EPA Staff Still Wasting Time on Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The New York Times is calling censorship, that EPA management has cancelled a trip by three staff scientists to speak at a climate conference. My question – why does the NYT think EPA staff scientists have the right to dictate how they spend their work hours?

E.P.A. Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists

By LISA FRIEDMANOCT. 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved.

John Konkus, an E.P.A. spokesman and a former Trump campaign operative in Florida, confirmed that agency scientists would not speak at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence. He provided no further explanation.

The move highlights widespread concern that the E.P.A. will silence government scientists from speaking publicly or conducting work on climate change. Scott Pruitt, the agency administrator, has said that he does not believe human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are primarily responsible for the warming of the planet.

Mr. Munns confirmed that E.P.A. officials would not be participating in the meeting but did not explain why. Mr. Konkus, the agency spokesman, did not respond to questions about whether the conference’s focus on climate change was a factor in canceling the appearances.

He said in an email that E.P.A. scientists may attend the program, but not the morning news conference. He later clarified saying, “E.P.A. staff will not be formally presenting at either.”

Since August, all E.P.A. grant solicitations have gone through Mr. Konkus’s office for review, according to a directive first obtained by E & E News. Mr. Konkus served on President Trump’s campaign before he was appointed deputy associate administrator in E.P.A.’s Office of Public Affairs. At the time, agency officials said they were ensuring agency funding is in line with Mr. Pruitt’s priorities.

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is funded through the E.P.A.’s approximately $26 million National Estuary Program. It funds 28 state-based estuary programs and delivers about $600,000 annually to the Narragansett Bay program. Mr. Pruitt’s proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate the national program.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/climate/epa-scientists.html

No doubt the three scientists affected by this decision will immediately resign their well paid government jobs in protest and speak at the conference as private citizens.

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89 thoughts on “EPA Staff Still Wasting Time on Climate Change

      • Why pay scientists if you don’t let them talk about their subject of research or their expertise? If you pay them to do the research then it seems like a waste of time and money not to let them tell the public about it.

      • I think the point is the research they are commenting on is no longer part of the EPA brief. The government has a right to change the brief of organizations they control and you have the right to elect a new government when the time arises. That is how democracies work.

      • Why pay scientists if you don’t let them talk about their subject of research or their expertise? If you pay them to do the research then it seems like a waste of time and money not to let them tell the public about it.

        I agree Germonio. EPA is a regulatory enforcement agency, not a scientific research body. The scientists should be free to pursue their vocational preferences accordingly, including applying for a more fulfilling job elsewhere. Win-win.

      • eck, you are right. There is no “muzzle” on these scientists. All they need to do is take leave, pay their fares, and go talk. And, Germonio, what makes you think that I, a tax payer, think that it is something I want to pay for – their giving a speech while I am paying them to do research? they have time off and annual leave they can use to run their mouths all they want as private citizens, and without using their ties to the EPA as some sort of label of expertise.

      • The move highlights widespread concern that the E.P.A. will silence government scientists from speaking publicly or conducting work on climate change.

        The EPA can only “silence” people employed by the EPA. It was never the EPAs job to “conduct work” on climate change aka anthropogenic climate change , aka CO2 .

        The job if EPA is stopping lead contamination of the public water supply and stopping toxic output from mines devastating US rivers.

        Did any one “silence government scientists ” or prevent them from “conduct work” in Flint Michigan or on the King Gold mine?

        Just wondering.

        Maybe they need to be told to stop staring at the sky and get back down to earth.

    • My reading of the article says the EPA people can attend they just can’t make a formal presentation. That doesn’t shut them up. They can still voice their personal opinions at the conference, just not as an official government position.

      • But not on EPA time getting paid for speaking their own personal opinions? If the Trump administration position is such and such, they can’t start giving their personal opinions and still stay employed.

