Green groups petition to bar Ebell from EPA

Source: Camille von Kaenel, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More than 57,000 people have signed a petition asking the White House to prevent Myron Ebell from leading the transition team for President-elect Donald Trump’s U.S. EPA.

The White House has agreed to provide an official written response to the We the People petition within 60 days if it gets 100,000 signatures by Dec. 9. Ebell is well-known for questioning the mainstream view on man-made climate change at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He is also reportedly being considered to lead the agency under Trump, who has vowed to roll back many of President Obama’s climate policies.

The petition is unlikely to get in front of Trump. But a handful of environmental advocates have backed the effort.

“The petition can’t stop the appointment of Ebell, but is a powerful way to show resistance,” Jamie Henn, a spokesman for 350 Action, wrote in an email. “Appointing a conspiracy theorist like Ebell to head a major government agency would be a national embarrassment, not to mention a disaster for climate progress.”

Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund, told followers on Twitter to sign and share the petition, as has the Conservation Law Foundation.

Jeremy Symons, the associate vice president for climate political affairs at EDF, said Trump’s appointment of Ebell was a sign he would not keep his promises to voters.

“[Ebell]’s not only a climate denier, he’s an industry mouthpiece,” he said. “Donald Trump promised change and promised to drain the swamp, and instead he’s appointed the lobbyists of the swamp to the transition team. … This is a case of putting the fox in charge of the hen house.”

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has received money from oil and gas companies and trade groups.

The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment.

The Obama administration launched the We the People section of in September 2011 to allow citizens to petition the government for a response around a particular issue if the number of signatures reaches a certain threshold. A 2012 petition urging the government to fund a Death Star as a job creator received an official, if tongue-in-cheek, response. In 2014, Obama signed a bill that was drafted in response to a petition allowing mobile phones to be unlocked.