On Thursday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency sent out a press release containing praise for President Donald Trump’s executive order that rolls back Obama-era climate change rules.
But the agency’s press office made an obvious mistake in the first paragraph, which included harshly critical comments attributed to West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican coal booster and prominent Trump supporter.
The quote, falsely attributed to Capito, actually belonged to Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat.
Yet Carper’s statement was far closer to the truth of what the Trump administration did when it ordered the EPA to begin the process of dismantling key greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs and other policies aimed at reducing harmful pollution.
The release quoted Capito as saying: “President Trump has chosen to recklessly bury his head in the sand. Walking away from the Clean Power Plan and other climate initiatives… is not just irresponsible — it is irrational.”
Doesn’t exactly sound like praise, does it?
The statement went on to say that Trump’s executive order goes against the “clear science” on climate change.
In reality, Trump, along with EPA chief Scott Pruitt, denies the mainstream science on climate change, and has called the exhaustively documented phenomenon a “hoax.”
The EPA press office then corrected the statement, noting that it got the two senators’ statements mixed up, as one does when their views and party are diametrically opposed to one another.
The mistake was especially strange because Capito had been singled out for praise during the signing ceremony at the EPA on Tuesday, which brought coal miners to the agency that wrote the climate policies Trump is trying to erase.
Capito’s actual statement is far more supportive: “If fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan would have completely decimated West Virginia’s vital coal industry while having no meaningful climate impact,” she said.
The EPA press shop apologized for the mixup. “We apologize for the error and are making sure that our process is improved as we build out our team,” the statement said.
The Trump administration has proposed gutting the EPA’s budget while eviscerating its ability to regulate carbon dioxide and methane emissions that are causing global warming. Huge cuts would hit the agency’s science programs in particular.
Given the hostility to Pruitt within the agency, it’s possible (though not likely) that the press release on Thursday was not a mixup, but rather an act of civil disobedience.
If so, more power to the bureaucrat who pulled it off.
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