Editor’s note: The Daily Signal’s audience found much to like in an interview of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt conducted by Rob Bluey, our editor-in-chief. Today we focus on that among other environmental matters. Be sure to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: What an outstanding interview. I’m so encouraged. Rob Bluey asked relevant, important questions, and Scott Pruitt’s responses actually went to the issues (“Trump’s EPA Chief Charts a New Course: An Interview With Scott Pruitt”).
It’s good information for the American people to know, that our Environmental Protection Agency administrator actually has a well-conceived plan and is working diligently to carry it out. I wish you would do similar interviews with other Cabinet-level officials, such as Dr. Ben Carson at HUD.
I read The Daily Signal every day, and appreciate the good coverage. It truly helps me to know our government and what is happening on the political scene. You are to be commended for asking questions that get to the heart of the issues, then giving Pruitt time and space to give meaningful answers.—Roger Pritchett
As President Trump would say, I greatly enjoyed Rob Bluey’s Q&A with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. It’s truly refreshing to have common sense prevailing over bureaucratic lunacy.
I hope the president has installed more people of Mr. Pruitt’s caliber throughout all federal agencies. We need fewer bureaucrats and more efficiency. I send emails to my elected officials reminding them that bureaucrats should not be making laws.—Brannen Edwards
Thanks for your in-depth article. The regulatory “reform” rather than deregulation strikes the right cord with me. Three big ones for me:
- The cottage industry by environmental groups using “sue and settle” to enact nontransparent rules while sucking up taxpayer dollars to feed their livelihood is going bye-bye. Hip hip hooray!
- Getting back to basics with the true stewards of the environment is long overdue. The original conservationist, the farmers, ranchers, lumbermen, and individual states having new authority.
- Reducing permits times to six months instead of 10 to 15 years … a miracle.
—Evelyn Zur, Parker, Colorado
You spotlighted a diamond in so many ways that Scott Pruitt looks like the diadem he is. Measure Trump by Gorsuch? Sure, he’s promising. Measure Trump by Pruitt? Absolutely.
This guy is getting his job done, and the ripples of his results will change America for the better. Thanks for a stellar job.—John Leary
Rob Bluey’s on-camera interview with Scott Pruitt contains positive and, frankly, hopeful information. Is it possible to get a transcript? I’d like to print a copy I can refer to and share. [We published it here, Pat.]
Thank you for the work The Daily Signal does. It is so difficult to hear rational and truthful voices amid the clamor and liberal hysteria of most news outlets.—Pat Parker
That was an incredible interview with an equally incredible public servant. I wish we could hear more things like that from the media. This is what the people need to know about making America great again. Thank you, and keep up the good work.—J.M. Clement Milam
Trump’s EPA Chief Charts a New Course: "We’re getting back to the basics and we’re operating under the rule of law." https://t.co/ITgIIQ52v2
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) October 25, 2017
Thank you for an interview that helped me to understand Scott Pruitt, and to clarify this administration’s commitment to environmental quality with economy.—Dan Dean
I was impressed. Sounds like our president made a great decision when he chose Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA.—Hayward Beeson
Excellent, thoughtful, informative interview. With so much media noise and bias, I’ve become a scanner and headline reader. This article encouraged me start reading The Daily Signal for quality news.—Bill Weldon
It is so nice to have some optimism again. What a great interview. I am very impressed with Pruitt and his straightforward answers. What a good man. We need more articles like this on The Daily Signal.—Jared C. Murray
Never done this before, but thanks for a great interview. I’m going to try passing it around to those on the left as well as the right in an effort to win some minds. Great job, great journalism.—George Brunner
It is important to me to understand Pruitt’s thinking and actions regarding the complex issues facing his department and our country. I got more and better information from your writing than I have heard or read from any other news sources.—Nancy Carter
— Rob Bluey (@RobertBluey) October 23, 2017
Targeting Conflicts of Interest in EPA Science
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Kevin Mooney’s story on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s intention to go after conflicts of interest: While progressives denounce scientists hired by oil companies, they have been doing the exact same thing to a much worse degree through the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA Chief Set to Bar Government-Funded Experts From Agency’s Science Panels”).
