In the aftermath of this month’s elections, the Missouri Sierra Club and Webster University are holding a panel Wednesday on environmental issues.
President elect Donald Trump has tapped one of the foremost climate change skeptics to dismantle President Obama’s environmental efforts. Myron Ebell of the libertarian group Competitive Enterprise Institute will set the direction of federal agencies which address climate policy.
Among other things, he rejects research showing global warming to be man-made and real, and has called the Clean Power Plan “illegal”. John Hickey with the Missouri Sierra Club says the panel discussion will focus on reacting to Trump’s moves. “We will fight vigorously to make sure that the Environmental Protection Agency follows the law and does its duty under the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to protect people in Missouri as well as in the country from air and water pollution” said Hickey. “And if that means we’ve got to sue the EPA. We are more than ready to do that.”
Trump has repeatedly called the concept of man-made climate change a “hoax.” Ebell, who is not a scientist, has said “a lot of third-, fourth- and fifth-rate scientists have gotten a long ways” by embracing climate change.
Hickey says the panel discussion will also center on what he calls “bright spots” from the election, including voter approved renewal of a sales tax to fund soil conservation and state parks. “We know from evidence like that, that Missourians support public lands. They support clean water when that is set up as stand-alone issue.” Hickey claims the tax, which passed by an 80 percent margin, was supported by all 114 counties in the state. He says the Sierra Club will now try to get those voters involved in a campaign to support environmental policies Trump wants to eliminate.
Hickey further notes another positive result for environmentalists was the election of several sympathetic state lawmakers. “Senator Scott Sifton in St. Louis County had a very strong reelection despite having hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent against him” said Hickey. “You look at a Crystal Quade from Springfield. Or you look at a Martha Stevens in Columbia. Or you look at a Mark Ellebracht in Clay County. You had a number of pro-environmental candidates who did win.”
The panel event takes place at noon Wednesday at Webster University in St. Louis, and will also be attended by 91st District State Representative Jeanne Kirkton. Hickey will serve as moderator. Also on the panel are Megan Price, the Student Government Vice President at Webster University, Don Corrigan, an editor at the Webster-Kirkwood Times and Amanda Rosen, Associate Professor of Politics & International Relations at Webster University.