Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is launching a new initiative to re-evaluate climate science outside the normal peer-review process that climate scientists use themselves, E&E News reports. The EPA will recruit experts to "provide back-and-forth critique of specific new reports on climate science," according to a senior administration official.
Robert Murray, chief executive officer of the largest privately owned coal mining company in the United States, told E&E News that he believes that the initiative is the administration's first step toward challenging the endangerment finding—the agency's declaration, based on scientific evidence, that carbon pollution endangers public health and thus must be regulated by the EPA. (In the unlikely scenario that the endangerment finding were eventually rolled back, the EPA would no longer be legally required to limit greenhouse gas emissions.)
Environmental groups have already criticized Pruitt's latest initiative for creating a false equivalency between mainstream climate scientists and the few researchers who disagree with the scientific consensus.
"Pruitt's obscene proposal to attack the overwhelming settled scientific consensus on climate change is like closing the fire department for a fake audit while a blaze is burning down entire neighborhoods," Liz Perera, the Sierra Club's climate policy director, said in a statement. "Our communities and the health of our families are endangered by the climate crisis and air pollution right now, but Scott Pruitt is instead wasting taxpayer dollars on a futile crusade to distort and run away from reality."