• Ed Flattau

Environmental Deja Vu

In an exercise of mistrust, the Trump Administration muzzles its own government scientists. The Trump Administration also routinely rejects environmental international treaties for fear of losing the Nation’s sovereignty. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

One can’t help but snicker at President Reagan’s explanation for his recent veto of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research bill.

The President said he could not approve a measure which would inject partisan politics into science.

Issuing this declaration with a straight face is a greater tribute to his thespian talents than any movie he ever made in Hollywood. For when has there been an Administration that has politicized science more than his?

In an acid rain study conducted with Canada, the Reagan Administration removed experienced US government scientists who were progressing towards an agreement with their Canadian counterparts on the culpability of power plant emissions. These American scientists were replaced by Energy Department officials with little or no expertise in acid rain. What these officials did possess was fidelity to the Administration’s position that it’s premature to obligate the electric power industry to spend any additional large sums on pollution abatement.

Reagan’s EPA bureaucrats have made no secret of the fact that they are going to give industry every opportunity to engage in self-regulation. The trouble arises when the agency relies totally on the scientific data of the companies being regulated. It’s even worse when EPA knowingly excludes input from scientific experts in environmental and other public interest organizations, as was the case earlier this year in regard to regulation of formaldehyde.

Our government’s hopelessly antiquated perception of the world has not yet alienated its allies. Rather, their respect for us has been replaced by scorn while they wait out what they hope will be an ephemeral chapter in American history.

[Excerpts drawn from: “Bogus Science” by Edward Flattau, distributed by The Artists and Writers Syndicate, December 8, 1982.]


Consider that among the world’s 22 wealthiest nations, the US was dead last in the percentage of gross national income allocated for foreign aid to improve the quality of life in the world’s most impoverished countries. The Scandinavian states made President Bush with his vaunted boasts of American generosity look like a piker in the realm of philanthropy…

In the concerted efforts to address climate change and poverty, the transfer of technology to the less fortunate is essential. Yet some major companies in the industrialized world have complained that making such transfer will mean the loss of property rights. Humanitarian concerns must ultimately trump monopolistic exploitations of trade secrets in an ever more interconnected international community. Otherwise instability will spread inexorably across the planet…

[Excerpts drawn from Ed Flattau “Global Horizon” columns, 1983, as reproduced in Green Morality, 2011.]


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