      • Jeez, how biased do you have to be to not recognise that these are politicians acting on their own political motives to stop their own agency doing its job because that would inconvenience them. What has Pruitt got to lose by letting these scientists do what they were planning to do? What does he have to gain by stopping them?
        Does he know their report is flawed? If so, he has not said so or how it is.
        Stop excusing such flagrantly corrupt political interference in the business of government. It serves no one but Pruitt, Trump and their coatery of business insiders who will stop or silence anyone who threatens their plans to make themselves and their buddies richer, faster, no matter the cost to you, your environment or your health,

    • Under Obama, skeptics were not kept from speaking…they were dismissed, belittled, demeaned, defunded blacklisted and fired.
      For starters.
      But yeah…being prevented from spreading alarmist misinformation on the public dime is way worse.
      *rolls the eyes*

    • I’m sure they are free to air their own views. They just are not free to air their views and represent them as the views of the EPA. The EPA has for too long been staffed by true believers. It is difficult to get rid of them, but at least they are beginning to restrict their ability to represent a position no longer supported by the leadership of the EPA. It is long past due that the EPA stops presenting belief as fact.

    • They are free to take personal vacation time and present whatever they like, as long as it is at their own expense and clearly state that they do NOT represent the EPA. No one is “silencing” them.

    • You are wrong. The EPA should not be spending any funds on things that are not important. Period. Since there really is no such thing as a climate scientists (they made it up to pretend to be different from other areas.

    • Geronimo said “Why pay scientists if you don’t let them talk about their subject of research or their expertise?

      They DON’T need or have to travel that will result in the unnecessary burning of fossil fuels. They can use Skype or a Skype-like service instead to talk about their work.

      Problem solved (and gas saved!)

    • They are free to resign and go to whatever conference they want. Since these are obviously political AGW hacks, why do they still have a job on the taxpayer dime?

  1. From the article: “The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is funded through the E.P.A.’s approximately $26 million National Estuary Program. It funds 28 state-based estuary programs and delivers about $600,000 annually to the Narragansett Bay program. Mr. Pruitt’s proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate the national program.”

    Good! Lots of programs need to be eliminated. It’s about time we started cutting a little bit of the fat out of government spending, considering half the money the U.S. government spends every day is borrowed money. Pretty soon the annual interest payments on the debt will exceed the U.S. national defense budget.

    • The amount of money that the government receives in the form of taxes, fees, borrowings, etc., must be greater than the amount that is spent on “programs.” Thus, perpetual deficits and a permanently over-burdened economy and country.

      THINK EVICTION, NOT SECESSION.

      • When the fed tap is there, taxes fees ect dont have to be greater at all, Obama borrowed about 18 trillion, and your kids kids kids kids will pay it back.

        Good old communism with a checkbook

      • “Obama borrowed about 18 trillion”

        Todays math lesson for Mark:
        ..
        January 20, 2009, Federal debt was $10.6 trillion
        January 20, 2017 it was $18.517
        ….
        18.517 – 10.6 = 7.917

  2. “Their views”? As employees of the EPA and the administration,.. “their positions (Views) ought be those of the administration. IF they decide they cannot align with the direction, their option is to resign and then present their views a private citizens. IF they want to present the views of the EPA,.. they should have their presentation, positions and rationale reviewed and approved by the administrative chain of command. IF they are in discord with the direction of the administration,… they should NOT take the day off and travel,. but spend their day working in the office and attempting to understand the position and reconcile. If that is not doable,.. resignation in protest would seem appropriate. I abhor paying for activists within government using tax payer dollars to promote their views/beliefs outside of the administrative direction.

    • Who said anything about presenting their views? They are presumably presenting their reseach. Completely different. They are I assume paid to do research and it is ridiculous not to let them present it.

      • LOL. At the EPA, there are no “scientists” – and certainly no “research” happening.

        Greenpeace, Sierra Club, WWF, etc. produced the propaganda that these people would be presenting – let them pay for it. Actually, let them pay the salaries, too. Or for the RICO defense, which is what should be occupying the time of these “scientists.”

