The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accidentally included a quote from a senator blasting President Trump in an otherwise fluffy press release.
Following Trump’s signing of an executive order that eliminated environmental regulations on coal-fired power plants by the Obama administration, the EPA — an agency now led by staunch EPA opponent Scott Pruitt — put out a press release full of glowing words for Trump’s executive order that mistakenly featured a quote from Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) mistakenly attributed to Senator “Shelly[sic] Moore Capito,” a recently elected Republican from coal-producing West Virginia who has praised Trump’s climate policy. Mother Jones captured a screenshot of the original press release:
While signing the order, Trump said his administration would be “putting an end to the war on coal.”
“We’re going to have clean coal, really clean coal,” he added.
Of course, the entire reason former President Barack Obama initially put the coal plant regulations in place was precisely because coal is possibly the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet, and attempts to have zero-emission coal plants is a pipe dream. As The Huffington Post pointed out, all previous attempts to construct “carbon-capture” coal plants — in which CO2 produced from burning coal is stored underground rather than sent into the ozone — have been utter failures.
“There is no such thing as ‘clean coal,’” Greenpeace spokesman Travis Nichols told the Post. “It’s a myth used by the industry to get taxpayer money in order to prop up a dying industry. It’s worse than pixie dust and hope, it’s coal dust and nope. Coal miners deserve a just transition, not snake oil and empty promises.
The statement from Sen. Carper mistakenly included in the EPA’s press release reads as follows (the bold text immediately follows the quote included in the EPA’s press release):
With this Executive Order, President Trump has chosen to recklessly bury his head in the sand. Walking away from the Clean Power Plan and other climate initiatives, including critical resiliency projects is not just irresponsible— it’s irrational. Today’s executive order calls into question America’s credibility and our commitment to tackling the greatest environmental challenge of our lifetime. With the world watching, President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have chosen to shirk our responsibility, disregard clear science and undo the significant progress our country has made to ensure we leave a better, more sustainable planet for generations to come. This order clearly proves that this administration is not serious about protecting jobs and our environment. As a West Virginia native, I understand the plight of coal miners in today’s day and age. But the Clean Power Plan isn’t the coal industry’s problem—market forces are. Let’s be perfectly clear: this executive order will not bring back the coal industry. It is an insult to the men and women who voted for him for Donald Trump to say otherwise.
When asked to respond to his quote being included in the EPA’s press release, Sen. Carper’s spokesperson told Mother Jones that the senator was “happy to lend his words to a good cause.” After the mistake was spotted, the EPA sent out corrected version of the press release that included Shelley Moore Capito’s actual quote, which was much for flattering than Carper’s.
Jamie Green is a contributor for the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.