environmental science

Polticial Bias Versus Scientific Integrity: An Empirical Test

What the effort to pack the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board can teach us.

Many people distrust environmental science, though for different reasons.  Progressives may discount science that they see as supporting business interests.  Meanwhile, conservatives may think scientists come to “politically correct” conclusions in order to get grants. It’s reasonable to think that these things may sometimes happen.  But how strong are these effects? Unwittingly, the Trump Administration …

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Uncertainty in the Age of Coronavirus

There’s a lot we don’t know at this point. How should we deal with that?

Knowledge about the coronavirus is limited but growing. In the meantime, how should we cope with this uncertainty?  I can’t give you psychological advice, but I can say something about how to think about this uncertainty. How to make decisions under uncertainty is something we know a lot about from the environmental sphere. Uncertainty is …

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The Flight From Evidence-Based Regulation

This Administration specializes in arguments for ignoring the evidence.

The Trump Administration’s major deregulatory efforts share a common theme. They assiduously avoid having to rely on scientific or economic evidence. Confronting that evidence is time-consuming and difficult, particularly when it often comes out the other way. Instead, the Administration has come up with clever strategies to shut out the evidence. The effort to repeal …

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Virus Denial

Yet another effort to ignore reality, from the usual players.

We’ve seen this movie before. Scientists warn of a serious threat. But in Trump World, the problem doesn’t exist. It’s just a product of alarmism. First, climate change. Now, the coronavirus, COVID-19. Trump himself has worked hard to minimize the problem. “We have very few people with it,” he said, and ” people are getting …

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Misunderstanding the Law of Causation

Trump’s NEPA proposal flunks Torts as well as Environmental Science 101.

Last week’s NEPA proposal bars agencies from considering many of the harms their actions will produce, such as climate change. These restrictions profoundly misunderstand the nature of environmental problems and are based on the flimsiest of legal foundations. Specifically, the proposal tells agencies they do not need to consider environmental “effects if they are remote …

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Just in From the Supreme Court

The Court refused to hear two cases, but with noteworthy separate opinions.

The Supreme Court declined to hear two cases today.  Neither case was earthshaking, but conservative Justices wrote revealing separate opinions. The case with the greatest import for environmental law was Paul v. U.S. The facts of the case had nothing to do with environmental law, but the issue involved has large implications for environmental statutes. …

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Helping Repair Our Broken Governance System

Our institutions have been battered. How will we be able to fix them?

Much of Trump’s damage to the environment is obvious: his efforts to increase gas and oil production, his regulatory rollbacks, and his efforts to gut the agencies charged with protecting the environment. But he has also done deeper damage to the institutions we need to address climate change and other daunting environmental challenges. These problems …

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The Surprising Mr. DeSantis

Florida’s GOP Governor proves unexpectedly pro-environmental.

There was little reason to expect much from Governor DeSantis. The GOP candidate for Governor was expected to be Adam Putnam, the Agriculture Commissioner. Instead, due to Trump’s personal intervention, Ron DeSantis snagged the nomination. DeSantis pledged to “reduce bureaucracy, eliminate unreasonable regulations and crack down on lawsuit abuse.” He called himself the #1 conservative …

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Trump on the Environment: A Study in Falsehood

Hardly anything Trump says about the environment is actually true, or even arguable.

The Washington Post has a list of false statements by Trump, which turns out to be searchable by topic.  They’ve found that  “In the first eight months of his presidency, President Trump made 1,137 false or misleading claims, an average of five a day.” As of March 17, he was up to 9,179 false statements.  …

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The Questionable Legal Basis of the “Transparency” Proposal

EPA seems unsure of the legal authority for its proposal — and for good reason.

“They sat at the Agency and said, ‘what can we do to reimagine authority under the statutes to regulate an area that we are unsure that we can but we’re going to do so anyway?’” When he said those words, Scott Pruitt was talking about the Obama Administration. But it seems to be a pretty …

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