Completely subservient to the industries it's supposed to regulate:
Not long after President Trump’s inauguration, the head of a fossil fuels industry group requested a call with the president’s transition team. The subject: Barack Obama’s requirement that oil and gas companies begin collecting data on their releases of methane. That outreach, by Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, appeared to quickly yield the desired results.
“Looks like this will be easier than we thought,” David Kreutzer, an economist who was helping to organize the new president’s Environmental Protection Agency, wrote of canceling the methane reporting requirement in an email to another member of the transition team on Feb. 10, 2017. Three weeks after that email, the E.P.A. officially withdrew the reporting requirement — and effectively blocked the compilation of data that would allow for new regulations to control methane, a powerful climate-warming gas.
This isn't just willful ignorance (burying your head in the sand), it's a concerted effort to conceal information that's vital to the public and its institutions. Among many other things, it allows fossil fuel cheerleaders like John Hood to write glowing Op-Eds about natural gas to a public that is kept ignorant on purpose. Just as methyl mercury once was for coal, fugitive methane is the dirty secret of the natural gas industry, and Trump's kakistocracy has been working overtime to maintain that secret:
The emails are included in hundreds of pages of E.P.A. staff correspondence and interviews recently made public in a lawsuit that 15 states have brought against the agency over the regulation of methane. Led by Massachusetts and New York, the states say the documents prove that fossil fuel industry players, working with allies in the early days of Mr. Trump’s E.P.A., engineered the repeal of the methane reporting requirements with no internal analysis, then created the rationale for the decision after the fact.
That repeal, the states assert, illegally delayed the development of additional regulations to reduce methane emissions that the administration did not want.
If the states succeed, a judge could, as early as this summer, order the federal government to impose restrictions on thousands of oil and gas wells, storage facilities and pipelines across the United States. Just last week, a federal court, restoring an Obama-era regulation, struck down a Bureau of Land Management effort to weaken restrictions on methane gas releases from drilling on public lands.
We've lost 3 1/2 years of critical time that should have been dedicated to reducing those methane emissions. That can also be measured in metric tons of a greenhouse gas that makes carbon dioxide seem harmless in comparison. And what is their excuse for not gathering this data? Well, there's no sense in gathering data if it won't be used:
Ms. Sgamma and Mr. Kreutzer said that, because it was clear that the Trump administration would have a different policy on methane from the Obama administration, career staff members at the E.P.A. agreed that continuing with a requirement to collect data on releases of methane no longer made sense.
“It would have been a waste of time to submit data that weren’t going to be used,” Ms. Sgamma said of her email. “I merely called this to their attention.”
Mr. Kreutzer, who rejects the scientific consensus on climate change and is now a senior economist at the Institute for Energy Research, a research organization that supports fossil fuels, said he did not recall “any push back or controversy” over the decision. “It would have been the worst sort of bureaucratic indifference to impose a costly burden to collect information that no longer had a purpose,” he said.
Of course that's ass-backwards. You can't do the work if you don't have the data. Which of course was the whole point in canceling the collection of said data.