law. Ultimately every U.S. citizen is impacted. We voted for the Congress that created the law. If Congress won't hold the EPA accountable, do we as citizen have standing to create a giant class-action suit or something similar?

  121. I sometimes get the impression that there are many people who don't worry about the environment because they don't think we live in it.

  122. Will the shamefulness of this administration and its enablers never end? Pray for our nation’s children; what kind of future awaits them?

  123. The Administration's attack on the EPA is one of its worst sins. It disrespects eminent American scientists while embracing murderous foreign autocrats. What happened to the Republican party? Is there not one Republican Senator who cares about the air they breathe? Some of them live downwind from polluters. Some have children with asthma. What gives?

  124. Mitch McConnell has lauded deregulation as a singular achievement of the Administration. Yes, to allow polluters to accelerate the degradation of the environment, predatory lenders to drain the financially unsophisticated of their meager assets, and workers to be robbed by their employers of their hard earned wages. How lower middle class white men think that this agenda benefits them is beyond me.

  125. Once the Democrats are in charge of the House, maybe they can use the power of Congressional oversight and the power of the purse strings to stop some of this damage being done to our country's ability to properly manage impacts to the environment. They could tie up the changes in endless hearings and use their budgeting power to defund the political appointee's pet projects. Maybe it's not much, but starve the cancer and try to keep the rest of the EPA running as is until proper leadership can be restored.

  126. A concerted effort to disregard the most reliable facts about the real world is inane. It's as ridiculous as jumping off of a cliff and expecting not to fall. The results will always be unexpected surprises.

  127. The stranglehold BigEnergy has on our government is a crime against humanity. I'm beginning to think the only path toward the species's survival is that we citizens and taxpayers must buy out the carbon in the ground. I'm sure that could happen easily given the ethical state of our elected "leaders," many owned by BigEnergy one way or the other.

  128. @Rocky No, the stranglehold that BigEnergy has is on the Republican Party.

  129. Instead of the carping about President Trump in these columns, which he has earned, I would like to read a whole lot more of the science of climate change and its precise or probable associations with natural disasters like forest fires and hurricanes. All I ever read is that Trump and his ilk ignore the science but little about the actual science and in detail. The media has a special obligation to disseminate to the public the granular and large picture of what is purported (and I do not doubt it) the perils to our planet and what can be done and when to avert disaster. Our leaving the Paris Accords, unwise, has been more of a political football than an exercise in educating the public by the media and political figures.

  130. Not only has the GOP retreated into Luddite territory, it has discarded all pretense of decency and true patriotism. To them, the EPA is "big government." Christine Todd Whitman was Administrator at the start of W's administration. She thought she had agreement with him on carbon emissions. He betrayed her. After 9/11, she was tasked with the safety of chemical plants. She asked for authority to make regulations: Congress refused to give more authority to big government. She also advised the Administration not to criticize the Kyoto Agreement publicly--but they did. She resigned. Her letter contained: "Our work has been guided by the strong belief that environmental protection and economic prosperity can and must go hand-in-hand..." Future candidates for POTUS promised to lock down the EPA.

  131. This column is just one more disheartening piece of evidence of the current administration's kowtowing to corporate interests. Yes, it is "deconstruction" on a ideological level, but the bottom line is the "bottom line" for the corporations that own the politicians who in charge of governing. How else could one explain putting Zinke in charge of the Interior, Pruitt, then Wheeler, at the EPA, Ross at Commerce, Mnuchin at Treasury, Purdue at Agriculture, DeVos at Education, Whitaker at DoJ, and the list goes on and on. All of these appointees have public records of antagonism toward and/or have been beholden to lobbyists of the agencies over which they preside. This is not "deconstruction" so much as an ongoing corporate coup to control governmental policy and regulation. Couple this with the Citizens United decision and with the tax benefits accrued and loopholes granted to corporations to avoid taxation, and the picture becomes complete. If this capitulation to capitalistic control means eliminating any scientific research or input that created policies in the past, the current administration could care less. We will be bearing the costs, both monetarily and personally, for the government's subservience to these interests, both now and for generations to come. Outrageous!

