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Emails Expose Close Connection Between EPA And Climate Change Deniers

Emails Expose Close Connection Between EPA And Climate Change Deniers
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Scott Pruitt, President Trump's head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has a long history of climate change denial. It should come as no surprise then that recently released emails show the EPA working closely with conservative groups to gather other climate change deniers at public hearings on the issue and respond to various controversies within the agency as they appear.

Before the EPA's annual hearing on the its science standards, John Konkus, the EPA's deputy associate administrator for public affairs, sent an email to Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute:

If you send a list, we will make sure an invitation is sent.

Later emails show the pair discussing potential invitees who were known for "rejecting scientific warnings of man-made climate-change, including from groups like Plants Need CO2, The Right Climate Stuff, and Junk Science."

The emails were obtained by the Environmental Defense Fund, who filed a Freedom of Information request and then gave their findings to the Associated Press. The EDF are hoping to bring attention to Pruitt and senior EPA officials surrounding themselves with like-minded scientists who believe curbing environmental regulation is best for the environment and the country despite almost unanimous scientific consensus to the contrary. Put simply, it seems Pruitt's Environmental Protection Agency thinks we should be protecting the environment less, find the few scientists who agree with them, and give them sway in national policy over the reservations of the majority of the scientific community, including many within the EPA itself.

The Heartland Institute sell themselves as a free-market think-tank. Ignoring decades of conclusive research on the subject, they state that "climate change alarmism," is causing us to "squander one of America's greatest comparative advantages among the world's nations." Tim Huelskamp, a former Kansas Republican congressman who now runs Heartland, commented to the Associated Press:

Of course The Heartland Institute has been working with EPA on policy and personnel decisions. They recognized us as the pre-eminent organization opposing the radical climate alarmism agenda and instead promoting sound science and policy.

Konkus himself is an example of the personnel the EDF is concerned about. A political consultant before being hired by Pruitt, The Washington Post has reported that he scours grant applications for any mention of climate change, which he refers to as the "double c-word."

Konkus also sent emails to Heartland asking that they "echo" Pruitt's messages on climate change, and celebrating the departure of a reporter, Justin Gillis, from the New York Times. Joseph Bast wrote in one email:

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead . Still waiting for Chris Mooney and Juliet Eilperin at the WaPo and Seth Borenstein at AP to flame out.

H/T - AP, Getty Images