Saturday, March 28, 2015

197.2 - Outrage of the Week: non-existent policy on climate change claims its first victim

Outrage of the Week: non-existent policy on climate change claims its first victim

The Outrage of the Week this week is a continuation of last week's Outrage of the Week. Then, I described the outrage of Florida Gov. Rick "Voldemort" Scott banning the use of the terms global warming, climate change, and sustainability in any official form or report.

As part of that, I noted that Voldemort's administration claimed there was "no policy" on such a ban. Well, now we learn that that claim has as much connection to reality as does their claim that global warming doesn't matter.

On March 18, the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, released a statement on the case of Barton Bibler, a longtime employee of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Gov. Rick "Voldemort" Scott
On February 27, he attended a meeting of the Florida Coastal Managers Forum and provided to hid managers a partial summary of what was discussed. That summary included some references to climate change - such as, for example, quoting his summary, "FEMA Floodplain - Climate Change Guidance."

As a result, his superiors at the DEP told him to remove all references to climate change and issued a letter of reprimand for supposedly misrepresenting that the “official meeting agenda included climate change" even though his notes made no claim to being an official agenda. He was ordered to not come to work for two days, at the end of which time to received a "Medical Release Form" requiring that his doctor supply the DEP with an evaluation of unspecified "medical condition and behavior" issues before he would be allowed to return to work, a form that required him to allow the release of all his personal medical records to the DEP.

All, apparently, based on that policy that doesn't exist.

What's more, it develops that at least two other states either have or had similar bans. Last fall, a former employee of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reported that she was explicitly ordered to remove references to “climate change” from the agency’s website by members of the administration of now-ex-PA Gov. Tom Corbett. (Corbett lost his attempt at re-election in November.) And last summer, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources was found to be removing links and documents about climate change from its website.

And this is going on at a time when network TV news continues to ignore climate change. According to a study by media watchdog group FAIR, between January 25 and March 4 the three networks with regular evening news shows - ABC, CBS, and NBC - had a total of 479 stories about extreme weather, most of them about the blizzards in the northeast. Not only did they almost completely ignore the equally-dramatic record heat and drought being experienced by the western US, only eight of those stories even mentioned climate change, even though an increase in severe weather such as has been seen over the past years is a sign of climate change.

I don't know which is worse: Right-wing politicos suppressing reality or major media ignoring it. I do know that each is an outrage.

Sources cited in links:

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