Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

CNN Smears Sensible EPA Decision

The agency's administrator, Scott Pruitt, simply followed the law and allowed a company to submit a proposal.

Did you happen to catch CNN's latest smear?

Anderson Cooper's show recently featured a "two-part exclusive" that claims Donald Trump's EPA director had conspired with the CEO of a mining company to "withdraw environmental restrictions" so the company could dig "the largest open pit mine in the world in an extremely sensitive watershed in wild Alaska."

The report was enough to horrify any caring person. CNN showed beautiful pictures of colorful salmon swimming in Bristol Bay, and the reporter intoned dramatically, "EPA staffers were shocked to receive this email obtained exclusively by CNN which says 'we have been directed by the administrator to withdraw restrictions'... Protection of that pristine area was being removed."

No! A "pristine" area and gorgeous salmon were about to be obliterated by a mine!

I would have believed it, except I happened to report on that mine a couple years ago.

I knew that the real scandal was not EPA director Scott Pruitt's decision to "withdraw the restrictions"; it was what President Obama's EPA did to the company's mining proposal in the first place.

Zealots at the EPA had conspired with rich environmental activists to kill the mine before its environmental impact statement could even be submitted.

This was unprecedented.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform later concluded: "EPA employees had inappropriate contact with outside groups and failed to conduct an impartial, fact-based review."

Now, appropriately, Pruitt undid that censorship of science.

But CNN, implying devious secrecy said, "according to multiple sources, he made that decision without a briefing from any of EPA's scientists."

Shocking!

But Pruitt didn't require opinions from scientists. He didn't approve the mine. He didn't make a science decision. He simply followed the law and allowed a company to submit a proposal.

Also, despite CNN's repeated depictions of salmon on Bristol Bay, it turns out that the proposed mine would not even be on the Bay. It would not even be 10 miles away, or 20 miles away, or even 50 miles. The proposed mine would be about 100 miles away.

Did CNN mention that? No. Never. We asked CNN why. And why not point out that the mining company is just being allowed to start the EPA's long and arduous environmental review? They didn't get back to us.

Of course, explaining that wouldn't fit CNN's theme: Evil Trump appointee ravages environment.

Their reporter did at least speak with the mine's CEO, Tom Collier, who tried to explain.

"It's not a science—it's a process decision."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Forget it, John- it's mining, down.

  • Longtobefree||

    It's not like it was a report from a real news organization; just another progressive press release.

  • colorblindkid||

    If we don't mine shit and extract resources in America in a relatively environmentally responsible way, that shit will just be mined and extracted in third world countries where there's no environmental oversight, leading to the poisoning of the land, animals, and people, and where power comes not largely from natural gas and relatively clean coal, but from super dirty coal plants.

  • colorblindkid||

    It's like with the anti-pipeline people. Shutting down pipelines won't stop oil from being produced. It only redirects it to rail, ship, and road, all of which emit far higher CO2-emissions and are more likely spill oil and result in human deaths when accidents occur.

  • damikesc||

    But it also benefits the bottom line of their favorite billionaire, Buffett.

  • jelabarre||

    There's the argument I've been making for years. Either we step back and make reasonable-minded efforts to clean up the environment, or we tighten down the screws to the point companies leave for countries that don't give a shit about the environment. Do these wackos think the polluted air is going to *stay* in those countries? Overall the overall environment will be worse.

    But then again, it's never been about *solving problems*, it's all about hotshot interest groups and bureaucrats seeing how much power they can accumulate, waving their dicks around like a bunch of drunk frat-boys.

  • Jerryskids||

    CNN isn't alone with spinning their TDS into news stories. Like the latest all-out assault on Trump's indicating he'd like to cancel the deal with Iran. He needs to do that just on principle - we don't have a treaty with Iran and the US is in no way committed to the deal. The deal was made with Obama, not the US, everybody knew it was a half-ass "agreement", and it was made that way specifically because there was no way in hell the Senate was going to agree to commit the US to the deal. This handwringing about how backing out of the deal will affect US credibility and how nobody - specifically North Korea - will trust us going forward if we back out of the Iran deal is complete and utter horseshit. *We* never made a deal and adhering to a backroom handshake deal in contravention of the Constitution shows the world we don't give a shit about the rule of law. (Not that that shouldn't already be obvious and it's not like Trump gives a shit about the rule of law any more than Obama did.) Iran made a deal with Obama and Obama ain't here now, go whine to somebody else about who's not keeping their word.

