Constituents calling their local congressmen to voice out their sentiments about a particular policy seems normal. But a cabinet official? That's new.
Following his controversial comments against climate change, the office of newly appointed Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt has reportedly been mobbed by phone calls from irate constituents.
The Trigger: Humans Had Nothing To Do With Global Warming, Pruitt Says
The public uproar was prompted by the EPA chief's ill-informed answers on CNBC's morning news and talk program Squawk Box on March 9. In the show, co-anchor Joe Kernen asked Pruitt if he believes carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary control knob for climate change.
"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," he responded.
EPA employees who wished to remain anonymous revealed to the Washington Post that the agency was forced to set up an impromptu call center to attend to the sudden influx of incoming calls on March 10, even deploying its interns for backup.
Fact Check For The EPA Chief
Critics viewed Pruitt's position on climate change as unbecoming of a leading environmental official. More importantly, it also refutes sound scientific evidence from reputable sources, which the EPA - the agency Pruitt now heads - has previously acknowledged.
According to the latest assessment by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
On March 10, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released an update about the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Based on the levels measured at NOAA's Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory, CO2 levels increased by 3 parts per million to 405.1 parts per million in 2016 —
an alarming rise in pace for two consecutive years.
Budget Cuts For EPA In Trump Era
The White House under President Donald Trump is looking into serious budget cuts for the EPA this fiscal year — from $8.2 billion a year to $6.1 billion.
Experts believe this will greatly impact the agency to the point of it being unable to carry out its core functions. The latest budget proposal also involves a massive staff reduction — from today's 15,000 to 12,000.
State grants will be slashed by 30 percent. For example, the ambitious Chesapeake Bay cleanup program, which currently receives $73 million, will only have $5 million in the coming fiscal year. In addition, at least 38 key programs will be completely abolished as well.
"This budget is a fantasy if the administration believes it will preserve EPA's mission to protect public health," former EPA Chief Gina McCarthy said in a statement.
Trump doesn't believe that climate change is happening. He was highly criticized during the campaign period when he said climate change is a hoax by China to sabotage the U.S. economy.