Christine Todd Whitman, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency under former President George W. Bush, knew science-denier and current EPA chief Scott Pruitt was trouble when he walked in.
“I have been worried about how the Environmental Protection Agency would be run ever since President Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, to oversee it,” Whitman wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “The past few months have confirmed my fears. The agency created by a Republican president 47 years ago to protect the environment and public health may end up doing neither under Mr. Pruitt’s direction.”
From his directive to ban the “double-C word” (climate change) to his department’s personalized attacks on a journalist, Pruitt has provided ample evidence this month alone of his “dangerous” climate change denial.
“All of that is bad enough,” Whitman continues. “But Mr. Pruitt recently unveiled a plan that amounts to a slow-rolling catastrophe in the making: the creation of an antagonistic “red team” of dissenting scientists to challenge the conclusions reached by thousands of scientists over decades of research on climate change.”
The “red team” and their findings, she argues, “will serve only to confuse the public and sets a deeply troubling precedent for policy-making at the E.P.A.”
The devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the wildfires on the West Coast, Whitman said, are “potent reminders of the cost of ignoring climate science.”
“The red team begins with his politically preferred conclusion that climate change isn’t a problem, and it will seek evidence to justify that position,” she wrote. “That’s the opposite of how science works.”
“True science follows the evidence,” Whitman concluded. “The critical tests of peer review and replication ensure that the consensus is sound. Government bases policy on those results. This applies to liberals and conservatives alike.”
Watch Whitman, who’s been sounding the alarm on Pruitt for months, speak about Trump’s EPA chief below, via MSNBC.