Cheap Apartments, Loose Regulations, and the Climate Crisis

While the Environmental Protection Agency deals with the fallout of Scott Pruitt’s $50-a-day condo courtesy of lobbyists, they have quietly rolled back Obama-era regulations limiting car tailpipe emissions in yet another blow to the climate movement.

The move includes repealing a mandate that all U.S. cars achieve a 50-mpg standard by 2025. Currently, at least seven environmental groups have filed a joint lawsuit against the EPA over the rollback.

In additional news, despite the fact that over 97% of scientists across the globe agree that climate change is in fact a very real and immediate threat to the survival of our species and virtually every other species on the planet, the EPA has sent a memo to its employees instructing them to use misleading language when discussing climate change and human involvement.

Again, just to clarify, it is the Environmental Protection Agency issuing these rollbacks and memos.

Let’s start untangling this cluster from the top.

In a city where the average rent price per month for a 900 sq. ft. apartment is $2,240, EPA head Scott Pruitt was able to rent an apartment for $50 a night, and only paid for the nights he stayed there.

The apartment was rented to Pruitt by the wife of Steven Hart, the chairman of a highly influential fossil fuel lobby whose pipeline-expansion project was recently approved by Pruitt.

But the EPA argues that $1,000 a month — the average price Pruitt paid — constitutes fair market value, despite it being less than a third of the price of similar apartments in the same area.

Needless to say, the whole scandal has raised many questions and has prompted the White House to “look in to” the matter.

Quickly following the ‘condo scandal’ was the revelation that Pruitt had circumvented White House approval to secure significant pay-raises for his favorite aides by manipulating a section of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The aides received raises of $28,130 and $56,765.

But some scandals come with benefits.

As the nation focuses on the ethical implications of Pruitt’s living arrangements and nepotism, his agency has announced it will roll back auto-emissions standards for cars and light trucks, stating:

“Obama’s EPA cut the midterm evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality and set the standards too high,”  — EPA head Scott Pruitt

Aside from further impeding the nation’s ability to combat catastrophic climate change, the decision to cut back on regulations will undoubtedly create even more tension between the federal government and the state of California, which is already at odds with the current administration over DACA negotiations, recreational cannabis regulation, and sanctuary state laws.

Under the Clean Air Act, which is the legislation that the Environmental Protection Agency just gutted, California was given the authority to determine its own emissions standards.

The state is now threatening to sue the EPA if that authority is revoked.

This would be quite the fight for the EPA, as 12 other states follow California’s standards.

Beyond all the bureaucracy, however, it seems illogical to force any state to follow less restrictive regulations if they are capable of and motivated to achieve higher standards.

That’s like forcing overachieving children to stop doing advanced placement work or engaging in after-school education programs so that they can be on the same level as the lowest-performing student in the class.

It makes no sense.

Why would we force any individual, group, or industry to underachieve when they’re capable of more?

In keeping with the nonsensical decisions and directives, a leaked email sent from the agency’s Office of Public Affairs lists talking points for EPA staff regarding climate change that are, in some cases, less than accurate.

The following points are taken directly from the agency email, which was obtained by HuffPost:

  • Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.

  • While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.

Again, in reality, 97% of the world’s scientists have all concluded that climate change is both real and driven in large part by human activity and emissions.

Considering Pruitt himself actively worked to eliminate language relating to climate change from the EPA website, there’s little to suggest that the agency retains any credibility whatsoever.

This is just a nail in the coffin.

Finally, the cherry atop the climate-disaster-sundae.

New satellite data shows that more than 20% of the Antarctic ice sheet has receded and that more than 10% of the entire continent’s glaciers are also receding, compared to only 2% that are growing.

If the entire Antarctic ice sheet melts, global sea levels will rise as much as, if not more than, 200 feet, rendering a huge percentage of current coastal cities entirely uninhabitable.

If the current administration thinks we’re facing an immigration and refugee crisis now, they are in store for a terrible shock.

Climate change poses a greater threat to global stability than any other issue we currently face, and would cause mass uprooting and migration of entire nations of people whose homelands are no longer livable.

As dangerous as this administration is, and as many threats as they create for their citizens on a daily basis, nothing else will matter if our soil cannot be farmed, if we cannot drink our water, and if we cannot breathe our air.

We absolutely must unite to fight climate change and take back the EPA, or we will lose everything.

 

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