      • Some people don’t understand the differences between academic versus other types of employment. Academic freedom applies to people who work for academic institutions, not to people who work for other industries or governmental agencies.

        If people want that type of freedom, they need to get into academia. Failing that, they could work for non-profits which share their point of view. Of course the pay will probably be lower, along with less job security. Not to mention that they will probably lose those positions if they come to a different viewpoint than their new employers.

      • Germonio- You need to understand the point that Jaakko Kateenkorva made at October 23, 2017 at 3:58 am above. The EPA is a regulatory enforcement agency, not a research organization. They do not do basic research. Their “scientists” (staff with a graduate degrees in the basic sciences) are there to support the development and enforcement of EPA regulations. The EPA scientists I worked for as a contractor did exactly that.

      • Sounds like Trump wants to enforce a separation between Church and State. The Church of Climastrology will have to fund the missionaries to spread the gospel.

      • Germonio, when it comes to climate subject matter, it is 100% political mixed with science fiction. The so-called research is predetermined to support the AGW position. If it doesn’t, it does not get funded. That is NOT science. The sooner we can get rid of such programs and the people who support them, the better our country (and world) will be.

  3. The EPA is the sort of agency, like the Fish and Wildlife Service, that tends to attract environmental activists. Let them attend on their own money, and with no official endorsement.

  4. Umm…Trebla, if the scientists under Mr Obama’s watch were spouting non scientific views, then how is it conscionable for Mr Trump’s watch, to allow these same people to repeat that travesty?
    I agree with your premise, but not its application.

  5. I like it. Cut off their opportunities for fluffy conference attendance on taxpayer-sponsored EPA time and money!
    A bit more of the swamp is draining…..

    • Again scientists need to attend conferences to do their job properly. That is the main way of learning about the latest advances in their field. Why employ people whose knowledge is out of date?

      • I think everyone’s falling into the ”uninformed media’ trap.

        The NYT publishes an article, based on an assumption, then a debate ensues.

        The assumption is that scientists were ordered not to attend a conference because Pruitt et al don’t want the support for climate alarmism to continue.

        But perhaps the scientists in question had more important work to do. Perhaps they had nothing new to contribute. Perhaps there is little more to learn. Perhaps there is a more appropriate conference in the near future for them to attend.

        There are innumerable reasons the NYT didn’t bother to explore, instead, they splash the story as a sensationalist revelation that the EPA is being gagged.

        We get the same uninformed, manipulative, alarmist opinion pieces in the Guardian in the UK all to frequently. Indeed, after years of reading and commenting on the Guardian web site, my posts were targeted and moderated (deleted) whenever I made a sceptical comment relative to climate change.

        I am inclined to treat NYT articles with the same contempt as I do the Guardian.

      • Germonio it depends if those things are within the realms of the responsibilities. From my understanding they have changed the brief of the EPA and that stuff now falls outside it’s mandate.

      • Calling something a “conference” does not indicate what kind of conference it is. We know it’s about estuaries and programs about estuaries — but is it science, or politics? Great Zot, was the Paris Conference about science or politics? My suspicion is politics, even if it may be spun otherwise.

      • Climate change conferences are not science related. They are far-left political confabs aimed at promoting the Administrative State. So-called scientists who cannot apply the Scientific Method to their work, should be let go. Let them be writers for The Nation or Mother Jones.

  6. How much more climate science and climate conferences do we really need.

    Every possible and every impossible consequence has already been proposed.

    So far, nobody is asking if any of these consequences are actually happening, it is just more conferences with more self-talk about how bad CO2 is.

    That is enough wasted money already

  7. Can someone please tell me what science courses are involved in obtaining an environmental science degree? I continue to ask the students, that come to my door wanting me to sign a petition on some dire environmental pending crisis, what science or math courses they have taken. Usually the courses are pretty much non existant. The same goes for the leadership of most or maybe all of the environmental organizations (350.org, Greenpeace, etc.).

    • Sure, I have completed coursework for a masters in environmental engineering.

