Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Home > Columns > Progressive Tirades > EPA Dismissals and the Corporate Involvement in Government

EPA Dismissals and the Corporate Involvement in Government


Source: Interpretations for a Grade

Note: This article does not necessarily represent the views of the NWYJ, only the views of the author

The Trump administration announced today (May 8, 2017), the dismissing of most of a key EPA science review board, and the deletion or halting of several Obama- administration climate websites such as a kids’ climate change website. [1]

Why?  A spokesperson for the EPA said in a statement, that they’d like to consider a wide range of viewpoints. It was also said in a statement that the Trump administration would like to break away from the Obama administration. [2]

Is the EPA so pathetic under Scott Pruitt that they have to accept factual, potentially conflicted-of-interest viewpoints? Two of the EPA’s top priorities are

  1. Ensure that all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work;
  2. Ensure that national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information

You can’t do that if you dismiss half of a key board and then replace them with corporate insiders. Throughout history, almost no corporation has ever sought to protect the people or the environment, at least those involved in politics. Corporations have influenced politics in the negative, in most other areas as well. From Chevron’s influence on Clinton causing a government agency to spread fracking, to the financial industry’s push for the repeal of Glass Steagall, corporate involvement has done nothing good for the American people. [3][4]

The three ‘lawmakers’ associated with the Financial Services act and the repeal of Glass-Steagall,  Phil Gramm (R- Texas), Jim Leach (R-Iowa), and Thomas J Bliley Jr. (R- Virginia), had a long history of close ties with the financial industry.

Jim Leach has received over a quarter million dollars from the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate industry, which ties for top donor group over his career. Thomas Bliley received almost 100 thousand from the same industry, and they’re his top donor group, as well as being one of his employers. However, even these numbers pale in comparison to Phil Gramm. [5][6][7]

From 1995 to 2000, four of five of Gramm’s biggest donors were from in the financial industry. His top three donors were JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse Group, some of the biggest banks on Wall Street today. In total, he’s received almost $6 million dollars from the financial, insurance, and real estate industry. [8]

The result of this corporate influence? Glass Steagall was effectively destroyed. This lead to the 2008 financial collapse through the encouragement of risky behavior, and the knowledge that if there was any issue the government would bail them out, as they were ‘to-big-to-fail’. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren correctly notes, Glass Steagall provided stability for 50 years, before its repeal led to the 2008 crash. [9]

In January, Bernie Sanders introduced a bill that would allow the commercial importation of cheaper medicine and drugs from Canada. While this may seem trivial, a 2014 study by the Commonwealth Fund found that 1 in 5 people between 19 and 64 (35 million people) did not fill out a prescription due to inability to pay. The vote was surprisingly un-partisan, to a degree, with many Republicans supporting it, and many Democrats not. [10][11]

Voting preference was more easily determined by corporate influence. Notable Democrat ‘nays’ included Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Robert Casey, Sen. Patty Murray, and Sen. Michael Bennet. Not surprisingly, these senators took huge amounts of money from the Big Pharma. Cory Booker took about $275,000 from the Pharmaceutical industry, the most of any Democratic senator. In fact, all of the previously mentioned senators took around a quarter million from the Big Pharma. [11] Booker only supported Sen. Sanders’ next bill of the type, because of public pressure from the state he ‘represented’. [12]

These 13 Democrat ‘Nay’ votes resulted in the failure of the bill, meaning that Americans would continue to pay by far, the highest prices for pharmaceutical drugs in the industrialized world. [13][14]

The issue also extends to the oil industry, now a large, corrupting influence in the government. According to Priceofoil.org, the oil industry gets an 11,900% return on every dollar it spends on lobbying. Annually, governments around the world give almost $1,000,000,000,000 in subsidies to the oil industries. To put that in perspective, it would only take $160 per year, per person to end world hunger by 2030, and 5 of 6 people in the world would have to be living in extreme poverty for it to cost the same. [15] Some estimates even put that number as low as thirty billion, a mere 1/33 of annual oil subsidies. [16][17]

Why? Oil’s campaign finance donations, and other donations to candidates. In 2016 alone, top donors in big oil donated almost $60,000,000 to Candidates, Parties, and PACs. Their investment is sure to pay off, with politicians vehemently protecting big oil. [17]

In fact, Donald Trump, who is looking to end the ban on offshore oil drilling, has taken over four-fifths of a million dollars, and his former rival Hillary Clinton has taken almost $900,000, just in the last election cycle. While she was secretary of state, she had several initiatives to spread fracking around the world. [18][19][20]

The dangers of fracking are often understated, with many deeming it safe. There have been reports of fracking-related illness and water contamination leading to extreme sickness, and even a connection between fracking and earthquakes. According to ProPublica, there have been over 1,000 cases of fracking leading to water contamination. [21][22][23][24][25][26]

Corporate sponsorship has never been good for the people. Corporations only seek to further their own good through manipulation of the public sector to serve their will.