No expert witness who has access to government funding, other than a fee being paid for their time as a witness, should ever be allowed to testify. That is just common understanding of a conflict of interest. Witnesses are going to steer their findings to reflect that which keeps their paycheck coming.
If we bother to look at what is being referred to as scientific proof of most claims about the environment and nature, even a well-informed layman can understand that most of it is not scientific at all.—Robin Boyd
Interestingly, the federal government requires all corporations, other business entities, and even nonprofits to have strict conflict-of-interest policies and procedures in place. Yet government is far and away the biggest abuser when it comes to conflict of interest.
Same thing with whistleblower policies. Righting this wrong is part of what is meant by the term “drain the swamp.”—Mark Simmons
If Pruitt can deliver we will all be grateful. Bless the man.—Don Rhudy
All Scott Pruitt is saying is that he will ignore research paid by government grants from researchers who do not conform to the conservative, closed-minded policy. In other words, if the findings were not consistent to debunking global warming their findings will be ignored. That’s really good science.—Joe A. Elizondo
Kevin Mooney’s reporting pointed out that the EPA has been financing studies that support the central EPA objective, which is to build the agency’s power and scope. The EPA also supports “experts” who agree with the agency. Pruitt has stated that his objective is to create transparency and make scientific decisions based on observable facts rather than on faulty models. It makes sense.—Bill Tanksley
— Heidi Cady (@hgcady) October 14, 2017
Hard Lessons of the California Wildfires
Dear Daily Signal: The devastation caused by the latest Northern California wildfires is heartbreaking, as Jarrett Stepman’s commentary notes, but I seriously doubt the statement by some that these fires are increasing in number or are caused by climate change (“Environmentalist Policies Exacerbate Wildfires. It’s Time to Rethink Forest Management”).
Ancient old-growth forests show a great deal of evidence that forest fires have been occurring regularly for many thousands of years. Sequoias evolved extremely thick, fire-resistant bark long ago to deal with the heat of forest fires. For many species, fire is required to crack open seeds for new growth, as well as to clear out debris to enable young plants to thrive.
But we do need to investigate more deeply how human forest management practices have affected, perhaps disrupted, natural forest cycles. In many forests—especially obvious in some national parks—it seems that controlled burns are more regularly conducted to help clean up excess underbrush and dead plant debris in areas closest to developed areas.
In some wilderness areas, some fires are allowed to continue uncontrolled because we are learning that if you fight every fire, all that is accomplished is leaving more fuel for the next fire.
The real problem is when you have human expansion and movement into forests that perhaps are not sufficiently managed to prevent a severe fire. Here in Southern California, we have learned that when it rains, it grows, and when it stops raining, it dries and burns. Always has, always will.—Richard Hubert
What has been learned by true scientists as opposed to environmentalists or today’s politicized so-called scientists is that forests are a patchwork of unevenly aged stands of various sizes.
There never was the unbroken, primeval virgin forest that has been romanticized by environmentalists. Fires were started by lightning on the ridges, which is why they often exhibit a specific vegetation pattern that can withstand flash fires.
Sequoiadendron giganteum is actually fire-resistant, as opposed to the coast redwood Sequoia sempervirens, which is used in construction and not fire-resistant. The coastal chaparral of California is the Mediterranean sclerophyll “forest” made up of coriaceous leaved shrubs filled with volatile resins. These formations burn easily and, under normal circumstances, frequently.
However, the environmentalists have prevented these burns so that a large litter layer has built up. Ironically, the animals they were concerned about could not take the denser vegetation and moved on.
