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Jeff Sessions, But For the Environment

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coal

Scott Pruitt is indeed towards the “particularly deplorable” end of the spectrum or the Cabinet of Deplorables:

Later this week, the Senate is expected to hand over control of the Environmental Protection Agency to environmentalists’ worst nightmare. Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general, has spent his career waging legal battles against clean air, climate, and water regulations. He has sued the EPA more than a dozen times, participating in what The New York Times described as “an unprecedented, secretive alliance” with fossil fuel companies to fight Obama-era environmental regulations. He has helped collect millions in political donations from the very industries he will be tasked with regulating. He’s called climate science a “religious belief,” and his official biography even boasts that he’s “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”

Given all this, liberals ought to be as furious about Pruitt as they were about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, two other cabinet picks whose expressed ideologies are at odds with agencies they were chosen to head.

Alas, as Pierce says the fact that Collins has been released to cast a meaningless symbolic vote against him to mollify her suckers constituents presumably means his confirmation is in the bag.

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  • Brett

    It’s no mystery why scientists at the EPA have been frantically trying to back up all the data and research off-site ever since Trump won in November. They may have pulled it off, too, along with setting up trackers to monitor changes in the EPA websites when Pruitt takes over.

    • Brett

      Blargh, I butchered that link.

      • liberalrob

        Somebody must’ve fixed it, worked fine.

  • catbirdman

    We get to see 3,000 of his emails the moment after he takes the reins. As with everything involving these jerks, it will be interesting and horrifying.

  • Sadly, this pick may be the most disastrous cabinet pick of them all. We have a small window to turn things around before catastrophic climate change is baked into the equation. I would say now that global civilization is probably done for for the next 1000 years or so.

    • (((Malaclypse)))

      Longer than that. I don’t see how you leapfrog from 18th-century tech to photovoltaic or fusion energy without using fossil fuels as a stepping stone. There’s only one bite at that apple.

      • It depends on how much is still left in the ground before global warming takes a hammer to large-scale civilization. If we succeed in burning it all, that would put CO2 over 1000ppm, which would melt all ice in the planet and literally make human survival too hot for anywhere but the poles. If crunch time came at 500-600ppm, it would still destroy global civilization, but there would be enough left in the ground for a restart once things leveled out again.

      • SNF

        Right. We might just have to hope that an intelligent race pops up on another planet that handles civilization better than we did. We kinda blew it.

        • I wouldn’t count humans out just yet, but we’ve probably delayed going to Mars by a couple thousand years.

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      I figured it was too late to save civilization a decade ago. Right now we’re just trying to limp along for as long as we can.

  • It always takes more time to repair damage rather than cause it. But this is especially true in the case of the planet. Four years of disaster can mean thousands if not tens of thousands of years of after effects.

    • CO2 concentrations above 600ppm in the workplace start to cause cognitive effects, and concentrations above 800ppm cause ‘sick building’ syndrome. In a building you can go outside and get some fresh air. What are we going to do when there is nowhere to escape 600ppm or above?

  • Matty

    Who defected? Manchin and Heitkamp?

    • Thom

      Yes.

    • DrDick

      But of course! The folks back in the hollers of West Virginia are all going to be so happy as they die of heavy metals poisoning.

      • But they’ll reason that it’s better to die of that in 20 years than starvation now, ignoring the vast middle ground.

        • Area Man

          Coal mining in WV employs about 20,000 people out of a population of 1.85 million. It’s time we stopped pretending that people like Manchin are just trying to protect jobs.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            It’s not the number of employees. It’s the number of VOTES. And a lot of voters in WV who aren’t actually employed as miners romanticize the fuck out of the industry and won’t allow it to be touched.

    • Meathooks McGee
      • UserGoogol

        In all fairness, most senators look like the bumbling villains from a bad Nickelodeon movie.

    • wengler

      We can’t primary them! We need them!!!111one11!!one11

      • Rob in CT

        Again, the questions are: 1) would a primary attempt be successful (and I guess we need to agree on what success looks like – is it actually having the challenger win, or could it include simply scaring the incumbents); and 2) if successful, what happens in the general?

        Because as shit as Manchin is, he voted for a lot of good things during the Obama years and a GOP replacement wouldn’t have.

      • NoMoreAltCenter

        It is so surreal that Manchin just voted for something that may have literally helped doom the human species to extinction and people are still playing national party tactics.

