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Jeff Sessions, But For the Environment

[ 77 ] February 17, 2017 |

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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  1. Brett says:

    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.

  2. catbirdman says:

    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.

  3. C.V. Danes says:

    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))) says:

      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.

      • C.V. Danes says:

        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 says:

        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.

    • Redwood Rhiadra says:

      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.

  4. 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.

    • C.V. Danes says:

      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?

  5. Matty says:

    Who defected? Manchin and Heitkamp?

    • DrDick says:

      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.

    • wengler says:

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

      • Rob in CT says:

        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 says:

        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 says:

          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 says:

            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 says:

          Life and death situations are where triage is most appropriate.

  6. rewenzo says:

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

  7. tsam says:

    A fox for every henhouse.

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

  8. Merkwürdigliebe says:

    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.

  9. addicted44 says:

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

    • rea says:

      She never thought there was no difference.

      She thought Trump was better.

    • Rob in CT says:

      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.

    • Little Chak says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

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

      • Hogan says:

        No revolution without a dumbass tsar.

      • Asteroid_Strike_Brexit says:

        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 says:

          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 says:

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

  10. NeonTrotsky says:

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

  11. Crusty says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

          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 says:

        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 says:

          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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

      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 says:

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

      • liberalrob says:

        …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 says:

      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 says:

      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.

  12. efgoldman says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

        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 says:

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

  13. Phil Koop says:

    … 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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