Hiking Around Midstate PA: A community blog

Explore hiking trails, environmental issues, recreational funding challenges and trail maintenance in Central Pennsylvania with Jim Foster.

Opinion - Both Republicans and Democrats Should Oppose Chris Abruzzo's Nomination to be Secretary of DEP

Written by Jim Foster, Community blogger | Dec 5, 2013 8:45 AM

First, let me be clear – This post is my OPINION.  Here’s the latest revelation on the environmental front from the Corbett Administration.  Mr. Chris Abruzzo, currently acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), has been nominated to serve in this post permanently.  Here is what he said in a December 4 hearing on his nomination before Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.  “I’ve not read any scientific studies that would lead me to conclude there are adverse impacts to human beings, animals, or plant life at this small level of climate change…”

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Photo by PA DEP

Both Republicans and Democrats should oppose Mr. Abruzzo's nomination to be Secretary of DEP. For environmentalists like me who see the dangers of climate change, opposing him is a no-brainer. But, let me suggest this to others who aren't sold on the negative impacts of climate change. It's one thing for Mr. Abruzzo to say he doesn't personally believe that human based climate change is having a negative impact on humans and other species. That is a reasonable position, though I do not believe it is supported by the objective facts.  But, he's gone FAR beyond that. He is actually saying that he isn't aware of any studies that show this negative impact. Regardless of where you stand on climate change, no reasonably aware human can say there aren't good scientific studies that show the negative impacts of climate change.

HERE is a link to an excellent article by StateImpact PA, which is affiliated with WITF.  This article cites two well known studies by prominent groups, the National Academy of Sciences and the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. To my Republican friends I ask this question: Do you want a Secretary of DEP who denies the very existence of well-known studies in the areas he is going to supervise? Isn't it dangerous for a Secretary of DEP to deny the facts on the ground? This has nothing to do with where you stand on subjects like climate change, fracking and energy production. This is about HONESTY!!

Surely the reality is that Mr. Abruzzo is well aware of these studies, as well as others showing the negative impacts of climate change. No reasonably intelligent person could be unaware of them. What he is really doing is drinking the Kool-Aid being served by the frackers and energy companies who helped to elect his boss, Gov. Corbett. Mr. Abruzzo and his boss are entitled to their opinions. Yes, we had an election and Corbett is entitled to set policy based on his beliefs. But, Gov. Corbett and Mr. Abruzzo are not entitled to make up their own facts to support these beliefs.  Everyone on the right and left can see how dangerous this could be.

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