EPA administrator Scott Pruitt [photo from 2014]
When top U.S. scientists released the fourth National Climate Assessment, it spelled out one blunt conclusion: human activity in releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere caused the climate change that has warmed the globe.
Mandated for release every four years, the report will apparently have no sway over EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, a fossil-fuel proponent and climate-science denier.
Pruitt plans to move forward in dismantling initiatives to curb CO2 production, specifically the Clean Power Act enacted by his agency under President Obama.
In his first public comments since the report's release, Pruitt said, "We’re taking the very necessary steps to evaluate our authority under the Clean Air Act and we’ll take steps that are required to issue a subsequent rule. That’s our focus."
The EPA chief argued in an interview that Congress does not give the EPA the authority to enact a regulation such as the Clean Power Act.
Coal-fired Nanticoke Generating Station, Ontario, Canada, now being converted to 44-MW solar farm
He added, "Does [the National Climate Assessment] have any bearing on that? No it doesn’t."
"It doesn’t impact the withdrawal and it doesn’t impact the replacement," USA Today reported Pruitt as saying on Wednesday.
Critics of Pruitt slammed his comments, calling them factually untrue.
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They noted that the U.S. Supreme Court had "unequivocally" recognized EPA’s authority to enact regulations tsuch as the Clean Power Act fully a decade ago.
The highest court in the country not only permitted the EPA to act to limit carbon emissions, it required it to do so. The Clean Power Act was a major element of the agency's response.
David Doniger, a climate-change expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said "The National Climate Assessment has sounded a five-alarm fire bell, and Scott Pruitt pretends he can’t hear it."
Chrome exhaust pipe
Chrome exhaust pipe
The current EPA head famously sued to block the Clean Power Act as Oklahoma's attorney general.
Pruitt has vigorously carried out President Trump's deregulatory agenda at the EPA; the current U.S. president has called climate science a "hoax" created by the Chinese to hurt U.S. industry, among other statements.
Pruitt's actions include the dismantling of the Clean Power Act, a review of carbon-emission limits from vehicles, and meetings with countless heads of fossil-fuel and manufacturing industries.
President Trump has also said the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, leaving the nation as the only country in the world uncommitted to the global pact.
The final nation invited to join, Syria, signaled its intent to join earlier this week, marking the extremely rare occasion where Syria has proven able to embarrass the U.S. in an international forum.
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