Published On: Wed, Feb 1st, 2017

Defending the Earth from Donald Trump

By:  David Helvarg

The Progressive

As a coastal developer, Donald Trump has bulldozed ancient sand dunes and opposed offshore wind turbines (because they “ruined the view”) in Scotland, sought to build seawalls and fill in (smother) seagrass meadows and coral reefs in Florida, and built golf club luxury homes on a geologically unstable bluff in California where the eighteenth hole had earlier fallen into the sea. 

Myron Ebell, the man Trump tapped to oversee the transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency, is a well-known climate-change denier from the libertarian (and partly fossil fuel funded) Competitive Enterprise Institute. In the past he’s worked as the D.C. lobbyist for Chuck “Rent-a-Riot” Cushman, one of the more extreme leaders of the Wise Use movement of the 1990s. Ebell also promoted “safer cigarettes” (the “clean coal” of our lungs) with funding from Philip Morris. 

When George W. Bush was elected in 2000 following a campaign pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, Ebell became a key player in the rightwing push to get Bush to renege on his pledge and withdraw the United States from the Kyoto climate accord. In a June 2002 email, Ebell proposed blaming the EPA for Bush’s promise, saying “the fall guy (or gal) should be as high up as possible.” He added, “Perhaps tomorrow, we will call for Whitman to be fired,” a reference to moderate Republican EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who would resign less than a year later. He also promised to go after others “pushing this rubbish” (climate action), including Vermont Republican turned Independent Senator Jim Jeffords, pledging to “get much more strident and noisy.”

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