ENVIRONMENT

EPA Slams Trump's Climate Change Policy — By Accident

The "oops" statement accused the president of "burying his head in the sand."

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement slamming President Donald Trump’s executive order rolling back climate change protections — but it was all a mistake. The statement, not Trump’s climate policy.

The EPA issued a press release with positive comments from organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute.

But it also included scathing criticism right up top from a senator calling the move “irresponsible” and “irrational,” and accusing Trump of recklessly choosing to “bury his head in the sand.” The statement added: “With the world watching, President Trump and [EPA] administrator Pruitt have chosen to shirk our responsibility, disregard clear science and undo the significant progress our country has made to ensure we leave a better, more sustainable planet for generations to come.”

The quote was misattributed to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a supporter of coal mining who attended Trump’s signing of the order. The statement was actually from Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee and a critic of Trump’s environmental policies. A Carper spokesman quipped to The Hill after the press release that he was “happy to lend his words to a good cause.”

The EPA attributed the mistake to human error. An internal draft was mistakenly sent out with the Carper quotes, the agency said in a statement. A corrected press release was sent later Thursday morning with Capito’s quotes, which said in part that President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan “would have completely decimated West Virginia’s vital coal industry while having no meaningful climate impact.”

EPA spokesman John Konkus apologized for the error, adding that officials “are making sure that our process is improved as we build our team.”

Another disconnect between the Trump administration and the EPA was apparent Wednesday when agency scientist Michael Kravitz criticized his boss Scott Pruitt and what’s happening to the agency charged with protecting the environment in a letter to the editor of The New York Times.

“I am very saddened by what I see these days under an EPA administrator whose role it is to dismantle the agency that he leads,” wrote Kravitz. “Our president comes to the EPA to sign an executive order withdrawing the Clean Power Plan and other environmental policies, and the audience applauds.

“I hope the nightmare ends soon.”

Pruitt on Wednesday rejected a petition from environmental groups to ban the insecticide chlorpyrifos on crops, despite concerns by scientists in Pruitt’s own agency about potentially serious health risks from chlorpyrifos in water and crop residue.

Pruitt also doesn’t believe carbon dioxide is responsible for global warming.

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