*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
It is likely true that one or two American citizens are beginning to comprehend the meaning of the phrase heard biennially, “elections have consequences.” There were also one or two Americans frantically warning the people that if the election went the way it did, those consequences would have a deleterious effect on every aspect of every Americans’ life whether it was their livelihood, personal freedoms, or their health.
Americans’ health is going to be one aspect of life in Trump’s great American that is going to face serious consequences as a result of the election and not just because the nation’s three major healthcare programs are being prepped for the trash heap. To compound the near certainty that Americans’ healthcare is going to suffer Trump’s “greatness”along with the prospect of destroying agriculture in its entirety, more Americans are going to need medical treatment if Trump’s choice of a notorious climate change denier to lead the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gets his way; and there is every indication he will.
It is likely that the notorious climate change denier hates everything about the Republican created EPA and wants it abolished, or at least completely neutered, nearly as vigorously as the Koch brothers. It is too bad for the American people too; because with Koch Republicans in complete control of the federal government, whatever environmental protections exist now will go the way of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), civil society and the concept of “general welfare of the people.”
The man Trump decided was best suited to help transition the EPA into an agency in name only is Myron Ebell. The climate change denier is the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The Ebell-led group (CEI) runs a website, SafeChemicalPolicy that exists for the sole purpose of downplaying the health risks and ecological impacts of chemicals on living beings, including the human kind. In fact, one has to concur with Mother Jones that Mr. Ebell believes in his heart of hearts that pesticides (various poisons) “aren’t bad for you.”
One might be inclined to believe Ebell and his propagandist “energy institute” if he would drink a six-ounce cocktail of all known pesticides on national television, but he won’t because he does not have a death wish or want to suffer an agonizing death from cancer, or grow a new set of genitals more appropriate for women.
One of the pesticides Mr. Ebell claims is safe is atrazine. The pesticide is banned in Europe, but it is “used widely on US farm fields” despite it being dangerous and highly controversial for what it does to living beings. Atrazine is an endocrine disrupter; a term used for any chemical that mimics hormones. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; endocrine disrupters “produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.”
That pesticide, atrazine, doesn’t just stay on areas it is dispensed; it is “widely found” in streams, rivers and drinking water supplies in and around agricultural areas where it is used. Even at extremely low levels, research from the University of California-Berkeley discovered that atrazine triggers sex changes in frogs. Just reporting the damaging effects of a poison banned in Europe, but “widely used” in America, earned the Berkeley research scientist Tyrone Hayes a lengthy campaign of harassment from atrazine’s manufacturer Syngenta. Myron Ebell’s group did its part to aid Syngenta by completely dismissing “the well-established existence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a myth conjured by anti-chemical activists.”
Most 3rd graders understand that without bees, the preponderance of plant life would cease to exist and “agricultural” plant life is no exception. And yet there is another class of pesticides called neonicotinoids that is linked with “an ever-accumulating weight of evidence that it is responsible for declining honeybee health and mass death. Neonicotinoid use has exploded since the late 1990s at about the same time honeybee populations began declining, and yet Myron Ebell’s group CEI “completely denies” the poisonous chemicals pose any harm to bees. Just to make sure bees are treated the same as American citizens; Ebell joins Republicans and completely rejects any role for the federal government to protect America’s bee population, a position that is tantamount to refusing to protect America’s agriculture industry.
The EPA always does its due diligence in studying the harmful effects of any chemicals on human and wildlife before issuing a report or recommendation, and their long, slow review of the bee-killing chemicals has finally produced results. Last January the EPA released its assessment of the pesticide class neonicotinoids, including two produced by giant pesticide producers Bayer and Syngenta.
The agency’s assessment of the more prominent chemical is Bayer’s Imidacloprid; one that is “heavily used on cotton and soybean fields” that affect large regions of the South, Midwest, and California. The EPA’s scientists discovered that “the chemical is so harmful to bee colonies” that the agency should take action to “restrict or limit its use.” With a “poison denier” directing the agency’s upcoming course of inaction, one can be confident that the EPA will have to be satisfied just knowing it tried to do the right thing for bees and American agriculture.
It goes without saying that Trump’s EPA transition to inaction guy is a major threat to the environment due to living in the Dark Ages when science was considered blasphemous and an affront to god. Ebell brings that same opposition to scientific research on climate change as he does to research showing the adverse effects of poisons sprayed on agricultural products to human and wildlife. The simple reason is that Ebell’s group CEI receives major funding from the petroleum, coal, and the automobile industry. Climate activists weighed in on Trump’s choice of a special interest to direct the EPA and they were rightly distressed. Read their concerns about the Trump effect on the climate here and here.
There are consequences, adverse and dangerous consequences, of electing a tyrant with no regard for science, the climate, the ecology and environment to run the country. One of those consequences is installing a dirty energy advocate to transition the EPA and who not only denies climate change, but he denies that toxic pesticides are dangerous to human beings or that killing off the one insect crucial to sustaining life on Earth is no bigger deal than Americans going through spontaneous pesticide-induced sex changes.