Nothing presidential candidate Donald Trump has done recently is status quo. And his rumored pick for head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should he be elected certainly affirms his love for upsetting the apple cart.
His choice, reports the Washington Post, is Myron Ebell, best known for his aggressive defense of the oil lobby and his staunch insistence that scientific assertions linking climate change to human activity are "flawed." Ebell is the director of energy and global warming policies for the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the chair of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a consortium of some two dozen or so organizations that echo his disdain for current climate change policies.
Those who remember the early days of the George W. Bush administration will likely recall Ebell's legacy. According to Heartland Institute, Ebell was labeled the "Villain of the Month" by the Clean Air Trust in 2001 for convincing a wavering Dubya not to regulate carbon emissions.
"This is a colossal mistake," Ebell said in regard to Bush's consideration of new regulations that would have required a tighter cap on CO2 emissions. ''If they persist, there will be war.''
In the end, the Bush administration backed down, to the dismay of both environmental organizations and some energy companies that pointed out the administration had a "real shot" at pushing legislation through if it just didn't call CO2 a "pollutant."
But Myron Ebell and those who saw new regulations as a threat to the oil industry refused to compromise. Regulations that would have started the path to decreasing carbon emissions sooner would have until another presidency.
So, if Trump's aim is to unravel the regulations the Obama administration put into play and remove the EPA's influence over the oil and gas industry, he picked the right man in Ebell, Andrew Revkin, Pace University's Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding, wrote in the New York Times.
"Ebell is really the perfect man for the job if Trump plans to carry out his campaign pledges to boost oil production even more than has already happened just based on the market, and to gut the EPA."
Ebell's own quotes are begging for a sound-bite. He went on record to suggest "the so-called global warming consensus was not based on science, but was a political consensus." He suggested that "as previous studies have concluded, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are probably thickening rather than melting" -- an assumption that has been proven false. In 2013, he also suggested that regulating carbon emissions would result in inadequate options for energy -- a point that also hasn't shown to be true. "The [regulatory] policies being promoted are insane … If you believe energy poverty is a good thing, you should support controls on carbon emissions. But most of the world disagrees with that," Ebell wrote.
Myron Ebell's perspectives toward global warming and his intense focus on shielding corporations from stringent regulation has many environmentalists worried. But it is the inaccuracy of the claims with which he defends his position that perhaps should be most concerning. And there Revkin has a solid point. Ebell would be a perfect choice for an administration that doesn't care about accuracy of claims or the legacy those inaccuracies will leave the next generation's children, so long as industry profits are realized.
Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.