  • MJBinAL||

    Excellent point.

    Notice it is called an "Agreement" rather than "Treaty".

  • Sigivald||

    Let's be fair - this one ain't about Trump, particularly.

    CNN (and hippies) would hate this no matter who did it, "because environment".

    (That a Republican administration is involved is just gravy.)

  • Rhywun||

    My god, their website is bad enough. I can't imagine how insufferable their tee-vee channel has become since the last time I watched it a couple decades ago.

  • Bra Ket||

    "But the reporter, Drew Griffin, wouldn't budge. He called Collier "a guy who wants to mine gold in an area that many scientists believe will destroy one of the most pristine sockeye salmon sporting grounds in the whole world."

    A. what the fuck is a "sockeye salmon sporting ground"?

    B. "one of the most pristine" sounds like we still got others elsewhere, no big loss.

    3. Did you say gold???

  • Roger Knights||

    A: "spawning" was probably mis-transcribed as "sporting."

  • jelabarre||

    Nah, it's where the salmon hold their Fish Olympics.

  • BYODB||

    Ok Stossel, you got a laugh out of me for this one...


    The acronym used to make fun of anti-development attitudes used to be NIMBY—Not In My Back Yard. Now it's BANANA: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody.


    I'm going to use that going forward, it's way too on the nose. Also, excellent reporting on this subject yet again. CNN is so clearly a propaganda machine that it's a true wonder anyone reads and/or watches anything they produce anymore.


    Of course, explaining that wouldn't fit CNN's theme: Evil Trump appointee ravages environment.


    I think they're angling more for an overarching theme of Trump is the anti-Christ in every imaginable way, but that's just my take. In some ways, from their world view, I'd suppose that's fairly accurate but that's mostly because their worldview is frankly insane.

  • renewableguy||

    Stossel: Zealots at the EPA had conspired with rich environmental activists to kill the mine before its environmental impact statement could even be submitt

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/11/.....index.html

    A 2014 EPA report found a larger-scale mine would result in the "complete loss" of salmon habitat in some areas of the watershed. That report, which was based on three years of research, was the basis for a rare move in which the agency proposed pre-emptively protecting Bristol Bay from certain mining activities under a provision of the Clean Water Act, section 404(c).

    It appears Stossel loves to exagerate things.

  • renewableguy||

    If these zealots and their sycophants in the media get their way, America will become a place with no mining, no pipelines, no oil drilling, no new ... anything.

    The United States brought on strong environmental policy restricting pollution to lesser amounts. We still pollute and now with the present administration, its lets pollute more. China opened its doors to manufacturing and therefore pollution and will soon become one of the stronger nations in the world to decrease pollution since they have degraded their homeland doing so. Question is, if this company goes forward, will testing for pollution be allowed under Trump EPA or will it be squandered into secrecy in support of corporate freedom to do as they wish.

  • renewableguy||

    https://goo.gl/trv15o

    "So let's recap: According to some, scientists who receive money from oil and chemical companies are perfectly qualified to provide the EPA with independent science advice, while those who receive federal grants are not," Halperian concluded. "It's a fundamental misrepresentation of how conflicts of interest work."

    It appears Pruitt has the whole thing ass backwards. Wouldn't the science advise from industry be quite slanted. Like big tobacco saying there is no link between cancer and cigarettes.

  • XM||

    All I heard was "Trump was right, CNN is fake news".

    Fox news got to Stossel, oh no.

  • XM||

    All I heard was "Trump was right, CNN is fake news".

    Fox news got to Stossel, oh no.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Greenhadis and CNN being dishonest? But that's unpossible!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online