Donald Trump plans to ban the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from funding science, and “overhaul” its use of science from outside groups, according to a Monday report published in Axios.
The EPA is the agency charged with protecting America’s clean air and water, and under former President Barack Obama, it took significant steps to combat climate change.
Axios reporters Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen say they got a “sneaky peek” at the Trump transition team’s action plan for the agency. They did not publish the full plan, but summarized it and included this key excerpt:
“EPA does not use science to guide regulatory policy as much as it uses regulatory policy to steer the science. This is an old problem at EPA. In 1992, a blue-ribbon panel of EPA science advisers that [sic] ‘science should not be adjusted to fit policy.’ But rather than heed this advice, EPA has greatly increased its science manipulation.”
In response, Swan and Allen write, Trump’s team plans to ban the EPA from funding its own science, and set new rules about how science can be used in policy decisions.
It’s not immediately clear who wrote the action plan, though Axios sources it to the transition team. Trump’s transition team was led by Myron Ebell, a man who has made a career denying the science of climate change.
This report landed on the same day as an article published in The Wall Street Journal that reports Trump plans to stop federal agencies from studying the greenhouse gas impacts of new projects.
As Axios notes, all of this overhauling may not be as easy as it sounds. Some EPA rules can’t be changed without support from Congress. Furthermore, Trump’s administration could face pushback from current EPA staff in disagreement over the proposed direction of the agency.
In November, then-president elect Trump told The New York Times, “Clean air is vitally important. Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important. Safety is vitally important.”
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