Energy & Environment

EPA head casts doubt on 'supposed' threat from climate change

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt on Wednesday cast doubt on the idea that climate change poses a threat to the United States.

Pruitt told conservative North Dakota talk radio host Scott Hennen on WHO-AM that that's one of the reasons why he is organizing a "red team/blue team" exercise to try to challenge what the EPA chief called "so-called settled science" on climate change.

"We've talked about, Scott, having a red team/blue team exercise, where we bring red team scientists in, blue team in, ask the question: What do we know, what don't we know about this issue," Pruitt said on the show, where he appeared with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R).

"The American people deserve an honest, open, transparent discussion about this supposed threat to this country. And we need to advance that," he continued. "Hopefully, sometime this fall, we'll be able to actually get that going."

A draft federal report publicized Monday detailed numerous effects of climate change that the United States and the world are currently experiencing, like higher temperatures and strong precipitation events.

It linked the changing climate directly to greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.

Pruitt, however, is skeptical of the scientific consensus that human activity is far and away the primary cause of climate change.

The EPA chief believes that the climate is changing and humans have some part in that, but maintains that scientists do not know how much that contributes to climate change.

Pruitt said Wednesday that the Clean Air Act cannot be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Clean Air Act was set up to address regional and local air pollutants," he said on the radio program. "Congress has not spoken on this issue at all."

The Supreme Court ruled in the 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA that greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act, and can be regulated if the EPA determines that the gases harm human health or the environment. The EPA made such a determination in 2009.

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