        • Little Chak

          It is surreal to you that it is not currently possible to elect a pro-environment, anti-coal Democrat in West Virginia? Okay…

          What certainly should not be surreal is people disagreeing about how best to stop the Republicans and their agenda (which includes an assault on environmental protections). Part of that involves holding a majority in the Senate. That isn’t possible if we hold West Virginia Senators to New York / California / etc. standards.

          With a Democratic president, and 50 Democratic senators, a Manchin can be bargained with on an EPA head who is going to be aggressive on protecting the environment. With 51 Senators, he can be given the green light to do a meaningless Collins protest vote. With 49 Senators — because he was primaried out of spite — his Republican replacement can’t be bargained with, and you can be damn sure that McConnell will do everything in his power to get those 51 Senators to toe the line.

          • liberalrob

            What’s surreal to me is this (Elk River Spill) and this (Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster) not to mention this (WV Mine Disasters 1884 to Present) not being enough to convince the people of West Virginia that maybe this coal mining thing isn’t so good for them after all.

        • UserGoogol

          Life and death situations are where triage is most appropriate.

  • rewenzo

    Still baffled as to why Joe Manchin feels the need to be the 52nd vote to confirm an EPA administrator.

    • Rob in CT

      Coal, I presume.

      • He couldn’t have just had a dentist appointment during the vote? Wouldn’t it have been enough for the folks back home to just not vote against Pruitt?

        • farin

          Apparently West Virginians care about (1)racism and (2)coal and literally zero other things.

          • Manny Kant

            This seems stupid to me. His opponent is going to run ads that say “Joe Manchin voted against A Guy You’ve Never Heard Of to be Head of EPA”?

  • tsam

    A fox for every henhouse.

    It’s going to take a long time to repair this damage–assuming we get the chance to.

    • I have a feeling that we just missed our chance.

  • Merkwürdigliebe

    Here we are really getting into the category of omnicidal evil. Right after starting a global nuclear holocaust, this is probably the worst thing anyone can participate in.

    I hope Jill Stein is happy.

  • addicted44

    So does Jill Stein, nominated by the Green Party, still feel there is no difference between Trump and Clinton?

    • rea

      She never thought there was no difference.

      She thought Trump was better.

      • nixnutz

        I think for people with that mentality innocent people getting fucked over or killed just feeds their I-told-you-so righteousness. It’s Munchausen by proxy on a global level.

        • TroubleMaker13

          I like this, but I don’t think it fully captures the latent contempt. Those people aren’t really innocent because they failed to acknowledge the obvious righteousness of The One True Left. They must pay for their sins.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            You can’t build the Glorious Worker’s Paradise without breaking a few million eggs.

      • She and trump were dancing for the same puppet master; she was just in the left hand.

        • tsam

          Oh I like this. Well done.

    • Rob in CT

      This right here is why I will never take the Green party the slightest bit seriously.

      The Environment is their #1 issue, supposedly. There is a vast chasm separating the two major parties on the #1 environmental problem we face (and indeed on many other lesser but still important environmental issues). The Dems are imperfect – more needs to be done, but more would be done if people elected more Democrats.

      Someone who looks at that situation and sincerely thinks “not a dime’s worth of difference” is a blithering idiot. Stein, of course, is a grifter. Whether she’s a sincere idiot or acting the fool for money… I don’t care.

      • FMguru

        It was clear in 2000 when they mobilized to make sure that oilmen Bush and Cheney were put in the White House instead of the one Senator who understood the critical threat that global warming posed and was willing to take action.

        • Rob in CT

          Yeah, that’s true. I was just dumber then (and much, much less knowledgeable about environmental issues).

        • BigHank53

          Better no planet at all than one that’s been saved by one of them.

        • D.N. Nation

          Ralph Nader owning Halliburton stock was mere coincidence.

        • liberalrob

          the one Senator who understood the critical threat

          Bill Bradley?

          Gore was the sitting Vice President.

    • Little Chak

      It should be obvious that someone who gives a speech to employees at a Wall Street investment bank would also have appointed a Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.

    • Marlowe

      I believe that Stein, as well as that brilliant political philosopher Susan Sarandon, are pretty much Leninists: the onset of the Glorious Revolution will be better engendered by having the nation led by the worst possible choice, the better to spur on the peasants and pitchforks. A competent neo-liberal sellout like Clinton (I emphasize that is their view, not mine) would have only papered over the cracks in the status quo and allowed it to continue longer.