  132. This is just more proof that the Republican Party is unfit to govern. It peddles ignorance as thoroughly as it peddles lies in its craven submission to its corporate masters, eliminating more and more obstacles to corporate trashing of our environment and continued obstruction of efforts to combat climate change, ensuring ever increasing natural disasters and a worsening refugee crisis. The Republican Party betrays the trust of the American people and robs future generations of their health and security, caring only about expanding the profits of their corporate donors. Change has come to the House; in 2020, it will be time for the American people to fully reject the purveyors of propaganda and ignorance and bigotry in the Republican Party and restore sanity and facts and public service to the halls of Congress, in the White House, and to our environmental policy.

  133. Disrespect for expertise has been a hallmark of the Trump administration. Look at his cabinet pics, his selection of candidates for various positions that must testify before Congress. One of the most memorable was selecting his personal doctor to head the VA. Either they are laughable or so in bed with the industry from which the cabinet office is meant to be protected (see EPA). This trend harkens back to the Reagan years where mediocrity was celebrated starting with Reagan himself who was 2 steps from dementia. Reagan's nighttime news conferences were known for a voice from the netherworld after the conference correcting Reagan's misstatements made during the news conference. I have never seen this before Reagan, nor afterward. The Republicans seem to have an attraction to the less than qualified such as George Bush. There is a pattern here which cannot be ignored. Not only does the country need to be protected from terrorists and private school vouchers, but it also must be protected from a lack of excellence and no nothings.

  134. Strangely, this article can be interpreted as an argument against democracy itself, or, in our case, against democratic republicanism. There is no guarantee that rational arguments based on scientifically revealed facts will dominate policy in any democracy lacking a reasonably educated electorate.

  135. Science is being abandoned only because Ethics were abandoned first Can we call ourselves Humanity if we are not also Humane?

  136. Even if a miracle were to happen, American voters suddenly got a brain and the Presidency, and all of Congress were again ruled by Democrats, the damage that the EPA and Republicans voters and politicians have done to the earth will last for decades. And for what? Making the rich even richer? That's the reason voters. Remember that in 20 years when it will be even harder to breathe, find potable water, or swim in the ocean.

  137. The only equivalent I can imagine of what has happened to the EPA would be if the Bureau of ATF were taken over by the NRA. As Peter Kujawinski perfectly said in his NYT Science article yesterday (https://nyti.ms/2z0lhSw): "My long journey seemingly had brought me to the shoreline of interstellar space." Our atmosphere is indeed a shoreline and is as thin a protection of air - mere AIR - as we can get away with to protect ourselves from cosmic rocks, rays and the empty (past the man made orbiting junkyard) vacuum of space. Like our thin contaminated shorelines polluted with plastic, oil, trash and red tides - the EPA wants to allow polluting of this shoreline of air between us and outer space. What the EPA is doing is intellectually STUPID. As the tax payer funded trump enabled Earth Pollution Agency does it again, we can double down on investments in asthma, COPD, and other breathing ailments pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers. Ozone? Now that the hole is almost closed, the EPA has a fix for that too - return to chlorofluorocarbon propellants and refrigerants. "The cost will be borne by the American public", and all of life on Earth. If we're not extinct, "Will we look back at actions the E.P.A. is making today with the same regret and disbelief as we do with tobacco regulation?" Who needs potable water when you can drink Coke with a decayed smile only a dentist could love? May trump get his huge dusty lump of clean coal in his stocking this Christmas.

  138. This ain't no science fiction. An alien culture has taken control.

  139. Look, lets not pretend you can get grant money for studies that appose the so called liberal science of the so called truth.If you want truth look to the contract that our Father has with the whole earth. Gen 8; 21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. 22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Our Father has a plan I suggest you try to find out what that plan is.

