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John Walke @jwalkenrdc
, 29 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
Here’s a long thread on this very informative @Poli_Climate podcast hosted by @JMPyper, featuring a senior Trump EPA political advisor, Mandy Gunasekara, in the agency’s air quality office.

Buckle up. 1/…
This senior advisor in EPA’s air & climate office happens to be the very same former staffer for Senator @JimInhofe who handed him the snowball on the Senate floor for his infamous snowball-climate change stunt. She discusses that on the podcast. (33:00) 2/
During >1-hour interview, this EPA senior air advisor doesn’t ID ONE rule/action that the Trump EPA, Scott Pruitt & @EPAAWheeler have taken or will take to reduce air pollution & improve air quality significantly beyond status quo. Just rollbacks.

Ponder how amazing that is. 3/
Anther revealing take-away from the senior Pruitt EPA advisor, early in interview (5:45): “I don’t think much will actually change” under @EPAAWheeler. ‘The way it’s characterized may be put in different terms.’

She says this entirely unapologetically. 4/
There’s the obligatory Trump EPA bashing of the Obama EPA, beloved by Pruitt, accusing Obama EPA of “expanding statutory authority & its original mission to be the climate crusader”—conveniently ignoring the SCt’s Mass v. EPA ruling & plain Clean Air Act language, with this. 5/
Much later she acknowledges Mass v. EPA (~11:00), says the SCt ‘never mandated carbon regulation’ but says EPA could regulate if it found CO2 endangers health.

Oddly, she skips right past the fact that there IS an endangerment finding in effect. 6/
Asked about recent criticism by EPA’s Science Advisory Board over EPA’s failure to consult the SAB about a series of scientific issues, she ‘disagrees w/ some SAB members about EPA’s insufficient attention to science.’

(N.B. The full SAB wrote the critical letter to EPA.) 7/
Incredibly, the senior EPA political advisor goes on to suggest that the Science Advisory Board members more in agreement with the Trump EPA “are part of the constructive dialogue.”

Critical SAB members, not so much, it seems. (13:30) 8/
On the CO2 endangerment finding & Pruitt’s red team/blue team reality TV debate-farce, she says a "vocal minority” (meaning climate deniers/skeptics) “feels their perspective hasn’t been heard.”

The truth is their perspectives have been rejected on the scientific merits. 9/
Ponder sentiment: in what universe have climate deniers/skeptics not been heard? They “feel” they haven’t been heard? What Pruitt & outliers wanted was for climate contrarianism to be “elevated” to equal status w stronger climate science, after losing in marketplace of ideas. 10/
The former Senator @JimInhofe staffer then says disapprovingly, with no evident sense of irony, that “this issue of climate change has been so politicized.” (15:00)

What does one even say about that? 11/
EPA advisor recalls attending an industry fossil fuels conference soon after starting at Trump EPA & saying: “I look around this room & I don’t see a bunch of polluters. I actually see partners in achieving environmental outcomes.” (19:30) For more see… 12/
At this same industry conference, in May 2017, the senior Trump EPA advisor also had this gem for the fossil fuel industry audience: 'new leadership could push out scientists who support man-made climate change.' 13/
During podcast, EPA political advisor touts EPA enforcement office: ‘they go after lawbreakers & go after them hard.’

She conveniently ignores the amnesty memo for dirty freight trucks, letting them violate Clean Air Act, that Pruitt arranged *the night he departed EPA.* 14/
@JMPyper asks the senior EPA political advisor whether she “believes in human-caused climate change.” EPA’s Gunasekara: ‘Yes, climate change has been happening. It’s not a matter of belief, but a matter of understanding & knowing & seeking to know more.’ 15/
She continues: ‘Problem is this question has become a litmus test for are you an extreme Right conservative or extreme Left liberal. That lends itself to an unconstructive dialogue b/c people go after public officials in a personal way rather than having policy discussions.’ 16/
She continues: ‘yes, humans play a role [in climate change] but to what extent, and what can we actually do about it is the source of ongoing debate.’

(This is the same soft climate denialism script that Pruitt & other Trump admin. officials memorized.) 17/
She finishes: ‘Is there any solution that can actually impact climate change? To date, including the Clean Power Plan, no policy solution has been proposed that would actually have any substantive impact on climate change.’ 18/
At this point, the podcast regular on the left, a former Obama DOE official, is about to explode across the air waves. He asks how this is true of the CPP. She says CPP has no impact measures in terms of sea level rise, global temperatures etc. (35:25) 19/
@JMPyper responds with the obvious points that the CPP was step 1, part of the Paris Accord; the Obama admin. recognized need for other global action, for other nations to contribute their own steps; & that the Trump admin. is causing a loss in momentum. (36:45) 20/
Still beside himself, the podcast liberal regular asks, with incredulity, ‘Is your argument that Obama wasn't doing *enough* on climate change? (Me, wondering same.)

Gunasekara replies that the Obama EPA exceeded its authority, ducking the import of the Q. (Debater's trick) 21/
Revealing insight into Trump EPA political leadership at ~ 56:30. She says ‘some on the Left have a lot of money. They know how to make people's life a living hell. That did that for Pruitt & they are going to do it for [@EPAAWheeler].’

THAT's the lesson from Pruitt’s exit? 22/
The interview ends with @JMPyper asking the EPA political advisor, “What’s next?” Her answers are v. revealing:

Clean Power Plan (rollback)
Vehicle GHG standards (rollback)
Mercury rule (rollback?)
Brick air toxic rule (rollback)
“The list is endless.”

Endless rollbacks. 23/
This informative interview was a poster child for the Trump EPA’s “Do Nothing, But Harm” agenda—under Scott Pruitt, seemingly now under @EPAAWheeler: not ONE rule/action noted to reduce air pollution & improve air quality significantly beyond status quo.

Just rollbacks. 24/
This senior EPA political advisor tells Americans: “I don’t think much will actually change” under @EPAAWheeler.


‘The way it’s characterized may be put in different terms.’

So the plan is more politically shrewd rhetoric about rollbacks than Pruitt managed. 25/
President Trump instructed incoming EPA head @EPAAWheeler, per Wheeler, to ‘clean the air, clean the water, & provide regulatory relief.’

EPA officials should be asked, every day, why they are only doing the last bit—worsening pollution—& ignoring the cleanup directives. 26/
Are EPA & @EPAAWheeler ignoring the president’s instructions, or did President Trump really not mean it? How is it possible, 17 mos. into the Trump EPA, that a senior air quality advisor can fail to mention ONE rule or step EPA is taking to significantly improve air quality? 27/
What are the top 3 rules & actions by the Trump EPA & @EPAAWheeler to clean the air & clean the water? By how much & when?

Where's the beef, EPA? 28/
Why can’t EPA say what it is doing to reduce air & water pollution beyond status quo, & by how much? Compared to Obama EPA?

Maybe because the rollbacks they talk about exclusively are their exclusive priority, & they know how reckless it would be to admit that. 28/28
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