      They and their like-minded followers are not only despicable but are political dolts. Sarandon is probably worse, as evidenced again by her appearance with Chris Hayes this week. (Disclaimer: I’ve only read summaries; neither my budget nor my body could withstand the amount of liquor I’d need to consume after actual seeing and hearing her–or Der Drumpfenfuhrer.) I’m only the ten millionth person to make this comment, but the thought of this smug idiot serenely sitting in her mansion awaiting the revolution while millions suffer the consequences is infuriating.

      • Rob in CT

        Leninists to the Left of me, Leninists to the Right, here I am…

      • Hogan

        No revolution without a dumbass tsar.

      • Asteroid_Strike_Brexit

        Too many in the far left cannot see the difference between ‘bad’ (even if one assumes Clinton was bad) and ‘worse’, and vote accordingly. Stein, in addition to that, is a Russian agent of influence. She constantly obscured the difference between Clinton and Trump, and after the election decided to protest about the result of the vote after the NSA declared it valid. The whole purpose was to cast doubt on the election process. I understand she appeared on RT to talk about exactly that issue. Did she not also meet fucking Uncle Vlad in Moscow along with Mike Flynn?

        • Rob in CT

          I’d wager a fair % of Green votes are actually not from far leftists, too.

          I mean, the one time I voted Green I wasn’t actually particularly left wing. I was vaguely pro-protecting the environment, vaguely pro-free market/trade/low taxes, and socially liberal. My political views were a confused mishmash, but included “down with the 2 major parties” because it sounded cool or something. Thinking back I can’t come up with why.

          Anyway, I doubt I was the only one of that type, in that election cycle or any other.

          Put another way: the Greens are unserious flakes and they will attract votes from people who are unserious flakes, with ideology being only a weak factor (because… unserious flakes).

        • The Lorax

          I linked this above, but here’sa bit on her ties to RT.

  • NeonTrotsky

    This guy is a from a state who’s environmental policy is literally causing earthquakes.

    • liberalrob

      Not according to him!

      Fucking Geology, how does it work?

  • Crusty

    There are some issues where I don’t understand how one got to be conservative and one got to be liberal or republican and democrat. The environment is one of them. What is conservative about wanting to live in a polluted, unlivable shit hole (I’m referring to the planet, not the idea of just sticking the pollution in someone else’s neighborhood)? Now, I sort of understand how telling a business they can’t just dump their toxic shit in the nearest river increases their costs and qualifies as the gubmint with its boot on the neck of small bidness and freedom and such, but after Mr. Burns leaves the plant, he’s still gotta live in Springfield too. It may have more to do with the general idea of just being a greedy, disgusting pig, which some elevate to the highest patriotic virtue.

    • Rob in CT

      Because there’s really no “Conservative” way to protect the environment. The libertarian answer is hilariously pathetic: oh, just sue. Property rights! Yeah, ok.

      Regulation – forcing businesses to be careful & clean up after themselves – is the only answer. And in the case of carbon, forcing the internalization of costs (via a carbon tax, cap & trade, whatever) has to happen. All of that amounts to government interference in the Holy Market, Profit Be Unto It.

      but after Mr. Burns leaves the plant, he’s still gotta live in Springfield too

      But no, he doesn’t. The real life Burns is a shareholder living on an estate in Wyoming or something and never goes within 100 miles of the plant.

      • Crusty

        While you’re right, there’s no “conservative” way to protect the environment, I guess I figure that there’s a conservative- maybe more culturally conservative or something- to the idea that we should take care of the planet and not treat it as something to be pissed away til its good and done. I see a religious dimension and also the romance of the regular ‘murican working his family farm. The national parks too- now I know the conservative take is we don’t need the federal gubmint running resorts, that’s for the private sector, but more generally, I see the idea that beautiful tracts of land might be preserved and enjoyed as something appealing to conservatives- the uptight, fuddy duddy type, who might prefer a vacation to see old faithful in yellowstone, rather than visiting disneyland or effete, liberal, weakling France.

        • Rob in CT

          Sure, if we define conservative to mean careful, cautious, seeking to preserve that which is good, accepting change is a fact of life but seeking to avoid harmful change/too fast change… you get the rightward half of the current Democratic Party.

