Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Heatwaves to soar above the hot air of climate politics

Scott Pruitt achieved something of a political first last week. The controversial head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was grilled by the officials who control his budget and told that he had asked for too little cash. In fact, the officials insisted, they were determined to give his agency more than he had requested.

Keeping cool will become increasingly difficult
 as heatwaves become more severe and frequent.
“I can assure you, you’re going to be the first EPA administrator that’s come before this committee in eight years that actually gets more money than they asked for,” said Oklahoma congressman Tom Cole, a member of the US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations who, as a Republican, is nominally on the same side as Pruitt. In a gruelling session, Pruitt was left in no doubt of what the committee members thought of proposals from Donald Trump’s administration to slash both the spending and the remit of the EPA.

“I’ll get straight to it. The fiscal year 2018 budget request for EPA is a disaster,” said Nita Lowey, a Democratic representative for New York who sits on the committee. The intended cuts of US$2.4 billion to the agency budget, she said, would “surely impact EPA’s ability to fulfil its critical mission of protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink”.


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