      The basic difference between environmental engineering and environmental science is being politically correct.

      There is a lot of difficult and serious science related to protecting the environment. For example, environmental chemistry. My adviser cautioned engineers from taking this course unless they were strong in chemistry.

      CO2 ion the air affects fresh water lakes and oceans differently. According to my text books at the time, CO2 makes alkaline systems less alkaline. Of course today to be politically correct, climate scientists say
      the ocean is becoming more acidic.

      The basic job of an environmental engineer is to take a problem and provide and engineering solution. The first step is defining the problem.

      I have a list of non-problems that EPA ‘scientist’ have fear mongered into Americans think there is a real problem for engineers to solve: mercury from coal plants, radon, PCBs, and PM 2.5.

      An example of a non-problem is airborne releases from nuke plants. The regulatory requirement is two orders of below background or 5 mrem per year. The engineered systems for plants i have worked at reduce it to 0.005 mrem per year or essentially zero.

      • TO add to&i hope amplify Kit’s comment on pc usage by ‘climate scientists’, ‘the oceans are becoming more acidic’ IS a deliberate MISUSEof English language by the warmists .Its wording implies that the oceans were neutral ,or slightly acidic,&mankind is making them* More acidic *,as in , ‘if i add concentrated ,hydrochloric acid to this dilute acid ,it will become .ie.have a higher ph…& such usage is obfuscation & meant to obscure the true alkaline nature of the oceans .

    • Dan Sage 10/23, 6:18 am: Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org majored in English at Harvard and has a masters degree but not in a science. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, in a lecture in London in October 2015, informed the audience that Greenpeace leadership had been taken over by Marxists by the mid-1980s, and that he was the only one on the board with a science background (PhD in Ecology). He left when they wanted to destroy capitalism by attacking chlorine. Now CO2 is their weapon.

  8. Over the years I have rejected numerous pleas from academics to submit papers and attend conferences. On most occasions, these folk were postulating on matters outside their areas of required dedication and were usually just after a junket (and the associated lost time associated with preparing for the junket).
    My decisions in respect of these matters were generally guided by department/company credibility and budgetary constraints.
    Most of these academics were similar in ability to today’s “””climate scientists”””.
    That is, I would not have let them mow my lawn..

    • Mowing a lawn like crossing a street is a dangerous task. Many with advanced degrees should be supervised with the same care as kindergarten kids.

  9. Narragansett Bay is one of the best studied estuaries in the world with continuous monitoring of physical and biological conditions for over sixty years. EPA as well as the National Marine Fisheries Service and the University of Rhode Island have been the major agencies involved in that research. The results of that work have gone a long way toward improving water quality and the economic value of the bay.

    See http://www.narrbay.org/ for just some of the research data.

    As for the politics of the situation, bay temperatures have risen several degrees over the decades with resulting changes in the biota. Obviously this is climate change, Most of the local researchers follow the herd and attribute it to elevated CO2 levels (after all climate crusader Sheldon Whitehouse is one of the State’s US Senators).

    There is great irony in the statement of John King, chair of the estuary program’s science advisory committee, who said “As soon as you start trying to censor science, how do you keep it out of the realm of the political? This looks like the opening volley of the war on science.” It has been the skeptic scientists who have been muzzled by years of machinations by the controllers of the consensus. The irony seems to be lost on the professor.

    • So your assertion is that the academic science journals have been censoring science that disproves AGW for political reasons, while the politicians are now censoring science that supports AGW for scientific reasons?
      I think the bs there speaks for itself.

  10. Why do these employees from a regulatory body need to speak anyways ? They are there to enforce laws not create them right ? Would you allow IRS agents to speak about tax laws etc on your dime ?

    • Stop attempting to inject logic into the acid trip of bureaucracy. They are tripping out from breathing in swamp gasses emanating from inside the beltway. This is grand scheme of living large on other peoples money and you are “harshing their buzz” Next you will be expecting the IRS to cancel their next Star Trek video production…ahh I mean full costume education and training seminar.

