Real news: The end of science | Arkansas Blog

Real news: The end of science

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PRO PUBLICA
  • Pro Publica

In case you missed it, here's dark real news for a slow day, a joint report from Pro Publica and the New York Times:

More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since President Donald Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration.

Of the employees who have quit, retired or taken a buyout package since the beginning of the year, more than 200 are scientists. An additional 96 are environmental protection specialists, a broad category that includes scientists as well as others experienced in investigating and analyzing pollution levels. Nine department directors have departed the agency as well as dozens of attorneys and program managers. Most of the employees who have left are not being replaced.

The departures reflect poor morale and a sense of grievance at the agency, which has been criticized by Trump and top Republicans in Congress as bloated and guilty of regulatory overreach. That unease is likely to deepen following revelations that Republican campaign operatives were using the Freedom of Information Act to request copies of emails from EPA officials suspected of opposing Trump and his agenda.

This is part of an administrative-wide attack on fact, science and reason, whether in climate denial or banning of words that betray a belief in science or denying full medical rights to women.

It is more bad news for the environment. It is good news for people like Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and their ilk, who take a dominionist view of the physical world. Reverse hat tip also to former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who earned hall of shame nomination by parroting Rutledge's praise of Scott Pruitt as a great pick for EPA administrator. McDaniel, of course, made his bones supporting the last coal-fired power plant in the U.S., an Arkansas polluter that even Texas rejected.

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