DC District Court Hands Trump’s EPA A Major Victory Over Environmentalists

From The Daily Caller

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

The District of Columbia District Court granted the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) petition to dismiss legal action against a policy to prohibit scientists from receiving agency funding while sitting on advisory boards.

EPA issued the policy directive in 2017 under former Administrator Scott Pruitt. A coalition of environmental groups promptly filed suit, alleging it lacked the authority to make changes to advisory board policies and violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

Judge Trevor McFadden ruled against environmental groups, led by Physicians for Social Responsibility, and agreed to dismiss all four counts leveled against EPA’s ethics policy. President Donald Trump appointed McFadden to the D.C. District Court in 2017.

“In sum, Physicians have not plausibly alleged a conflict between the Directive and the conflict of interest statute and [Office of Government Ethics (OGE)] regulations,” McFadden wrote in his opinion issued Tuesday.

Supporters of EPA’s ethics policy were happy with McFadden’s ruling, including Steve Milloy, publisher of JunkScience.com. For years, Milloy pushed to stop EPA advisory boards from letting members also take money from the agency.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt listens during cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt attends a cabinet meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Milloy’s past research has found that scientists and experts sitting on just one Obama administration EPA advisory board collected $192 million in agency grants in recent decades. Milloy, an environmental policy expert, said this could unduly influence advisers tasked with evaluating EPA regulations.

Pruitt announced the policy in October 2017, arguing it was needed to “ensure independence” and “geographical representation” on EPA scientific advisory boards. EPA has 22 science advisory boards, but Pruitt’s policy applied to three. (RELATED: Top EPA Official Leaves Government To Help Trump Fight ‘Venezuela-Style Socialism’)

Pruitt resigned from EPA in 2018 amid a flurry of ethics investigations. Trump has since nominated Andrew Wheeler, currently EPA’s acting head, to replace Pruitt as the agency’s official leader.

Environmentalists said Pruitt’s policy violated federal law, alleging further it was an attempt to rid scientific panels of experts opposed to the Trump administration’s deregulatory goals.

However, McFadden ruled EPA had “broad discretion to shape advisory committee membership” and can, if it wants, bar scientists from serving on advisory boards while taking agency funding.

“This is permissible,” McFadden ruled. “Neither the conflict of interest statute nor OGE regulations dictate who agency heads must appoint or retain under the broad discretion afforded by FACA.”

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63 thoughts on “DC District Court Hands Trump’s EPA A Major Victory Over Environmentalists

    • Elections matter. POTUS stocks federal courts. If there’s one thing Mitch McConnell is on top of it’s getting as many of Trump’s picks judiciary choices confirmed as possible.

      • I thought it was rather comical that leftists were all upset that the President was actually filling the hundreds of empty judge seats. All those empty seats do is make things harder on the courts. So President Trump has been ramming through appointments by the dozens every day, something that Leftists swore was an impossible task.

      • “If there’s one thing Mitch McConnell is on top of it’s getting as many of Trump’s picks judiciary choices confirmed as possible.”

        Yeah, but sadly only one thing.
        Well, at least Mitch McConnell is good for something.

        • Yeah and the gift that keeps giving. Trump pulls up judges from states this give Republican governors a chance to reset their judicial system to a more constitutional paradigm.

        • There is even a Senate rule change working it’s way thru the process to change the 12 hours for debate after the filibuster hurtle is crossed to a mere 2 hours.

      • If they are not whining the medicine is not working. Silence from the left should be a worry that your policy isn’t right or you are not doing the right thing.

      • It’s time we give these guys a name. They are “Big Science” – they make millions and billions in the name of Global Warming.

  1. … bar scientists from serving on advisory boards while taking agency funding.

    It seems blindingly obvious that such scientists would advise the agency to give them more money. How can that possibly be anything other than a conflict of interest?

    The folks suing over the conflict of interest policy must be moral midgets.

    • I do not understand the notion of a scientist advising the EPA to have a conflict of interest.
      A) It is in the best interest of the scientist to advise the EPA.
      B) It is in the best interest of the scientist to work to align the interests of the EPA with his own interests. This, of course, creates a seamless policy direction which can be pursued without conflicts.
      C) Clearly, it is in the interest of the scientist to encourage the EPA to award grants to himself. This is a perfect policy alignment where the scientist’s research interests are the same as his policy interests in his capacity as EPA advisory personnel.
      D) Lastly, it is in the scientist’s interest to be paid a salary or consultants fee for his work in lobbying for himself.

