The EPA Is Back!

A recent headline from the New York Times warmed my heart. It announced “EPA to Review Attacks on science Under Trump.”

One of the most damaging aspects of the four years in which America experienced crime-syndicate-as-government was the ruthless attack on facts. From Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” to the elimination of scientific advisory panels, the only consistent agenda of the Trump administration was its persistent attention to its donors’ bottom lines, and disregard of the human need for clean air and water–not to mention a habitable planet and non-toxic foods.

The Biden administration is taking the unusual step of making a public accounting of the Trump administration’s political interference in science, drawing up a list of dozens of regulatory decisions that may have been warped by political interference in objective research.

The effort could buttress efforts to unwind pro-business regulations of the past four years, while uplifting science staff battered by four years of disregard. It is particularly explicit at the Environmental Protection Agency, where President Biden’s political appointees said they felt that an honest accounting of past problems was necessary to assure career scientists that their findings would no longer be buried or manipulated.

In a blunt memo this month, one senior Biden appointee said political tampering under the Trump administration had “compromised the integrity” of some agency science. She cited specific examples, such as political leaders discounting studies that showed the harm of dicamba, a popular weedkiller that has been linked to cancer and subsequently ruling that its effectiveness outweighed its risks.

The list of suspect decisions and disregard for settled science is expected to reach at least 90 items.

The current E.P.A. administrator, Michael Regan, sent out an email message in which he emphasized the danger of allowing politics  to drive science,  and the likelihood that making politics the priority would end by sacrificing the health of the “most vulnerable among us.”

President Donald J. Trump’s well-documented attacks on science include doctoring a map with a black Sharpie to avoid acknowledging that he was wrong about the path of a hurricane and then pressuring scientists to back his false claim; meddling in federal coronavirus research; and pressuring regulators to approve Covid 19 vaccines and treatments. Those actions provoked bipartisan concern during his administration.

Those actions may have received the most media coverage, but what really alarmed me was the less noted elimination of scientific panels and the appointment of fossil fuel lobbyists to positions of authority in both the EPA and the Department of the Interior.

Trump’s first choice for the EPA, Scott Pruitt, removed the agency’s web page on climate change and fired and barred any independent scientific advisers who had been awarded grants from the E.P.A. The courts found that latter policy to be illegal. Pruitt also rolled back several scientifically-supported policies after holding meetings with executives and lobbyists.

Andrew Wheeler, who succeeded Pruitt,  repeatedly ignored the advice of scientists: he  curbed but refused to ban asbestos; insisted that the health effects of a widely-used pesticide were “unresolved” despite years of agency research proving its danger to infants; and pushing through a policy (which has also died in the courts) to limit the type of health and epidemiological studies that could be used to justify regulations.

The incoming staff has uncovered multiple instances in which agency personnel were told to disregard scientific consensus, and to help favored businesses avoid “problems.”

Competence and integrity in government is incredibly important in the development of environmental policy, just as it is in management of a pandemic. Peoples lives–and the livability of the planet–are at stake. The willingness of the Biden Administration to commit to science, fact and empirical knowledge is incredibly welcome.


  1. And the CDC, FDA, NIH, and Drs. Fauci and Birk and others were pressured to downplay and mislead on COVID, resulting in hundreds of thousands more deaths, thousands of closed businesses, millions of lost jobs — all for political convenience. Aren’t genocide and loss of property rights still considered crimes?

  2. “The Biden administration is taking the unusual step of making a public accounting of the Trump administration’s political interference in science, drawing up a list of dozens of regulatory decisions that may have been warped by political interference in objective research.”

    This action by President Biden’s administration is indeed welcome; undoing 4 years of Trump’s destruction of the EPA is step one to end political interference into future research but…upholding regulations based on years of past research set by the EPA prior to Trump has been ignored for decades. Individual statistics regarding destruction of our environment connected to serious illness, disabilities, birth defect and deaths among humans and animals caused by illegal dumping of hazardous waste throughout this country continue due to protection of corporate profits upheld by administration after administration. Trump’s administration escalated and “outed” the government’s disregard for the environment and human lives using “alternative facts” and claims of “fake news” as Americans died…and continue to die in the Pandemic as the Trump mentality in the public continues. Wearing masks is a simple medically scientific method of providing some level of protection which has become a political issue.

    Reread Nancy Papas’ comments; they hold many truths.

