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The sudden resignation of Scott Pruitt from the Environmental Protection Agency, following months of ethics investigations and allegations of misbehavior, has prompted a flurry of speculation about where his successor might lead the agency.
The new acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, while not promising any significant shift in policies, is likely to bring differences in tone and tactics. Those changes, in turn, may hint at a modest but significant shift that appears to be already under way within the agency and the Trump administration: a less confrontational stance on climate science.
Time - Deniers - Climate - Change - Administration
“Over time the fervent deniers [of human-influenced climate change] are being pushed out” of the administration, says David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center, a Washington think tank promoting an open and free society. The shift, he says, is a subtle one. But, “maybe they are admitting that, at least as a legal matter, this is now established.”
That change is unlikely to derail the focus on rolling back regulations, a core tenet of the Trump administration. No one expects Mr. Wheeler to change course on unraveling Obama-era emissions restrictions for power and transportation. But abandoning the overt attacks on climate science could eventually pave the way for more constructive conversation about policy to address the threats of climate change.
Priority - Agency - President - Trump - Office
A key priority for the agency since President Trump took office has been dismantling the Clean Power Plan, Barack Obama’s signature mechanism for reducing emissions, under the aegis of the Clean Air Act. But there was significant debate over whether the EPA would seek to scrap the rule completely, or replace it with something weaker.
Ultimately, those advocating for the latter won, and on Monday, the agency sent its proposed replacement to the White House for a review. The plan hasn’t been made public yet, though it reportedly shifts the targets from overall emissions...
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