      What conflict?

      SEE! I know the rules of the game. Can I play in the next round of “Washington, DC”? Please, please, please!

  2. Clearly a system designed to keep biased science in influential positions whilst earning a fortune from taxpayers. And also ensuring the MSM continues to issue rubbish to the public. What a disgrace on true science. Good on President Trump for getting this nonsense fixed!

  3. EPA has been a cesspool of fraud, activism, and government over-reach for decades. Scott Pruitt did an admirable job but perhaps didn’t pay enough attention to optics. Reform was long overdue and needs to continue. Trump is having a good run. Well deserved.

    • Working hard to be an SKS disciple ?
      Your links are fake “news” ….
      Do some real research , stop with the SKS bullshit.

      • Just because Trump didn’t tell you you directly at one of his Hillbilly Nurembergs doesn’t make it “fake” news.

        here’s the same information from scientific journals.

        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-insect-populations-decline-scientists-are-trying-to-understand-why/

        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/biggest-ever-coral-die-off-reported-on-australias-great-barrier-reef/

        Like I said, what part of the sixth mass extinction event are you morons missing.

        But then again if you discount everything from the real world around then of course you are going to live in a profound stupidity. Which would be fine, except this idiocy is still driving policy to the degree that we just have few years to change course before it’s too late.

        But of course you wouldn’t realize that either because you refuse to even put any effort into learning new information and thinking about what it actually means.

        Total morons…

        • This is too good to pass up. (Yes, I know. Do not feed the trolls.)
          “here’s the same information from scientific journals.”
          Followed by two links to Scientific American!

          Our NPC is still triggered.
          {
          Program Global.Warming:
          run subroutine:Fake.News(“Sci.Am.”)
          run subroutine:Intolerance(Insults.“morons”)
          }

          Doug Coombes:
          Learn To Code.

        • Doug Coombes: Looks like someone hacked your account and posted a reply. Better look into it before that extinction thingy gets here.

          Didn’t someone say if you’re down to name-calling, you’re losing the argument? How are us morons ever gonna get your point?

          • Like most socialists, the rules he champions only apply to others.
            Doug is trying to save the world, therefore rules don’t apply to him.
            (Nor do facts)

        • Doug Coombes

          …….the sixth mass extinction event…..

          Because of increasing atmospheric CO2!

          ROTFLMAO………..Gosh that was funny.

          If it’s that serious why in Gods name are you still using a computer? It uses electricity which creates CO2 doesn’t it?

          No point in wringing your hands when no one with more than half a brain cell believes in CAGW.

        • Like I said, what part of the sixth mass extinction event are you morons missing.

          Paleontologist Doug Erwin has called it junk science.

          The fossil record is incredibly incomplete. One rough estimate holds that we’ve only ever found a tantalizing 0.01 percent of all the species that have ever existed. Most of the animals in the fossil record are marine invertebrates, like brachiopods and bivalves, of the sort that are both geologically widespread and durably skeletonized. In fact, though this book (for narrative purposes) has mostly focused on the charismatic animals taken out by mass extinctions, the only reason we know about mass extinctions in the first place is from the record of this incredibly abundant, durable, and diverse world of marine invertebrates, not the big, charismatic, and rare stuff like dinosaurs.

          “So you can ask, ‘Okay, well, how many geographically widespread, abundant, durably skeletonized marine taxa have gone extinct thus far?’ And the answer is, pretty close to zero,” Erwin pointed out. In fact, of the best-assessed groups of modern animals—like stony corals, amphibians, birds and mammals—somewhere between 0 and 1 percent of species have gone extinct in recent human history. By comparison, the hellscape of End-Permian mass extinction claimed upwards of 90 percent of all species on earth.

        • Dear Mr. Coombes: When you attack the messenger rather than the message… well then, you have conceded the debate.

          The whole CAGW discussion gained traction when Dr. Mann grafted thermometer data onto his tree ring data (a scientific no-no). For thousands of years fraudulent actors having been looking at palms and tea leaves to forecast the future. Dr. Mann chooses to use tree bark and bristle cones to forecast temperatures to two decimal points 100 years in the future.

          The fact that you or anyone else treats this anti-science methodology seriously is a very sad statement about the inteligence or lack there-of, of the average American voter.

          It is way passed time to drain this corrupted swamp.

          Cheers,

          Speed

          • If a couple of degrees was going to kill off most of the life on earth, how did life on Earth survive most of the last 10,000 years, when the planet was a couple of degrees warmer than it is today?

