Oh, what the heck, I'll listen to and tweet about this @FedSoc teleforum.

Let's see what they say about Trump's @EPA being the 1st in the agency's history NEVER to strengthen any health standards for air pollution. I bet they will approve! 1/
Former Trump @EPA political appointee & attorney in @EPAcounsel, Justin Schwab, is describing the health standard-setting process under the Clean Air Act & the role of its clean air advisors. 2/
Left unstated is that disgraced former Trump @EPA head, Scott Pruitt, purged EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee of expert academic scientists & stacked the body with members with known views hostile to consensus air pollution health science. 3/
Predictably, the Trump @EPA CASAC disregarded loads of scientific studies that the current health standards for ozone & PM2.5 fail to protect Americans & allow premature deaths that require EPA to strengthen those health standards. Wheeler intends to keep unsafe standards. 4/
Schwab is opining that statutory language directing CASAC to advise @EPA about economic considerations & background air pollution, while noting, correctly, that these may NOT be decisional criteria for setting the health standards. 5/
Schwab goes on to argue, however, that because standards should not be more protective than necessary, this creates a "paradox," letting the Administrator to decide what s/he thinks is 'adequate.' He then invokes former Bush WH officials who condemn the Whitman decision. 6/
Next up, Jeff Holmstead, former Bush @EPA air chief, who oversaw adoption of the only clean air health standard (for PM2.5) ever to be declared 'arbitrary & capricious' by the D.C., Circuit, for being unlawfully weak. courtlistener.com/pdf/2009/02/24… 7/
Holmstead is discussing @EPA's history of issuing & reviewing clean air health standards, criticizing the 5-year statutory deadline & EPA's failure to meet the deadlines. He notes, correctly, that greens have opposed extending the statutory deadline to 10 years. 8/
Holmstead goes on to criticize environmental groups & Congress over their criticism of the Trump @EPA short-circuiting & rushing the NAAQS review, to reach (pre-determined) decisions to maintain the current, unsafe health standards. 9/
Holmstead makes absurd claim that there has been no new science justifying the need to strengthen the health standard for ozone. This is false & esp. outrageous from Holmstead, whose Bush EPA overrode unanimous CASAC advice to strengthen the standard beyond its current level. 10/
Turning to PM2.5, Holmstead notes almost any air pollution regulation ends up reducing PM2.5 pollution, which is among the deadliest that EPA regulates. THAT's why Trump's EPA wants to sabotage PM2.5 regulation & benefits thru various efforts: Censoring Science, cost-benefit. 11/
Holmstead discusses the @EPA-CASAC PM2.5 review process, gliding over the uncomfortable fact that EPA staff scientists said the current PM2.5 level still allows thousands of premature deaths—& thus fails to protect Americans. Schwab notes this is part of the record. 12/
Holmstead repeats the tired industry saw that an area's status as an ozone nonattainment area 'prevents industry from coming into that area,' 'a virtual ban on new industrial development.' This is non-empirical nonsense, but a well-worn political scare tactic. 13/
Now, questions for these two industry attorneys, former GOP administration @EPA attorneys, from the audience of conservative @FedSoc members.

LOL: isn't there a lot of criticism of PM2.5 science?

Give me a break; it's among the most well-established science, globally. 14/
Schwab starts by noting he understands PM2.5 studies were done in areas with much higher air pollution than we have today.

This is true & untrue, but all studies point to PM2.5 being a pollutant with 'no health threshold,' harmful at any level. Critics largely ignore this. 15/
Holmstead notes @EPA's longstanding position (including when HE was there) that PM2.5 is a non-threshold pollutant, & its reductions save deaths & deliver benefits below the NAAQS level.

Industry & Republican critics HATE this, & Trump's EPA is targeting the practice. 16/
A caller asks why @EPA staff are allowed to issue independent judgments about the science & state those publicly, & wonders if that is statutory & whether anyone has ever challenged the practice in court.

See where this is going? Sheesh. 17/
'Where do uppity @EPA scientists get off thinking they should tell Americans what the health science & studies actually show, without giving the politically appointed administrator the right to intervene based on politics? Where's the accountability for the Deep State?' 18/
These @FedSoc conversations have the tendency to spiral into discussions about the Deep State & accountability & Constitutional umbrage—with no regard voiced for Americans that suffer & die from harmful levels of air pollution, scientific integrity, transparency & the like. 19/
Holmstead harkens back (wistfully?) to the D.C. Circuit 2-1 majority decision that the S.Ct. overturned 9-0 in American Trucking, rejecting the lower court majority's non-delegation frolic & detour.

Good riddance. 20/
Schwab makes the novel argument that the environmental movement was 'cresting' during the Nixon admin., suffering dire air pollution & in that context, establishing the NAAQS program made sense.
BUT... it may be time to review the need for the program.
Nope. Nah. Nein. Nyet. 21/
Holmstead chimes in to say he believes the Clean Air Act should be amended—to repeal the foundational Clean Air Act requirement to set health standards based on health science, not based on industry profits or cost (not stated that way, of course).

Nope. Nah. Nein. Nyet. 22/
Schwab gets the history wrong (again), saying wrongly that @EPA has not added a new NAAQS pollutant since the late 1970s.

EPA adopted a NAAQS for PM2.5 in 1997. 23/
Holmstead: 'What does it mean about the Rule of Law if Congress has imposed an obligation on the states that they cannot meet? We have forced EPA & the states to be dishonest.'

Schwab: 'Look at the road not taken in Whitman, versus the MI v. EPA case.' 24/
Schwab: 'Some might consider it a fine line between requisite & adequate (Whitman), which prohibit consideration of cost, and appropriate & necessary (Michigan), which require consideration of cost.'

