Obama has staffed his second-term team with a couple of kickass women ready to take the lead on climate action. Two days after EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called bullshit on the notion that environmental regulations kill jobs, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, in an address to her employees, made clear that she won’t tolerate any debunked theories, either. “I hope there are no climate change deniers in the Department of Interior,” she said.
If there are any [deniers], she invited them to visit public lands managed by the agency — be it the melting permafrost in Alaska or shrinking snowpacks in the Sierra Mountains — as proof. “If you don’t believe in it, come out into the resources,” she said.
Interior will be following through on President Obama’s climate change plan, including achieving 20 gigawatts of renewable power on public lands by 2020, she said.
“You and I can actually do something about it,” she said several times. “That’s a privilege, and I would argue it’s a moral imperative.”
Moreover, the former head of REI said the federal government is able to take action on climate change on a scale “orders of magnitude” larger than any individual business, even one as huge as Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Right-wingers flipped out over Jewell’s comments about employees who might not be conversant in basic scientific facts. Don’t be surprised if deniers start twisting her statement into a form of workplace discrimination. Globalwarming.org, a denier blog with the tagline “May Cooler Heads Prevail,” fumed:
Such moralizing would be funny were it not for the chilling effect it is bound to have in an agency already mired in group think. …
Ms. Jewel’s anti-‘denier’ sermonizing is morally vacuous. It will, however, discourage candor and independent thought in an important and powerful agency.
Only a few months on the job and Jewell already behaves like a self-righteous bully. A good swift dose of congressional oversight is in order. It might just keep the thought police from harassing climate dissenters at DOI.
Just yesterday, Jewell’s bullying resulted in Interior’s first auction of offshore wind power rights. That’s $3.8 million for the federal government, and renewable power on its way to American ratepayers in as little as five years, in the first of many such auctions Interior plans to hold. If this is what self-righteous bullying looks like, bring it on.