Pruitt To CNN: Talking About Climate Change Is ‘Insensitive’ To Floridians

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Thursday that talking about climate change while a hurricane sliced through the Caribbean on its way to Florida was “very, very insensitive” to the people of Florida.

“Here’s the issue,” Scott Pruitt told CNN. “To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm; versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced.”

“[T]o discuss the cause and effect of these storms, there’s the… place (and time) to do that, it’s not now,” he said.

Pruitt, the fossil fuel-friendly EPA administrator who sued the agency more than a dozen times before leading it, similarly said in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in Texas that it was “opportunistic” and “misplaced” to talk about climate change.

He added to CNN: “Congress should address that at some point. And Congress hasn’t. All I’m saying to you is, to use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this [sic] people in Florida.”

Still, though Pruitt doesn’t want to talk about climate change, his agency, and the Trump administration as a whole, has been proactive in slashing programs meant to address it.

Trump on June 1 announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, making the second largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world one of only three countries not signed on to the agreement.

And Trump effectively squashed the Clean Power Plan, the keystone environmental regulation of the Obama presidency, among a slew of other ignored or eliminated regulations.

Trump — who has called the concept of climate change a “hoax” meant to disadvantage the United States economically — and Pruitt aren’t alone in ignoring climate science.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Department of Environmental Protection banned its official from using the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in official communications, the Miami Herald reported in 2015.

Several federal agencies have similarly suppressed information about climate change, according to InsideClimate News and other outlets.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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