        • Insect Armageddon is happening! Hurry up Doug the critter, crawl back under your rock…

          By the way I loved Scientific American long long time ago when its intendend audience was amateur scientific experimenters and producing excellent articles on laser making. Now it is just emotional hyperboles to attract neurons limited critters.

          Also, my knowledge in entomology suggest me that insects are among the most resistant form of life when it come to harsch conditions. Go study spiders, they are amazingly resilient and efficient at loosing nothing and are fully equiped when it come to sensory equipments. Farming peoples I knew were well aware that even if you douche insects with insecticides, they adapt within few generations.

        • You are the total moron.
          Do you really think that your coming on here and being abusive is going to change anyone’s opinion.
          Is there anything between your ears?

        • Doug Coombes – February 14, 2019 at 4:16 pm

          Like I said, what part of the sixth mass extinction event are you morons missing.

          Doug C, they are missing THIS part of the sixth mass extinction event which you and your liberal minded Democrat socialists are doing everything possible to insure that it continues to escalate, ….. to wit”

          The New York Times reported that drug overdoses killed more than 72,000 people in the United States last year (2018) and if that doesn’t constitute a national emergency then what would, ………. 150,000 deaths, ……. 200,000 drug overdose deaths?

          Your means of creating a mass extinction is working just fine.

        • Again, no one cares about your google search results. point us to the article or articles in that search result that you wish to draw to peoples attention? Otherwise you are just wasting peoples time.

    • Those have been happening since the planet gave birth to life. Thank God the bacteria did not have SJW or we might not be here.

    • A simple rule change to promote ethics and transparency, and the left loses its’ collective mind.

      Here we have a NPC who got triggered.
      {
      Program Global.Warming:
      run subroutine:Panic(“End.Of.World”)
      }

    • Doug

      The insects are still there often in greater numbers than they were 30 years ago when McKibben published his book.

      As far as the great barrier reef goes, clearly someone doesn’t understand what major storms can do to coral reef systems.

    • Hey, if you can’t trust Popular Mechanics and Forbes as unimpeachable sources of entomological information, where can you turn, eh?

      As for the Morons, there is a city in Mongolia called Moron, so maybe there’s an extinction going on there.

    • Doug Coombes: Us morons are only missing three parts. 1) the “sixth” part; 2) the “mass” part; and 3) the “extinction” part. You give us such a start! Won’t you please come back and tell us more (he said, knowing the drive-by troll never replies-probably too panicked to respond).

    • Yeah, yeah, yeah. And over 20 years ago the same “experts” said that in 10 years children in this country would not know what snow was. I just moved 8 inches of the white stuff out of my driveway. They also said that by now we would have 100’s of millions dead due to increased heat and the equatorial regions would be uninhabitable. None of that happened either, nor is there any indication it will anytime in the foreseeable future. So why should we believe anything else they say on the subject? Credibility == zero.

    • What we are missing is the mass extinction.
      It isn’t happening.

      200 to 300 species over 200 years is not a mass extinction. It’s about 5 orders of magnitude too small to be a mass extinction.
      Heck compared to the number of species that die out on average in any given millenia, it isn’t even rounding error.

      PS: The claim that the GBR is dying has been completely refuted. Nothing more than a normal bleaching that occurs every time there is an strong El Nino or La Nina. Those areas that bleached weren’t dead, and have already recovered.

      It really is amazing how little you actually know, and how little you want to know.
      Go back to your handlers, it’s time for your food pellet.

  4. Socialism/Big Government has been slowly and methodically creeping into the control of our lives. Recognizing it is the first step. Actions like this need to continue to return the control to the people.

  5. Very good, but I am still awaiting the Red team versus the blue tem fight, or better still the court case to prove that CO2 is a good gas.

    MJE

    • +1000

      Moving towards meaningful information regarding policy decisions rather than kriging everything into a meaningless global number to spit out to the media.

      I’d love seeing the modelers heads explode, but I assume the green mob will move heaven and earth to avoid rational discussion.

  6. Don’t know if our troll is an admirer of the skier Doug Coombes or thinks he is emulating him, but none the less, the Skier Coombe can be described as a extremist one track minded individual. So i think he may have the emulating going for him.

  7. Back to the question of advisory board members taking grants. In an ideal world that would not override the scientist’s contributions. I have known many, including my own mentors, who would not be so influenced. When some hires you, you owe them something, but it is not in the interest of either the funding agency or the recipients to give anything other than the best, regardless of the consequences.