  3. I hate to keep bringing up Nazi Germany, but there is a lesson to be learned here!

    What would’ve happened if the German courts would have still had their independence when the Nazis used the Reichstag fire to decimate their opposition. Now, the Reichstag fire was definitely a false flag operation by Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler. They Used propaganda to have the entirety of the resistance, unions, the press, educators, and religious groups refusing to go along with the program, arrested and sent to prison (concentration) camps! The purging of society was in full effect, and the executions started in earnest.

    New rules and regulations that were green lit by the high courts of Germany, allowed the Chancellor (Adolf Hitler) to continue his elimination of political foes. Not long after, ” Night Of The Long knives” almost a year to the date from the Reichstag fire, eliminated any internal opposition in the German government to the Nazi agenda. I will guarantee you this, we were almost to that point in our own January 6 Reichstag fire/capital event!

    You saw how the attack took place but the GOP claimed it was a false flag operation by and Antifa and Black Lives Matter! Just like the Nazis burned down the Reichstag and claimed the Communists and Unionists the Presse (Lugenpresse) and certain Educators were responsible, along with certain religious groups.

    Does any of this sound familiar? Once, the political opposition was gone, and of course, the courts were packed with loyalists, there was no way to stop Hitler’s agenda.

    Our courts were being packed here, religious groups such as Muslims and Jews have been demonized here, communism and socialism was being demonized here, the press was being attacked here, Faux science, disgraced scientists and doctors were used to rollout conspiracies on the mask wearing and vaccine taking. The propaganda machine supported by the right was steaming full speed ahead.

    I had gotten my vaccination yesterday so did my wife, and, today I really don’t feel like my genetic code has been changed and I am now a communist, as conspiracy theories claim, LOL, unbelievable!

    Just as in Nazi Germany, here, the groundwork was being laid to inter the opposition! To use certain members of the House of Representatives as symbols of the communist and socialist hordes taking over the government! The attempt to get lunatics on the fringe to assassinate opposition was probably a mistake on the part of our current Nazi party, because most of them were incompetent towards the task. But the thought process was to possibly have military involved in this round up as was sampled when Gen. Milley followed trumps orders and cleared Lafayette Square using regular military!

    The uproar was great and prompted the military to reaffirm their oath’s to the Constitution and stay out of politics. So, those guardrails held, unlike in Nazi Germany.

    Fake scientists in Nazi Germany talked about the need to eradicate the genetically inferior Jews, to eradicate the mentally ill, to eradicate genetically inferior mixed race and any non-Aryan resident of Germany or of countries that were conquered by Germany during the war. Like I said, yesterday, just exposing ignorance is not enough, there has to be some action taken during this inflection point! There is still plenty of this Nazi infrastructure existing in this government today, and, it needs to be dismantled root and branch. But it needs to be done in the open!

    They were so close to forming a 4th Reich, and, if not dealt with, the infrastructure that was laid will make the past 4 years look like a picnic not too far down the road. This is a time where fear is the enemy of change. Just changing the language right now is not good enough, it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet hole when major surgery is needed. Is there the taste right now to do it? Or is fear going to paralyze the last opportunity to build a much better society based on truth and honesty, concern for your neighbor, concern for the less fortunate, a society of equals!

    There is a lot of work to do, but historically, great societies have failed to be up to that task, is this society any different? The camel takes advantage of sticking its nose in the tent when there is a lot of turmoil turning the attention away from him, and before you know what the entire camel is in the tent! Prevention would have been easy, but the cure can destroy the tent. So, what to do, what to do!

  4. The hard and fast EPA schedules by which thousands of communities in the U.S. (including Indianapolis) agreed to mitigate their environmental hazards were established by negotiated consent decrees — enforceable by EPA fines for non-compliance that could be $5,000 per day, or higher.

    The Trump administration, and EPA Administrator Wheeler, shook the environmental community when they announced those consent decrees were now open for renegotiation, relaxation, or lengthening of terms.

    In DC (and, we hope, other communities), when delay, or cancellation of a consent decree project was proposed, local government, favoring EPA’s enforced environmental cleanup, stood firm and stopped a movement to delay or abandon consent decree mandates.

  5. Dirk, you report sadness. Indiana presents darkness.
    The Biden admin. presents light.
    And yes, we do need to remember how easily the former guy got there, with the help of (Rupert Murdoch’s), and others’ really fake news. Yesterday, as seen at my gym, Faux News was bemoaning Biden’s tax plan, seemingly incapable of presenting an honest assessment.
    While trump, and his mob, were focused on venality, mendaciousness, and whatever other malignancies they could find, Biden is a breath of fresh air.
    So is this report, and some of the others associated with it:

  6. As much as I’d like to agree that the EPA is back in charge and science is now leading the progressive way, I know the Oligarchy only allows so much regulation. I also read stuff. 😉

    Big Oil knew for decades they were burning up the planet and so did the EPA. How many cases have we read about where the EPA worked with companies to conceal pollution or change the output numbers on pollution spewing from smokestacks?

