If you have no idea why we have Trump, and why we are likely to get more of him, read this article from the science journal Nature. It is a carefully written screed, written entirely from the point of view of those hostile to Trump and his effort to rein in the EPA’s regulatory culture. No one is interviewed to give the Trump perspective, and even if some had been, the author is so certain that Trump is evil and wrong in his efforts that I am sure the Trump perspective would have been misinterpreted, or even slandered. (This I am sure is why the article says that EPA management did not “respond to requests to comment on the article’s allegations.” The allegations were already set. Nothing anyone said from the administration would change those conclusions.)
Still, I am certain the author could have gotten opinions from some of the skeptical scientists whom the Trump administration has brought in to advise EPA. None however were interviewed.
What is most embarrassing about the article is its description of two of the main changes the Trump administration has imposed on EPA to widen and make more transparent the scientific work it does. First,
On 31 October  — Halloween, no less — Pruitt dropped a bombshell on the scientific community in the United States. He announced that scientists with active EPA grants would be banned from serving on the agency’s main science advisory board (SAB) or on a separate committee focused on air regulations. Such committees provide peer review of the science underlying most EPA regulations; Pruitt’s decision prevents some of the nation’s top environmental scientists from taking part in that process.
On 24 April, Pruitt announced a proposal that would prevent the EPA from using any research in its regulatory decisions unless the underlying data and methods are publicly available. He did so in the name of transparency, but scientists and other experts immediately fought back.
According to the article, these actions are somehow “bombshells” that will “prevent the agency from developing meaningful health and environmental regulations.”
I say, hogwash. The first will prevent what had been a significant conflict of interest between those who decided who got government grants and those who got the money. Sometimes they were the same people!
The second decision, to require all data and methods to be publicly available, has always been considered good scientific practice. Only in recent years have scientists, working for the government on politically charged topics like climate, decided they could keep their data and methods secret, making it impossible to check their work. When in rare cases we have gotten a glimpse at that secret data and methods we have routinely found them to be corrupt or unreliable. Forcing transparency here can only be good, for good science.
That the author, writing for a science journal, doesn’t seem to understand this, speaks very badly for the science that is published in that journal.
The article’s worst aspect however is its unstated contempt for the voter. Trump, as well as Congress, were chosen by the American voters, under the rules set by the Constitution. By law, they are in charge, and the scientists and regulators must bow to them.
The article and the scientists who work at EPA however do not like this, and want to do whatever they can to stymie that vote. As noted in the article’s last paragraph, in describing one scientist’s reaction to the resignation last week of EPA head Scott Pruitt,
And after a few recent conversations with former staff members, Costa seems newly encouraged that they will keep the embers burning until the political winds shift again and sweep away Trump’s team. “In some senses, I think of it like the locusts,” he says. “They come, they wipe out the crops and then they leave.”
In other words, the electoral choice of half of the United States was like a wave of locusts that must be countered and canceled, at all costs.
You want more Trump? This is why you will get more Trump.
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