  11. It appears to me that the conference is funded by EPA through an existing grant.With budget cuts this grant is not likely to be extended. The travel of the scientist is funded out of the EPA operating budget which is also being cut. Travel is the first thing to get the axe when there are budget cuts. If they were to present papers, they can submit them as written to be read by someone attending. The conference can then publish their contributions.

  12. EPA money has been a slush fund for Gina McCarthy and her good boys and girls, thank god that 1980s jaded NY cop parody is gone

  13. ‘why does the NYT think EPA staff scientists have the right to dictate how they spend their work hours?’

    When you’ve been enabled for so long you really DO begin to think you’re entitled.

    • “What starts out as gratitude turns into expectation and ends up as entitlement” – Cant remember.

  14. I was stationed twice in Newport, RI. This is where I learned to sail.

    A number of years later there was an ASME/ANS conference on heat transfer in Newport. I requested funding from my company but was turned down.

    I went on my own dime and time. Had the confernce been in Chicago I would not have gone. However, the next company sponsored was in Chicago.

    It was a case of my manager deciding what he wanted for career development.

    What I learned on my own dime was that the daily experience with heat transfer at a nuke plant was much more interesting than sitting in an office modeling heat transfer.

  15. When I worked in Washington State, I attended lots of conferences. One was a joint effort with the EPA on forest health issues. The EPA organized the interested environmental groups. We organized technical solutions companies.

    It was a low budget affair. Held in the basement of the forest service headquarters, the EPA provides lunch for all of those who contributed time to work on an important issue.

    My point is the EPA does good work on the local level.

  16. My question – why does the NYT think EPA staff scientists have the right to dictate how they spend their work hours?
    At least they do not have to wear diapers. Work conditions at EPA are infinitely better than in a slaughterhouse.

  17. Oh please. Cry me a river. The “climate” jig is up. It looked like such easy sailing too. You could claim almost anything as long as you involved the “climate” schtick. How about, find a real job – you know, actually contribute to society instead of being a leech?

  18. I attended a renewable energy conference in Seattle sponsored by Clinton’s EPA. My goal was to network for marketing engineering services with regional power companies. I met this goal.

    As long as I was there, I listened to some of the presentations.

    I wanted to know how much electricity the PV panels on the roof of EPA Seattle headquarters made.

    Zero!

    That does not mean the project was a failure. The purpose of PV panels is to produce a pretty picture. Several conference powerpoint presentations had the PV panel with ferry boats photo shopped in the background.

    The EPA presenter pointed out in the beginning PV panel on the roof could not have a local ferry in the background.

    Duh!

    Did it occur to the EPA to skip the panels altogether by photoshopping panels from someplace else. Maybe you could even get a penguin romping with a polar bear on an ice flow. A trifecta of green washing!

    There were some clues that the PV would not work. First the ferry boats indicate a marine climate and thus a poor solar resource. Seattle in at a northern latitude with same result. Finally the local power company was not consulted about the cost of hooking into the grid.

  19. Attending a conference as an institutional representative means one has to promote the institutional view. Few people in an organisation are authorised to do that. Internally, an organisation creates policy and those policies are passed down the line. Who and what informs policy is always a debate. That’s why there are elections.

    Expressing a personal opinion should be qualified as exactly that. To be fair, if the personal opinion differs from the employing institution’s perspective, one should offer both lest an innocent ear confuse the personal opinion with the institutional one.

    An employer can decide when, where, and through whom it wants its institutional perspectives broadcast. This can hardly be a surprise.

  20. Sen. Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is outraged, is he? Climate scientists are being gagged, are they? Is that the same Sen. Whitehouse who’s been advocating climate skeptics should be prosecuted and their emails subpoenaed? Is that the same Sen. Whitehouse who tore into Prof. Judith Curry with insults when she was testifying at a Senate committee hearing?