    Unfortunately, I am certain that too much of the scientific community has lost its honesty. This is best evidenced by the necessity of ethics groups, individuals should already know and practice it. When both the funding and advisory groups are corrupt, what can you expect? Correct prediction of the Eisenhower warning.

  8. Why would we need some body like the EPA to protect people from such things as air pollution which has been linked to such things as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/brain-pollution-evidence-builds-dirty-air-causes-alzheimer-s-dementia?r3f_986=https://www.google.com/

    “The link between air pollution and dementia remains controversial—even its proponents warn that more research is needed to confirm a causal connection and work out just how the particles might enter the brain and make mischief there. But a growing number of epidemiological studies from around the world, new findings from animal models and human brain imaging studies, and increasingly sophisticated techniques for modeling PM2.5 exposures have raised alarms. Indeed, in an 11-year epidemiological study to be published next week in Translational Psychiatry, USC researchers will report that living in places with PM2.5 exposures higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) standard of 12 µg/m3 nearly doubled dementia risk in older women. If the finding holds up in the general population, air pollution could account for roughly 21% of dementia cases worldwide, says the study’s senior author, epidemiologist Jiu-Chiuan Chen of the Keck School of Medicine at USC.”

    Wanting to do away with all regulation of harmful industrial activity – which is the main theme of this entire site – is highly reckless and if funded by the industries involved opens them to civil and criminal action.

    We need the EPA, we need action on climate change and we need action on things like agriculture and other impacts that as we speak are wiping out life in Earth.

    • *Which is the main theme of this site *
      Run away you horrible little narcissist troll. You are a complete idiot and dishonest to boot.

    • Doug, you are wandering away from the subject. No one is against regulation of harmful industrial activity. The topic here is to limit conflic of interests, not to neuter the EPA.

      And about the climate change, get real, the climate have alway changed and will alway change. Open your eyes to the fact that it was originally called ‘warming’ but strangely the naming have changed when the cataclysmic prediction of decades ago did not materialise. Read about the genesis of the famous hockey stick; pure unscientific fraud. Read about the emails leak called climate gate, it is possible to find the original msg on the internet if you are afraid of distortions by evil petroleum industry PR. A good eye opener is also the story behind the banning of freon (R12), follow the money and discover the true reason behind. I’ll give you a hint; it is called submarine patents and denying your competitors making a product when a patent expire.

      The fact is you are manipulated by a clique of fraudsters into thinking the magic CO2 molecule is evil, thus directing all the visibility aways from real environmental issues like true pollution and deforestation.

      It is evident by your previous name calling orgy that you let your emotions take over rational thinking. Still I agree there are couples morons and paid shills here but most are simply well seasoned and simply rational. Stop being enslaved by your emotions and begin to see thing the way they are objectively.

      If you have an ounce of courage, you should reevaluate your beliefs and investigate by yourself if your convictions are built on reality or simply the result of manipulation by fraudsters.

      If you are genuinely honest, then why not listening to the arguments of the “denyers” instead of closing your ears and demonize your opponents? Trolling here will give you nothing.

      • 90% of the good done by the EPA was done in the first 10 to 20 years of it’s existence.
        Since then it’s goal has been mostly to justify it’s own existence by spending more and more of other people’s money to eliminate less and less harmful stuff from the environment.\

        There has never been a solid study that linked PM2.5 to any health affects.

    • Poor, poor, Doug.
      In his world, if something is claimed to be bad for you, that constitutes proof that it is bad for you, and anyone who questions that is anti-science.

      Then again, Doug is paid to propagandize, not to think for himself.

    • Doug Coombes: Can you please ask Mr. Putin to assign us a competent troll? The post is about blatant corruption in gov’t (used to be we could count on news media to expose it, now it’s the main theme of this site to save the EPA from it’s own squalid corruption). Your posts favoring this corruption are so awful, off-point, and laughable that you don’t even make a ripple when you fall in. You’re not even worth mocking, but I like to stay in shape.

  9. Taking money from the agency you are supposed to be over seeing isn’t an ethics violation. But preventing such pay-offs is.

    Strange, strange world inhabited by leftists.

  10. Interesting. Don’t get me wrong I’m glade with the ruling. It seemed that the scientist wanted to profit off of their role “advisory board collected $192 million in agency grants in” Now if only there was some way to kept Congress from profiting $ from their role of picking winner and losers.

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