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article imageNewest EPA board member — Fossil fuels are good for the Earth

By Karen Graham     Feb 10, 2019 in Politics
Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler has put eight new members on the agency’s main board of external science advisers, including an outspoken skeptic of climate change.
Of course, no one should be too surprised, seeing as Wheeler is an industry-friendly former coal industry lobbyist. Wheeler also followed Scott Pruitt's controversial policy of not appointing anyone who has received EPA grant money - a policy that critics argue is an attempt to make the board more "industry-friendly."
The EPA's Science Advisory Board is a body of scientists and scholars that advise the agency on scientific matters, such as scrutinizing regulations and helping to direct the EPA's actions. The EPA kept those who were eligible to remain on the board, including some members appointed by President Obama.
“In a fair, open, and transparent fashion, EPA reviewed hundreds of qualified applicants nominated for this committee,” Wheeler said in a statement. “Members who will be appointed or reappointed include experts from a wide variety of scientific disciplines who reflect the geographic diversity needed to represent all ten EPA regions.”
File photo: EPA s Andrew Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist.
File photo: EPA's Andrew Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist.
John Christy - a controversial choice
Christy is an atmospheric science professor at the University of Alabama - Huntsville. His chief interests are satellite remote sensing of global climate and global climate change. That sounds pretty good, so far. Actually, he is best known, along with Roy Warren Spence a meteorologist at the same university for the first successful development of a satellite temperature record.
It can be said that Christy is not a believer in climate change science. However, while he may be in the minority today, he has been a strong advocate for fossil fuels. On February 1, he told E&E News the Earth will actually benefit from burning more fossil fuels. "There's a benefit, not a cost, to producing energy from carbon," Christy said in the interview.
In 2015, he told The Guardian: “Carbon dioxide makes things grow. Plants love this stuff. It creates more food. There is absolutely no question that carbon energy provides... longer and better lives.”
Christy does not appear to believe greenhouse gasses should be regulated. He feels the rules should be eliminated because he doesn't believe human activity has anything to do with global warming. “The overconfidence we have on the climate issue in the climate community is incredibly large, and we need to pull back on that,” he insisted to E&E News.
Strangely enough, Christy doesn't believe the planet is as warm as scientific observations on temperatures indicate - even though he was involved in creating the first satellite temperature records. Go figure?
Richard Williams appointed to EPA board
Richard Williams is a scholar at the Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank affiliated with George Mason University. As a former Food and Drug Administration official, he argued for more control on the government's ability to create regulations - and that cost-benefit analysis needs to be improved.
“Quality regulations with proper oversight are good and necessary,” he wrote in U.S. News & World Report last year.
“430 federal departments, agencies, and sub-agencies are at work year-round producing an average of 10 regulations every single day of the year with minimal oversight from any of the three branches of government. Every American should be concerned.”
Wheeler also added some new members to several EPA sub-committees that focus on agriculture, chemicals, drinking water, and radiation.
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