  21. When I gave presentations to the public and schools on weather forecasting and storm safety for NWS/NOAA, I was forced by my supervisor to present NOAA’s version of man-made global warming and possible catastrophic effects over time. I could not, under pain of suspension, offer my personal views (warming mostly if not all natural) or even any balance. I also was coerced to withdraw and destroy a notebook I kept in the operations area which did offer opposing views and research papers. My supervisor even asked me point blank why I was anti-global warming; I told him GIGO, and suggested he look at cyclic causes, He just scoffed. Talk about censorship…

    • That’s not censorship, that is just common sense. Your opinion was not that of the current thinking, so why in your position should you be allowed to peddle facts not supported by the science?

      • Fact are facts. And Facts about the weather are always science, just not the “political science” that is so weak it has to resort to silencing any non-believers.

  22. After reading through all the comments so far, the discussion seems to be on the “scientist” not attending the conference. What about the really great news in the next to last paragraph?

    “Since August, all E.P.A. grant solicitations have gone through Mr. Konkus’s office for review, according to a directive first obtained by E & E News. … At the time, agency officials said they were ensuring agency funding is in line with Mr. Pruitt’s priorities.”

    At last! Since they won’t get their grants renewed using their work under the Obama administration, all those rent-seekers in academia will be falling all over themselves to get grants to show that CO2 does not cause global warming.

  23. Simon, I’m afraid you don’t get it, and you probably never will. Censorship is the stifling of words and, most importantly, ideas. There are many scientists…bona fide scientists…who have and do disagree with what you term “current thinking.” If there are valid reasons to disagree, and there most certainly are whether you want to admit it or not, then they should be aired, heard, and attempted to be understood, instead of being cast aside, ignored, and even worse, retaliated against. Alarmists do not want debate…and that is to your everlasting shame.

    • 4caster
      “There are many scientists…bona fide scientists…who have and do disagree with what you term “current thinking.”
      Really? Name one scientist working in the field who does not think increased man made CO2 is warming the planet?Just one? Until you do, then that little story you told is just plain nonsense. If you really were being paid by NOAA, then then they have every right to insist you should teach what their researched and considered thinking is, otherwise you are just delivering your opinion, and as a taxpayer I am opposed to such nonsense. That’s not censorship, that is doing your job.

  24. EPA is still engaged in efforts to combat climate change – for example, running the “Energy Star” program – and designating today as “Energy Star” day, It’s not at all clear that exhorting us to save energy should be part of their mandate – aren’t there enough other nannycrats doing that already? Here’s a paste of yesterday’s e-mail:
    “Tomorrow is ENERGY STAR® Day!

    Join EPA in celebrating ENERGY STAR Day on Tuesday, October 24. This is the perfect opportunity to join thousands of organizations across the country in recognizing our collective energy efficiency accomplishments, so get ready to celebrate!

    How to join the fun:

    Take advantage of this special day by having your organization share the new ENERGY STAR Light the Moment video on social media or other channels to show how ENERGY STAR connects with people’s lives and makes them better. The more partners that share, the more we will amplify the ENERGY STAR message over the social media noise. Consider it a social media takeover, flash mob-style!

    On Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 12:00 PM ET:

    · Share the Light the Moment video by uploading this mp4 to Facebook. (Please also post on Twitter and Instagram if you use those platforms.)
    · Title: Light the Moment with ENERGY STAR
    · Tag “with” @ENERGYSTAR
    · Include hashtag #LightTheMoment and this optional text:

    Save energy and protect the planet, for a lifetime of precious moments. Make @ENERGY STAR part of your life on ENERGY STAR Day and every day. #LightTheMoment”
    Enjoy the fun….

  25. The EPA is finally returning to conventional management practices after decades of chaos. The inmates don’t run the prison, the students don’t run the school and workers don’t make management decisions. When an organization pays the salaries of the employees, management has the obligation to approve presentations of studies carried out on their dime. If employees cannot abide by management decisions, they should quit the organization. Two groups that sometimes do not understand the relationship between bosses and subordinates are NFL players and small children. A whole lot of people need to grow up.

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