That summary ill serves the actual Whitman holding & reasoning, but ... 25/
... it is, again, a reminder of the rather distant, dessicated, intellectual nature of many @FedSoc conversations, studiously divorced from the life-and-death consequences, the suffering associated with these public health legal questions. 26/
Will resurrection of the non-delegation doctrine, or repeal of Chevron deference, vest more democratic decisionmaking with predominantly wealthy, elite, white (male) judges, diminishing protections for all Americans, especially the most vulnerable? Those questions are absent. 27/
Most fascinating was the ahistoric intellectual pretense that environmentalism in America was at its apex under Nioxon, & we have learned lessons that compel more 'economic rationality,' in line with the preferences of these industry attorneys & the @FedSoc audience. 28/
That badly misreads contemporary American sentiment, bi-partisan concern about climate change, polling that shows Americans believe we're not doing enough to protect the environment. There's a reason so many House GOP bills to weaken environmental laws failed. And will. 29/
Kudos to the @FedSoc & their 2 panelists, for public airing of an enlightening conversation about what conservatives & industry representatives believe the future of the Clean Air Act should be.

It helps to crystallize wrongheadness, to make clear what we must block. 30/30

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More from @JohnDWalke

23 Feb
Another study shows "long-term exposure to air pollutants poses a significant risk to cardiovascular & respiratory health among the elderly population in the US." ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CI…

It's worth revisiting outliers among @EPA's clean air advisors, thanks to @EPAAWheeler. 1/
In 2018, @EPAAWheeler named a @TCEQ toxicologist to EPA's Clean Air Science Advisory Committee. She opposed safer health standards for smog pollution & disputed links to mortality bc elderly health study subjects "within days of death" were "less likely to be outdoors" anyway. 2/
@EPAAWheeler @TCEQ This gruesome view was in an article co-authored with the director of the Toxicology Division of the @TCEQ (notice a trend here?) that disgraced EPA head Scott Pruitt picked to head EPA's prestigious Science Advisory Board. energyindepth.org/wp-content/upl… texasobserver.org/texas-toxicolo… 3/
Read 10 tweets
5 Jun 20
Trump just said he is "setting all sorts of really good environmental records."

He's partly right; his administration has rolled back (or tried & failed to roll back) more environmental & health protections in 3+ years than any president in EPA's history. eelp.law.harvard.edu/regulatory-rol…
Trump just said "we have the cleanest air we have ever had," a deception the Trump @EPA has taken to repeating, lately.

Let's unpack that deception. 1/
National emissions of air pollution in the U.S. are lower in 2020 than they were the year before, and lower in 2019 than in 2018--*thanks to positive actions taken by presidents before Trump & actions by the states.*

Not by Trump or his @EPA. 2/
Read 13 tweets
20 May 20
@EPAAWheeler is testifying this morning before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, @SenateEPW & @EPWDems.

He identifies 5 actions taken by @EPA since March--all deregulatory.

Follow along. 1/
@EPAAWheeler repeats one of his favorite lies--that over 60 rollbacks executed by @EPA have saved billions; now he says over SEVEN billion dollars.

This is rubbish, which @EPA & Wheeler NEVER have substantiated. 2/
@EPAAWheeler's written testifies celebrates EPA's 50th anniversary in 2020 & touts EPA's 2019 accomplishments.

NONE reduces air pollution one molecule beyond rules Trump inherited from Obama; indeed, Trump rollbacks INCREASE air pollution.

Pathetic. epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/… 3/
Read 34 tweets
6 May 20
@Morning_Energy reports today on the formation of a new “advocacy organization focused on conservative clean energy & climate change solutions” called C3 Solutions, or the “Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions.”

I wandered over to its website & it's revealing. 1/
@Morning_Energy reports that 1 of the 2 co-founders of CS Solutions was the communications director for former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn — @LCVoters lifetime environmental voting record in Congress, 9%. scorecard.lcv.org/search?l=Coburn 2/
The 2nd co-founder was the chief of staff at the well-known climate change thought-leader, the @Heritage Foundation.

Advisory Board members include former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum — @LCVoters lifetime environmental voting record, 10%. scorecard.lcv.org/search?l=Santo… 3/
Read 25 tweets
16 Apr 20
A thread about big lies by Trump's @EPA, attacks on clean air health safeguards & a toxic legacy Trump wants to leave behind to block future protections against smog, toxic air pollution & dangerous climate change. EPA is executing it all during a global respiratory pandemic. 1/
This thread is prompted by today’s expected @EPA action to undermine safeguards against mercury, lead, arsenic & other toxins from power plants that burn coal & oil; & a declaration that it’s not “appropriate” or “necessary” to regulate these toxins.
bloomberg.com/news/articles/… 2/
Most dangerous of all, the Trump @EPA will rule—for 1st time— that it's OK to ignore all benefits that clean air rules achieve by reducing all forms of regulated air pollution. This move is meant to block or constrain future clean air & climate change safeguards, beyond Trump. 3/
Read 26 tweets
20 Feb 20
1. A thread on the welcome news that annual emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) & smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions are BOTH under a million tons in 2019 for the 1st time since the start of the Acid Rain Program (when monitoring began) in the early 1990’s.
2. Since 2005, U.S. SO2 emissions from covered electric power plant units (those > 25 MW that burn fossil fuels)decreased by 90.5%! — from 10,139,514 tons of SO2 in 2005 to 967,745 tons in 2019. (Hat tip to my crack number-crunching colleague, Amanda Levin, for these analyses.)
3. States that saw the largest percentage reductions from *in-state* electric power sector SO2 emissions since 2005 include Massachusetts (-99.8%), New Hampshire (-99.2%), Delaware (-99.1%), New York & Virginia (-98.9%).
Read 17 tweets

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