      • addicted44

        Why isn’t cap and trade, or even maybe a carbon tax for that matter (since it’s taxing externalities) a conservative solution for pollution (for a reasonable conservative, which pretty much excludes the entire American right).

        • The Lorax

          They gave up Econ 101 in the early 90s. Plus half of them don’t believe in the externalities.

          I’ve decided that the most important thing right now is to make sure that the both-sides-do-it media isn’t around in 500 years. Because a picture of asshole Jim Inhofe on the floor of the Senate with a snowball needs to be put high up on billboards in coastal cities around the country (so that they aren’t washed away).

    • Just_Dropping_By

      There are conservative environmentalists, but they’re more commonly European: https://www.amazon.com/Think-Seriously-About-Planet-Environmental/dp/0199895570/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

      • DAS

        My dad was a conservative. And an environmentalist. When Reagan got elected he knew there was no place for someone like him in the GOP (although for all I know he may still be registered Republican, but he was a RINO starting in 1981 if not earlier).

    • howard

      like so many other aspects of our politics, it’s an outgrowth of the great ideological sorting of the parties.

      and in particular, as soon as degree of liberal support emerges for anything, the conservative movement by sheer self-definition must oppose it.

      • SNF

        Keep in mind that eating vegetables instead of fast food is now a liberal thing, because Michelle Obama supported kids eating healthy.

      • liberalrob

        …as soon as degree of liberal support emerges for anything, the conservative movement by sheer self-definition must oppose it.

        You could say, therefore, that the “conservative movement” is reactionary.

        In the 19th century, reactionary denoted people who idealized feudalism and the pre-modern era—before the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution—when economies were mostly agrarian, a landed aristocracy dominated society, a hereditary king ruled and the Roman Catholic Church was society’s moral centre. Those labelled as reactionary favoured the aristocracy instead of the middle class and the working class. Reactionaries opposed democracy and parliamentarism.

    • liberalrob

      What is conservative about wanting to live in a polluted, unlivable shit hole

      Nothing. “Conservatism” means “preserving my way of life, my social and metaphysical beliefs, and most importantly my money and property.” Conservatism != Conservationism. Nobody wants to live in a polluted shithole, but I’ll have enough money to buy my way out of it; if you want out of it too, don’t ask me to pay for it. Besides, even if I cared about the planet, for various reasons I don’t believe it will become unlivable; you just want to regulate me to hold me down.

      That’s the thinking.

    • Kerans

      This land is your land
      This hand is my hand
      This middle finger
      Tells you to pound sand
      From the redwood pipeline
      To the Gulfstream oil slick
      This land was made to profit me.

  • efgoldman

    Aren’t the cost curves of extracted carbon vs eco-friendly energy close to crossing? Businesses are going to make the most economically sensible decisions. That’s why, no matter what Bittersweet Bluster says, coal’s not coming back in West Virginia.

    • Rob in CT

      With subsidies, yes, some renewables have hit parity or are actually nosing ahead. A particular kind of utility-grade solar (I assume in the most solar-friendly locations) and Wind. Other types are still more expensive (often MUCH more), even with subsidies.

      Unsubsidized, nothing has quite hit parity, but it’s coming.

      This has the rundown and is worth reading in full (David Roberts is excellent on this stuff):

      http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/12/22/14022114/solar-year-two-remarkable-facts

      There still the variability issue.

      None of the above saves coal, at least for US consumption.

      • thequeso

        Storage prices are going to come down significantly over the next five years and turn wind (now) and solar (later) into true replacements for coal.

        Assuming state regulators don’t turn renewable plant investments into stranded assets after the CPP is struck down and bankrupt everybody who invested in them in good faith.

      • guthrie

        Of course, the subsidy is merely a way of making up the price differential when the fossil fuel prices don’t include the social cost of the CO2 emitted. Last i read it should be up around $100 a tonne, which would make a difference to the comparative price with renewables.

    • SNF

      What happens if the federal government starts heavily subsidizing coal, though?

  • Phil Koop

    … has spent his career waging legal battles against clean air, climate, and water regulations.

    Welp, I guess I can just reuse yesterday’s comment here.

    And the President said to Kit CarsonScott Pruitt:
    “Take my best four horsemen please
    And ride out to the four directions,
    Make my great lands barren for me”

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