22 December 2018
PREMONT, Texas — Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), a leading climate skeptic, is leaving Congress after earning between $1.2 million and $3.9 million in oil revenue since the 1980s.
When I lived in Washington DC in the early 1980's, I'd occasionally stroll down to the Mall to see the then-new Vietnam War Memorial.
Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Credit: NASA<p>In the contentious 2018 midterm elections, while the Democrats could make some gains and possibly monkey-wrench Trump's rollbacks by reclaiming majorities in Congress, climate isn't a factor.</p><p>General revulsion to Trump's policies and personality is hardening America into a sharply divided land of Trump haters and Trump zealots. But those policies and personality are holding him relatively steady at about 40 percent support among Americans, and nearly 90 percent support among Republicans. Few GOP representatives or Senators seem poised to challenge him.</p><p>A few key Congressional deniers are retiring at the end of the year, notably Lamar Smith, who has used his chairmanship of the House Science Committee as a blunt instrument against science; and "Smoky Joe" Barton, a fellow Texan who in 2010 apologized to BP for alleged rough treatment by the Obama Administration after the largest offshore oil spill ever.</p><p>But many, many more are staying. Jim Inhofe, a spry 83 years old, hasn't yet said whether he'll run again in 2020. If he does, there's no reason to believe that the king of Senate climate denial won't reprise his 40 percentage point victory in 2014.</p><p>John Barrasso's seat is just as safe. The gentleman from the Wyoming coalfields won his second term by a three-to-one margin, and is running for his third in November. Unless the Democrats stun the political world by wresting control of the Senate, Barrasso will likely continue as Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.</p><p>Inhofe and Barrasso have dozens of ideological soulmates in the House and Senate. John Shimkus, who is given to <a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2010/11/shimkus-cites-genesis-on-climate-044958" target="_blank">citing the Book of Genesis</a> as proof that climate change is impossible, won by three to one in 2014 and ran unopposed two years later. He has a longshot opponent this year.</p><p>On the non-government side, the Heartland Institute staff — infamous for their billboard linking <a href="https://www.livescience.com/20107-heartland-climate-change-billboards.html" target="_blank">climate scientists or activists to the Unabomber and Osama bin Laden</a>—now must remove their tinfoil hats while passing through White House metal detectors to advise the Administration. </p><p>Former Inhofe aide Marc Morano has seen his media profile shrink, but he still leads a cadre of deniers who accuse climate scientists of only being in it for the money. According to <a href="https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=11407" target="_blank">recent IRS filings,</a> Morano's employer pays him a base salary of $188,000.</p><p>So the moral of <strong><em>this </em></strong>story is that climate denial may not be growing, but it's a fool's errand to think that it will vanish any time soon. Climate change is showing us its real costs every day and clean energy is finally taking off, but <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/08/a-global-rightward-shift-on-climate-change/568684/" target="_blank">denial lives</a> in the highest levels of American government . </p><p>And denial will continue to thwart, or at least slow, progress.</p>
ATLANTA—In the off-year 2017 elections, Doug Jones was just the Dreamland candidate for Southern Democrats' comeback.
Environmental Protection Agency political staffers have been working to internally replicate through agency action a bill that would restrict the kind of science that the EPA can use when writing regulations, internal emails show.
Jane Worthington moved her grandkids to protect them from oil and gas wells—but it didn't work. In US fracking communities, the industry's pervasiveness causes social strain and mental health problems.
"I was a total cheerleader for this industry at the beginning. Now I just want to make sure no one else makes the same mistake I did. It has ruined my life."
We tested families in fracking country for harmful chemicals and revealed unexplained exposures, sick children, and a family's "dream life" upended.
EHN.org scientific investigation finds western Pennsylvania families near fracking are exposed to harmful chemicals, and regulations fail to protect communities' mental, physical, and social health.
"Once they had the results of our study [families] felt like they had proof that these chemicals are in their air, their water, and making their way into their bodies."