While doing my graduate work at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for both a master’s and doctorate in plant taxonomy, ecology, and ecosystems, I saw many areas that are fire-maintained, from mountain ridges to the west and savannas, pocosins, and marshes to the east in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. With fire suppression, the savannas were becoming loblolly pine plantations.
North Carolina finally passed legislation prescribing the burning of savannas at determined intervals in the proper season, if no fire had occurred. I hope we are able to save our vegetation from the tender destruction of the environmentalists.—Joan Gibson
When logging was allowed in conjunction with sustainable forest management, the acreage of vastly overgrown timber and ever-present underbrush from overgrowth was controlled by natural elements assisted by man’s desire for profits.
Every 100,000 acres of uncontrollable wildfire emits more carbon dioxide than one full year of CO2 emitted by “all” of the transportation vehicles across America in one full year.
New Mexico, following logging bans to save the trees, suffered historic wildfires after natural cycles of years of substantial rainfall. One million acres was lost in that one year, equivalent to 10 years of CO2 from U.S. transportation. That same year, over 3 million acres of wildfires occurred across the western states, equaling 30 years of CO2 from transportation.
Australia dwarfs the USA in wildfire emissions of CO2. The question actually was raised whether Australia should be fined for wildfire emissions. The question shocked many into reality.
For those thinking wildfires are caused by manmade global warming, think again. The Kellogg Fire of 1910, during a natural drought cycle, burned over 3 million acres by itself. That was when America was sparsely populated.—Blogen Geezer
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) October 13, 2017
‘I Am Old Enough to See the Difference’
Dear Daily Signal: Jarrett Stepman’s commentary didn’t mention how the environmental movement has destroyed the lumber industry (“Environmentalist Policies Exacerbate Wildfires. It’s Time to Rethink Forest Management”).
As one who lives in an area where the seasons have become fall, winter, spring, and smoke, I am old enough to see the difference between forests managed by timber companies with a stake in the health of the forest and in replanting trees versus forests “managed” by EPA regulators. They have let our trees be choked by unchecked undergrowth and damaging insects until fire has become nature’s only way to clean up the mess.
When logging was a significant part of our state’s economy, we rarely had the big fires that have become annual occurrences. The first one I can remember was in the summer of 1994.
Did logging companies have a profit motive? Sure, they did. But that was exactly why they kept the forests healthy, it was their livelihood. Now we buy our lumber from Canada and Japan, so our houses can be more expensive to build and more likely to get caught in a wildfire.—Kathy Kearny
In Southern Utah, environmental regulations have made it almost impossible to cut trees. The forests are being attacked by bark beetles, and the trees are dying. Being dry, they burn easily. If you look at old color photos of the area, it was green, but now it’s the brown-gray of dead trees.
Kaibab Lumber Co. would harvest only the trees infested with bark beetles, and the forests were healthy. Now, in addition to forests turning into dry wood ripe for a fire, Kaibab Lumber is out of business, putting many people out of work. In some towns, people abandoned their homes to find work elsewhere, and there were no buyers.
So let’s see: 1. Forests are dying. 2. This feeds huge wildfires. 3. People are out of work. 4. But it’s a “natural pattern.”—Gary Langley
‘When No One Had Heard About Climate Change’
Dear Daily Signal: I lived in Yorba Linda, California, in 1970-71, when it was virtually surrounded by huge walls of flame. We seriously wondered, each day, whether we would even still have a home when we returned from work. Thankfully, there never was a call to evacuate in our neighborhood.
This was at a time when no one had heard about climate change. We did hear about how California was going to break away from the mainland and sink into the Pacific Ocean, due to earthquakes.
We were still managing forests by burning off the old, dead growth. Most of the fires, at that time, were in areas that had not been burned off recently, just like today. So, think about this: We are no longer burning off that old dead vegetation, and where are the fires?
