Following a new study estimating that almost 5,000 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria, Sunday news shows completely ignored the devastation and death toll that is 72 times higher than the government’s official number of 64.
“We don’t want to do nothing and just sit there and let the climate get worse,” Gov. Jerry Brown said last year. California is at particular risk from global warming, which will inundate low-lying areas of its 840-mile coastline with rising salt water while fostering more droughts and wildfires inland.
It was a warm Monday afternoon in late February. Thousands of teachers, public school employees and supporters rallied on the steps of West Virginia’s Capitol building, on the banks of the Kanawha River in Charleston. Schools in all 55 counties were closed again. Teachers, cooks and janitors were in the third day of a strike. They wanted pay raises and a fix to the skyrocketing cost of their health insurance.
It’s easy to tell when the Trump administration has nasty plans for the environment. The officials in charge spare the places where they or their political allies operate. The examples are as egregious as they are bizarre. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is on a big push to transfer large chunks of federal land to various Western states. Just not in his state of Montana.
In tests conducted in late 2017, one in three coal-fired power plants nationwide detected “statistically significant” amounts of contaminants, including harmful chemicals like arsenic, in the groundwater around their facilities. This information, which utility companies had to post on their websites in March, became public for the first time under an Obama-era environmental rule regulating coal ash, the waste generated from burning coal.
Billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch were caught taking a victory lap to celebrate their own success in getting the Trump administration to deliver on their wildest dreams. The Kochs have profited handsomely from businesses that are massive polluters. Their companies produce more climate pollution than even major oil companies like Chevron and Shell.
“According to the Government Accountability Office, the EPA did not comply with the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act by spending more than $5,000 on the phone booth without notifying Congress,” ABC News reports. “By failing to provide such advance notice, EPA violated section 710 of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act.”
Pruitt’s trips included spending taxpayer dollars to repeatedly fly home to Oklahoma on the weekends, as well as visit other destinations, last year. Pruitt also regularly demanded that his flights be booked on Delta airlines — even when the federal government didn’t have a government carrier contract with Delta — because Pruitt wanted to bank as many frequent flyer miles as possible.
Scott Pruitt’s ethical woes at EPA, while alarming, should not divert Americans attention from the profound harm he is causing. Moral charges against Trump’s EPA chief obscure real crimes against the American people: Trump’s betrayal by obfuscating EPA’s statutory principles to protect human health and our natural resources.