    I laugh because the 1972 EPA Clean Water Act demanding that stormwater and sewage lines be separated still haven’t been incorporated throughout Indiana, including in front of my house. Indianapolis just started the multi-billion dollar project about 5 years ago. I doubt they’ve completed it. Would you eat a fish caught out of White River?

    Trump was a disaster, but the EPA was never a giant bonus for our environment. They’ve always been subservient to the oligarchy.

    Jane Mayer’s article in the New Yorker on how the Koch-backed network is attacking HR-1 is so-telling how the Koch-network operates.

    Erin Brockovich’s article on the forever chemicals being dumped that are literally killing sperm production.

    “In the United States, a scientific study found phthalate exposure “widespread” in infants, and that the chemicals were found in the urine of babies who came into contact with baby shampoos, lotions and powders. Still, aggressive regulation is lacking, not least because of lobbying by chemical industry giants.”

  7. Revel while ye will…the GOP is favored to take the House in ’22 and has a good shot at the Senate, as well. The time for grassroots work is NOW.

  8. Truth, like science, always wins in the end. Humans aren’t the masters of the universe but creations of reality and therefore subject to the rules continuously revealed by science.

    The harm of religions like politics is that they can interrupt human adaptation to the irresistible forces of nature. What they cost us is time to react. They inhibit action for a time. They slow our response to the overwhelming insistence of nature even if always temporarily.

    I can’t tell ying from yang but whatever worshiping human business is has been replaced by respecting what is over what we wish was.

  9. Philosophically speaking, unregulated capitalism of the Koch libertarian variety that prefers profits over a dying and deformed human society may be our future irrespective of the EPA’s efforts since healthy humans may be unnecessary in a world where robots do the work humans once did. I have trouble digesting how such a Brave New World will operate since a “dying and deformed human society” are presumably consumers, too, and given our Protestant ethic of no work no eat when no work for humans is available, it seems to me that if humans are to control our socioeconomic world down the road that capitalism (at least as currently practiced) has to go.

    Back to topic – I am glad to see that the EPA is publicizing Trump’s total environmental sellout to the makers of chemicals and any other capitalists who want to make money at the expense of public health. I think we need to get a real handle on the poisoning of the public by not only regulatory measures but via criminal law and a “take no prisoners” enforcement of such laws. White River fish are not the only victims of upstream polluters; all riparian interests affected by their discharges are victims as well. Perhaps heavy fines and/or a pollution tax should be considered – and the same goes for the polluters of our atmosphere.

    Thus I am beginning to see springtime ads on TV for Scotts beautiful green lawns in the Missouri-Mississippi basin but no mention of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where such chemicals wind up. Do the Cajun fishermen in the Gulf have a cause of action against Scott, and if not, why not? We have a cause of action against those who profited by the billions in the distribution of opoids, a chemical; so why not an old Rule 23 lawsuit against the makers of chemicals who adversely affect not only the public health but one’s right to make a living?

    But I wander. Yes, go for it, EPA!

  10. Early in his mis-administration Trump hired Carl Icahn to find and eliminate any regulations that got in the way of any businessman making money. Icahn did a stellar job, and much of what he wiped out were EPA regs that sought to keep people alive. Primarily, Icahn eliminated businesses’ need to pay for trashing the environment. Along with the Kochs, “trashing” is one of Trump’s favorite concepts, so he considered Icahn’s mission a roaring success. Nothing makes me happier than Biden’s effort to reverse the damage. But can it be done in a way that prevents the next Republican president (gag) from doing it all over again?

  11. The EPA needs a set of long claws and fangs to over rule any “fluff” maneuvering room the states may have to lower standards. Pollution does not stay confined to one state. We should not ever have another Flint Michigan incident of mass poisoning again.

    The EPA should be solidly staffed especially in the field to reduce any reliance on state inspections. Partnering is fine with the business world by the EPA. However, the businesses need to know the EPA’s partnering does not mean the EPA will help them tip-toe around rules and regulations.

    Finally, the laws governing the EPA should be such that a President or his lackey’s cannot just change via some executive order the rules and regulations.

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