Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has signed a new directive that prevents scientists that are receiving grants from the EPA from serving on the agency’s advisory committees. Pruitt says that this unprecedented move is to remove what he perceives to be a potential bias from the committees, stating that the members of three key EPA boards — the Science Advisory Board, Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and Board of Scientific Counselors — have received an estimated $77 million in agency funding. The move was quickly criticized by scientists and environmentalists as one that would bar the country’s most qualified scientists from these committees, and at the same time leave the door open for Pruitt to appoint industry-friendly members to advise the EPA.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has eliminated virtually all references to climate change on its website, according to a report from the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, published on August 20. Similar removals were made earlier this year to the official pages of the EPA and the White House, in line with the climate-change denial policies espoused by the Trump administration.
News has surfaced that the Environmental Protection Agency is planning on cutting more than 1,200 jobs from the agency by September of this year, keeping in line with President Donald J. Trump’s campaign pledge to dismantle the EPA. This news follows a proposed 31 percent cut to the agency’s budget, and a government-wide hiring freeze affecting potential new employees.
A new equation has been published that has the potential to settle the debate of how big an impact human activity has had on the environment, in comparison to natural forces. This equation, created by the authors that proposed that we’re living in a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene, is meant to offer a mathematical formalization of our everyday discourse regarding global warming — putting hard numbers to what can oftentimes devolve into a nebulous argument — and the result of the equation is alarming.