Judge to EPA: you are legally required to turn over Pruitt's documentary evidence for climate denial


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/05/epistemological-smokescreen.html


#2

Hazmat protocols must be observed for viewing the documents in question. Considering that Pruitt pulled those statements out of his ass.

How did they get in his ass? Well, let’s just say he had been bending over for a meeting with Oil industry executives and leave it at that.


#3

I’m in love with this phrase.


#4

Deep reading. Very deep. Dry, too. I chafe at the thought of what Pruit’s taken for the greater good.


#5

Nail these fucking fucks to the wall.


#6

Band name


#7

I always wondered how advanced lifeforms grew a spine… seems to me that they did so in response to some external stimuli or environmental changes.


#8

If you leave them like that the bodies decompose and release all their carbon. You need to bury them deep as part of a carbon sequestration plan. Only way they can pay off their debt to society.


#9

This is a good judge. There are a lot of new judges being installed by this current administration who are not. You will see more (and less) of this sort of thing. Hang on.


#10

The Trump administration has obvious problems with the law and basic ethics.

It’s like if someone points out “this is the law, you have to do it” their response is “but I don’t wannnaaaaaa!” (makes frowny face.)


#11

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the EPA…


#12

asking the EPA to turn over documents Pruitt relied on to form this view

i.e. lobbyists’ cancelled checks


#13

I know Canadian freedom of information law, not the American FOIA, but isn’t this defense just bizarre on its face? Obviously the judge thought so, I’m just surprised they even put it forward. Freedom of Information is about producing records that already exist. It doesn’t mean doing a bunch of research. It means producing whatever briefing materials (and the materials that supported the creation of those materials) that were given the Pruitt to deny the fact of climate change.

Plus it feels like the argument being made has painted themselves into a corner. By arguing that the materials would be burdensome to produce, they are necessarily saying that there’s a lot of them. Presumably in reality there are none and they just don’t want to say that. This seems like an really easy way to turn public embarrassment into perjury.


#14

FOIA in the US works the way you’re thinking it works.


#15

The opinion is a real doozy.

The judge really gets stuck in to the EPA’s arguments which basically amounted to:

  1. We don’t have to do this because we can’t tell what documents are being requested.
  2. We don’t have to do this because there are so many documents but we can’t even tell you how many or present any sort of evidence at all about the problems other than to say there would be some.
  3. How does anyone know anything anyway? Know what I mean, man?
  4. We could comply with the first part of the request but we’ll only do it if they drop the second part.

The answers to which (in short, the judge goes into it at a lot more length and slightly more politely) are:

  1. Yes you can.
  2. Not good enough. If there are reasons it would be too onerous, you have to spell them out in detail - and you couldn’t be bothered.
  3. It’s your job as an administrative agency to be able to explain and justify your actions/statements so you’d better know.
  4. That’s not how the law works. You don’t get to decide which parts to comply with to suit you. If it’s a valid request and you conceded that it is, you comply with it. If there are other requests which might not be valid, you still have to deal with the ones that are valid. Oh and by the way, the second part is valid so get on with it.

Yup, that seems fairly obvious. I think it’s the second part of the request that has the EPA in difficulties. The first part would be easy enough: “Mr Pruitt did not rely on any EPA documents in making the statement, he was speaking his own personal opinion”.

Ok, that’s embarrassing but since the whole administration is built on putting people who vehemently disagree with the basic principles of the agencies they’re in charge of in position, so what? He can just carry on with the bullshit “It’s all a area of subjective opinion, experts’ views differ, etc.”

The second one is more problematic since it means the EPA would have to either produce documents concluding that human action is not the main cause of climate change or admit that it hasn’t got any.

Since the Trump administration presumably has the EPA scouring the world for any halfway reputable scientific evidence that human action is not the main cause of climate change and those reports have evidently not been written yet (or else they’d have trumpeted them already), that would be annoying.


#16

The sad part of this is what does Pruitt care if th EPA is sued? He’d like nothing more for them to be tangled in legal messes, unable to act. The more they are dealing with legal prpblems the less they can get in the way of businesses doing whatever the fuck. It’s easy to win when all you want is for things to be broken.


#17

Pruitt is a festering boil on the ass of humanity. Speed the day.


#18

Scott has so many checks from fossil fuel companies it would be onerous to photocopy them all.


#19

It sounds like something a ninja obstetrician would do to create a distraction during a difficult delivery.


#20

The FAA plays the same game.