Ah, but some of you will say, it doesn’t matter in this case. Climate Change is obviously just a hoax by the Chinese. It’s not real, and therefore, corporations controlling the very entity that regulates them and stops them from destroying the environment may be dismissed. Unfortunately for science skeptics, Climate Change and Global Warming are real, and is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity today.

In 40 years, average global temperature has risen almost a full degree Centigrade, the last three decades have been the hottest in eight centuries, and CO2 levels are the highest they’ve been in over 800,000 year. At that time, the average temperature was 11 degrees higher than it is. Summer sea ice, especially in the arctic, has seen a drastic decrease in volume. [27][28] But how do we know it is our fault?

1). Solar Activity has a contrasting trend with global average temperature, so it’s not the sun. [29]

2). The earth is currently warming at 20x faster rate than normally, at the end of an ice age. It’s not a natural cycle. [30]

3). Carbon-12, mainly produced from fossil fuels, is rapidly increasing compared to natural sourced, Carbon-13. This shows us that increased CO2 and global warming is anthropogenic. [31]

Climate change is real, and human activity is currently accelerating its effects. Trump’s replacing of EPA officials is simply another step in the corporatization of the government. These industry ‘experts’ care not for the environment, simply their own profits. If any action from Trump should be stopped, this is this one.

 

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/05/07/epa-dismisses-half-of-its-scientific-advisers-on-key-board-citing-clean-break-with-obama-administration/?utm_term=.be6a86abbdab

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/05/08/us/politics/ap-us-trump-epa-science-board.html

[3] https://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2009/11/12/john-reed-vikram-pandit-re-consider-glass-steagall-10-years-on/

[4] http://www.unarts.org/H-II/ref/949-3747-1-PB-1.pdf

[5] https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00004280&type=I

[6] https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=2000&cid=N00002126&type=I&newmem=N

[7] https://www.opensecrets.org/revolving/rev_summary.php?id=18940

[8] https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00005709&type=C

[9] “Elizabeth Warren Pt. 2 – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 4/15/2009 – Video Clip | Comedy Central”.

[10] https://www.sanders.senate.gov/download/drug-importation-bill-summary-and-background?inline=file

[11] http://theslot.jezebel.com/for-some-reason-cory-booker-and-12-other-dems-killed-a-1791116094?utm_medium=sharefromsite&utm_source=The_Slot_twitter

[12] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cory-booker-bernie-sanders-drug-re-importation_us_58b5a8ade4b060480e0c2b52

[13] http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/08/23/Americans-pay-more-than-double-what-other-nations-pay-for-drugs/8501471964588/

[14] http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/28/health/us-pays-more-for-drugs/

[15] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/07/how-much-would-it-cost-to-end-hunger/

[16] https://borgenproject.org/the-cost-to-end-world-hunger/

[17] http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-industry-influence-in-the-u-s/

[18] https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/contrib.php?cycle=2016&ind=E01

[19] http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/hillary-clinton-fracking-shale-state-department-chevron

[20] https://theintercept.com/2016/05/23/hillary-clinton-fracking/

[21] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/14/fracking-hell-live-next-shale-gas-well-texas-us

[22] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/09/07/the-connection-between-earthquakes-and-fracking/#2c36e5116d68

[23] https://www.epa.gov/hfstudy

[24] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/09/07/the-connection-between-earthquakes-and-fracking/#2c36e5116d68

[25] http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global-warming/issues/fracking/environmental-impacts-water/

[26] https://www.propublica.org/article/buried-secrets-is-natural-gas-drilling-endangering-us-water-supplies-1113

[27] https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/decadaltemp.php

[28] http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/09/what-ocean-heating-reveals-about-global-warming/

[29] https://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

[30] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/feb/24/earth-is-warming-is-50x-faster-than-when-it-comes-out-of-an-ice-age

[31] https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/outreach/isotopes/stable.html