  140. You know what I hate? The laws of gravity. And the laws of thermodynamics too. Who made these stupid laws anyway? I don't ever remember voting for someone who passed such ridiculous restrictions. They totally hurt business and kill jobs. I think President Trump should appoint a commission to investigate these "so-called" laws, no doubt created by a bunch of liberal, elitist scientists, appointed by some federal bureaucrats (supported by George Soros, obviously). Just more governmental overreach, I tell ya'.

  141. I can't believe this is not a criminal act by Whitaker, Pruitt, and POTUS. Basing our governmental policies strictly on the industries that have only their own profit as motive for the policies inacted is fascism.

  142. Oh, Dr Zarba. Haven't you been paying attention? These are Republicans. For them, ideology trumps facts. (Verb intentional.)

  143. Do we ever wonder where the 1%-ers will go to live when the air and water in the US get too bad to tolerate? Switzerland? Maybe the Andes? The Himalayans? Sorry Charlie, but things ain’t no better there. Their glaciers are melting because of global warming; even the Swiss are having trouble with water. Bottled water? From where? Bottled oxygen? Again, from where? There are, after all, some things that money cannot buy, even though the rich are different from you and me.

  144. Only the best!

  145. I don’t think the people of and around Chico, CA (in Republican stronghold Butte County), where at 9:00pm EST the PM2.5 (hazardous particulate in the air) is an outrageous 195 purple hazardous range https://mobile.arb.ca.gov/breathewell/default.aspx?city=Chico ( normal healthy air is closer to 10) would be too in favor of hamstringing the EPA. The EPA’s science-determined air quality index is helping to save lives there and across CA and in states like WY, CO, MT, WA, OR, AZ, UT where air quality (safety) can turn on a dime if there’s a wildfire. Airnow.gov. Use the site while you still can and while there are still honest scientists posting valid and reliable data and analysis!

  146. Frighteningly par for the course with Trump and science. But I have one question for you Chris Zarba. You lament these moronic actions at the end of your piece with the following question: “Will we look back at actions the E.P.A. is making today with the same regret and disbelief as we do with tobacco regulation?” Let me modify this question to the following statement by just flipping the first two words: “We will look back at actions the E.P.A. is making today with the same regret and disbelief as we do with tobacco regulation.” Now is not the time to be shy and equivocal with your words!!

  147. The irony of this ignorant attack on facts is that in the end it will destroy the very people who support the attack. They breath the same air as the scientists who search for the truth and they, and their children and grandchildren, won't be able to escape that truth.

  148. As a retired air quality scientist, one in industry, this move represents a continuation of degradation of science based standards and rules. It is a short sighted, stupid action, and hopefully the new Congress, particularly the House of Representatives will hold hearings on this, and have some potential to force changes. There is enough of the science known to understand that fine particles, especially carbon ones can migrate to all organs in the body and cause morbidity and mortality. Shame on those ideologues at senior positions

  149. “Let them eat cake” has been updated. The replacement is, “Let them breathe dirt.”

  150. I was an air quality research manager for the Electric Power Research Institute for 23 years. During my tenure there I served on many EPA advisory panels and never found an instance of impropriety on the part of my fellow panel members or of EPA staff. All were dedicated to finding cost effective, scientifically based solutions for protecting public health. Over the past two years, I have been appalled at the blatant disregard for honesty, conflicts of interest, and ethical behavior by Trump appointees to the agency. I can only hope that the new democratic majority in the House can take effective steps to remedy this travesty of misgovernance.

  151. Better to disband the EPA entirely than to let it be used as a political tool and corporate mouthpiece.

  152. Air pollution denial is the new climate change denial. Air pollution is "the world’s largest single environmental health risk." Air pollution damages our health from the womb into old age. Air pollution particles enhaled by pregnant women enter their lungs and travel to their placentas, increasing the risk of premature birth and of low birth weight leading to lifelong health problems. Air pollution reduces intelligence equivalent to having lost a year of education. Air pollution is linked to a much greater risk of dementia and may begin early in life. “Traffic related air pollution has been [linked to] poorer cognitive development in young children, and continued significant exposure may produce neuroinflammation and altered brain innate immune responses in early adulthood. We cannot underestimate the significance for air pollution to affect our health, reducing life expectancy and quality of life. Citizens have to demand political action for clean air and vote out politicians opposed to public health.

