The EPA is a federal branch of government, meaning they provide a service for the entire U.S of A. (unlike state or local government). That’s a lot of environment to have to protect. Employees here are scientists, engineers, mathematicians and policy makers. Together, they do research on the environmental impacts of things like Methane and Carbon in the atmosphere, electric vehicles, pesticides and herbicides, desalination of oceans… they do it all! Their role is to protect our environment (and human health since the two are related)! They’re basically trying to make sure our water and air is safe enough to drink, breathe, live and thrive in. You may know them for some of their work: Energy Star, WaterSense, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the list goes on. They also clean up SuperFund sites which despite the peppy name, are highly hazardous cancer causing areas of land (think old landfills, power plants, etc.). So ya. Pretty important stuff. If you like breathing clean air, or drinking clean water. I don’t know. Sort of important.
Past EPA Administrators
Okay, so now that you understand how important this organization and people are for the environment and our health, let’s check out the head peeps running the damn thang (and why we’re screwed). The EPA is run by an “Administrator”, which is elected by the President, to direct the thousands of employees and make sure things are headed in the right direction. It’s a position I’ve secretly dreamed of having. The EPA’s been around since the 1950’s and we are now into our 13th Administrator. The past few have been total bosses.
Lisa Jackson (’09-’13) – Ms. Jackson was a chemical engineer that had worked for the EPA for 16 years before being elected to run it. At one point, she served as New Jersey’s Commissioner of the Department of the Environment. Lucky woman got offered a position from Apple and quickly moved to Silicon Valley to escape public servant work forever. There, she serves as their environmental director.
Gina McCarthy (current) – Once Ms.Jackson bounced out for Apple, Obama elected Gina to oversee the EPA. Her 25-year career as a public administrator (government worker aka civil servant), environmental advisor to 5 Mass. governors, and an environmental health and air quality expert had primed her for this role.
Which brings us to present day post-apocalyptic 2016 presidential election (kidding. Not kidding?). In the same month that 197 country/territories met to discuss the quick needed action planning for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, we have Donald Trump electing the next up to run the EPA. Who’s to be our fearless leader? Myron Ebell.
Who dat? Mr.Ebell is a well-known climate change denier, which is actually exactly as gnar as it sounds. Under the Bush Administration, there were emails found from Ebell advising the late President to essentially take down the EPA. His emails read “the EPA guys are to be tackled as high up as possible”. Basically, this means take down the leaders. So now this bastard Myron is running the EPA. What a slap in the face America. It seems like this guy has been worming his way through politics for decades. Well actually, he has. About 20 years ago he helped write the Global Climate Science Communication Plan aimed at persuading “a majority of the American public” that “significant uncertainties exist in climate science”, intending to convince the public and policymakers that the science was faulty and could be ignored.
What about his education, maybe he studied science since he seems to be such an expert? Not really. He got a BA in Philosophy from Colorado College and a Masters in Political Theory. What about the rest of his political career, you wonder? He’s also worked for tobacco king Phillip Morris on policy work. About 20 years ago he did work with Senator Malcom Wallop on criticizing the Endanger Species Act. He’s open about his opinion that climate change is a hoax, however he’s admitted that cold areas will get colder and warm areas will get warmer. If that’s not climate change, than what is? But when he has big energy companies in his back pocket, I guess he’ll say whatever makes him a paycheck.
One thing we can be sure of – he supports fossil fuel development and undermining Obama’s efforts towards climate change. In case you haven’t been paying attention – fossil fuel burning is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. I could go on and on – but I think you get the point. His intentions are questionable, to say the absolute least.
Intrigued? Keep learning:
National Geographic – The Global Dangers of Trump’s Climate Denial
Cosmopolitan Magazine – 9 Infuriating Things You Need To Know About the Man…