You got it. So-called climate change or global warming have nothing to do with these fires. Most reputable climatologists today are beginning to see that none of the dire predictions has materialized and none of the so-called data is repeatable. The climate always has changed, and it will continue to do so.—Bob Terrell
Simple things in forest management need to return to common practice. People are losing their lives, and billions of dollars in property is burned year after year.
Environmentalists stopped the cutting of trees to make breaks in large forests. They fought against clearing away fallen trees and debris that serve as kindling to set raging fires. The lumber industry was hurt badly by efforts to shut down significant commercial endeavors. Today, the U.S. gets much of its lumber from Canada.
Forests are natural resources that benefit people. Yes, they are beautiful and part of nature, but all living things need care.—Dee Hodges
— Rob Bluey (@RobertBluey) October 19, 2017
‘Our Bureaucracy Is Broken’
Dear Daily Signal: Jeff Tien Han Pon has an extraordinary background for someone of his age, as Fred Lucas reports (“The Trump Nominee Poised to Be Point Man on Draining Government Swamp”). I expect he will do a great job as director of the Office of Personnel Management. There can be no overstatement of the importance of the task he will have in front of him. His impact can benefit this nation for decades.
Our bureaucracy is broken. Let’s get together and improve it. I wholeheartedly encourage and support Pon. His Ph.D. from University of Southern California and record of achievement give this UCLA grad (history, ’71) great pleasure in seeing his commitment to excellence—which we all should appreciate.—Robert Hutchinson
The academics are in an uproar. Running your own business is at the heart of American society, and Trump is a businessman. He believes the bureaucracy is bloated, as I and every person who runs a business or ever has run a business also believe.
Naturally academics, career politicians, and career government employees striving for a six-figure salary are busy at work building their empires to achieve their goal of an even larger bureaucracy.
In America, you earn your living “by the sweat of your brow” and not by by paper-shuffling and getting cradle-to-grave security. Freedom to risk and freedom to try is at the root of our society, in spite of the liberal effort to impose sameness for everybody.—Steve Hernon
— Tea Party Patriots (@TPPatriots) October 24, 2017
Fixing Obamacare: ‘The People Are Tired of This’
Dear Daily Signal: Whatever, the Obamacare fix will not happen till after the 2018 primaries; there is no way the House Republican leadership will allow their people to have to defend what Jarrett Stepman describes in his commentary (“Why New Obamacare ‘Fix’ Is a Dud, and Narrative Justifying It Wrong”). Those Senate Republicans up for election will demand cover as well.
The people are simply tired of this. Washington is still running around pointing fingers and making claims about why Trump won. He won because the people have had enough; we understand that an all-encompassing federal government is what man has time and again had to revolt against to throw off. The Founders gave us that means of a peaceful revolt and we exercised it last November.—Robert Joseph Shannon
President Trump ends the subsidies to health insurance companies that Obamacare put in place. Their fingers point at him. What an uncaring tyrant.
Now the truth: President Obama knowingly broke the law by instituting these “subsidies,” as ruled by the courts, and Trump ended them.
“Subsidies” is a nice way of saying, “Obama told the insurance companies that if they give the higher coverage for the cost of lower coverage to those who can’t afford it, he’ll take taxpayers’ money and give it to them.” Let’s point fingers in the right direction, shall we?—Brian Rood
Obamacare is still the law of the land. You still have to have health insurance, and all of the good things are still in effect. Trump stopped payments that were deemed unauthorized by the courts. Obama should have done this.
Trump has added the co-ops and selling insurance across state lines. This means that insurance companies will have to compete for business without the government stuffing millions into their garters. Single insured consumers will be able to obtain group rates by banding together in co-ops. The chaos is only occurring in the bottom line of insurance companies.—Van Hamlin
The people who will be upset about what Trump did would never vote Republican anyway, so GOP representatives and senators should not even consider this fix. The Obamacare lovers vote Democrat anyway, so what are you concerned about? The president has to be the president for all, as a governor must be the governor for all in his or her state.—Cecil Flentge
Casey Ryan helped compile this column.