  153. This isn't about science, it's about money. People with money would very much like to get more. In some cases making more money is helped by doing damaging things to the environment. Often the most cost effective action plan is to garner political influence so that environmental regulations impeding the ability to make money are diluted. Thus more money. What's the downside, besides poorer public health, acid rain, climate change, forest fires, severe hurricanes, loss of biodiversity, etc.

  154. @wa Yes, but... This is as much about culture and identity politics as it is about money. The Republicans in my life disregard anything labeled liberal. Al Gore, university professors, and scientists are all "liberals" so they are rejected. Republicans' culture, privileges and religion are under attack (or so they have concluded). They are running scared. Money may drive the oil industry, but fear drives Joe Average Republican to vote against their own interests.

  155. It’s sad to see how one mans biases can effect national policy and processes, and how quickly others buy into those biases for there own gain, resulting in highly skewed and poorly designed policies that negatively impact our society and they people our government is suppose to serve. For someone to say that the previous scientific advisor boards were bias in there opinions is to dismiss the validity of the underlying science, and an insult to the integrity of the people serving on those boards. Look more closely at your own viewpoints and opinions to determine your own biases before judging and criticizing others.

  156. Thank you for this. So sad that a major political party has become anti-science because of inconvenient truths - it reflects how threatened the business/conservative community is by climate change - the biggest market failure ever (according to Stern, accurately stated) and all the other market failures that pollution represents. An estimate by IRENA of the health and environmental costs of our global energy mix is that those costs might be more than 2x what we pay - in other words, prices are more than 100% off, not even counting social externalities, and prices are the language of capitalism. They should tell the truth, and the US govt should tell the truth about environmental impacts.

  157. "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." – Upton Sinclair As long as the polluters are making the decisions, we won't be able to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the climate that is essential for life as we know it.

  158. Given any latitude, the Trump administration will launch America kicking and screaming into the 19th Century. This is the most ignorant, destructive government that I have seen in over 70 years. Virtually everything they have done has a negative impact not only upon our character but upon our environment and the future of our children. Trump and his cabal are morons and grifters. With a feckless leader like Trump, what else would we expect. Shame on all those who support him - your children will suffer for your ignorance, hubris and arrogance.

  159. Chris Zarba, the author of the article below, was a bright young intern in my branch of EPA around 1979-80. He showed great promise then for someone of his youth and inexperience. It is good to see that he lived up to that promise and it is very sad to see that his further contributions to environmental science have been interrupted by the actions of anti-environmental vandals in the corrupt Trump maladministration!

  160. hopefully we can all hold our collective breaths until the new democratic president, senate and house in 2020 - and all of these atrocities in the EPA, civil rights, education, housing and more...will be reversed. i am optimistic for my children and grandchildren that the trump mania will self-destruct and the massive demographic shifts (younger, browner, blacker, more liberal) will kick in and kick out these horrible people with their horrible ideology and actions. it can't happen too soon - and the midterms are just the beginning. i do believe we have hit bottom and the light at the end of the tunnel is not a freight train but is hope and change. how i and so many others miss president barack obama and first lady michelle obama...and as much, the two wonderful obama daughters, sasha and malia. the contrast with the current incumbents.

  161. Corporate profits or clean air? And that is why Republicans oppose the EPA.

  162. Thanks to a lack of responsible oversight by the Republican Congress we may now be facing years of micro-management by the Democrats. While arguably better than letting Trump continue to dismantle critical agencies, it would certainly be better to get things back to the system envisioned by The Founders. How 'bout lame duck Republicans actually imposing some sanity and discipline on the Executive during their remaining weeks rather than scratching for more one-sided "victories."