Earth Day Op-Ed by Zinke, Perry, and Pruitt

It’s not often three Presidential cabinet members pen a joint Op-ed piece, but that’s what EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, and Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke, did this past weekend.  The trio wrote a hopeful and up-beat Earth Day Op-ed, but for what I can tell it only ran in the Waco Tribune, Missoulian, and Billings Gazette.

Hardly a ringing endorsement of the message or the messenger.  Sort of reminds me of that saying, If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Sadly, no one heard this one fall – instead, everyone, including the media, was glued to their television watching climate scientists and activists, who feel aggrieved, March for Science.  And it wouldn’t be fake news to acknowledge some ordinary citizens amongst the marchers who are concerned about our future and believe our leaders aren’t listening.  It’s an interesting commentary on our times when the public feels the need to march for science – I don’t know anyone who is against science – but that’s how the tree has fallen.

What’s clear to many Americans is that climate science has been polluted by politics and many climate scientists have lost the mantle of objective credibility.  Until that changes, and trust in science is restored, political marches for something we ought all agree upon will continue.

But back to the Op-ed in case you missed it:

Since January, the Trump administration has been fighting to grow jobs while protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land we inhabit. We invite all Americans to unite behind our vision of a healthy and clean environment and a strong economy that can support it. This Earth Day, we have a message for our fellow Americans: Together we can achieve a clean environment and a strong economy.

As cabinet appointees who oversee the agencies charged with protecting our environment, responsibly developing our energy resources and managing our public lands and resources, we are taking action on President Trump’s call for both environmental and economic stewardship. Here is our forward-looking agenda.

Protect the environment and get results

The Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy each play an important role in producing and following sound science to keep our nation’s environment and economy healthy and strong — from maintaining our national park system, to working with states toward clean air and water, to providing support for research into cleaner energy.

Americans deserve results that prove our commitment to improving the environment, maximizing the potential of our federal lands and innovating for our energy future. Superfund sites shouldn’t languish on a list for decades without cleanup. Recreation areas shouldn’t go without maintenance. Innovation of energy development shouldn’t be neglected.

Stop bleeding jobs and start growing the economy

President Trump’s Executive Order on American Energy Independence took bold and decisive action to end the war on American jobs, provide relief for local communities and spur responsible energy development. In response, each of our agencies has taken on the hard work of reviewing regulations that have devastated American communities.

The days of political agendas guiding policy are over. When it comes to the economy and environment, our effort is neither left nor right — it’s about putting Americans first.

Put our natural resources to work and innovate how we do it

In this administration, all-of-the-above means all-of-the-above. The president’s energy policy will lead to energy diversity, more affordable power rates, a more reliable grid and responsible and sustainable energy solutions. This is a markedly different approach than the last eight years of heavy-handed regulation that picked winners and losers and had the net effect of stopping, slowing and even banning energy development.

Other countries may continue to lag behind in responsibly deploying energy resources in a way that minimizes negative impact to the environment, but America is already leading the way. By investing in technology that reduces emissions without destroying jobs and industry and executing strong reclamation plans after resources have been extracted, America can continue to provide leadership in responsible energy use.

Serve the people and make decisions with state and local input
For too long, job creators, local communities, tribes and states have been kept in the dark about how the federal government will regulate or support them. This hampers the very efforts our agencies undertake to achieve our shared goals of a cleaner environment and a healthy economy. As sons of the American West, we reject the idea that Washington knows best and know that our best champions of environmental and family health are those most directly affected. Through collaboration, we can achieve greater compliance.

By fixing the regulatory code and ridding it of unnecessary job-killing policies that do little to nothing to protect the environment, we are fighting to restore common sense. And by getting back to enforcement of the laws set forward by Congress and states, we are getting back to the founding principles of balanced power and federalism.

Like all Americans, we want to leave behind a rich environmental inheritance with access to pristine parks and lands, cleaner air and water, and abundant energy that can fuel the dreams of the next generation. We also want to leave that generation with a stronger America, one where opportunity waits around every corner. We want a healthy America that can take care of itself.

As we gather this weekend for Earth Day, let us celebrate this new vision for our future. American energy independence means a healthier American environment and a stronger American economy.

The message is a good one and absolutely correct – it’s all about balance. But, regrettably, many don’t trust the messenger and are starting to question the “commitment to improving the environment.”  I remain hopeful this will change in due course, and truly believe that under this Administration we can get more environmental protection.  But only time will tell.