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EGEB: US Interior Department official falsified climate-policy reports

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • An Interior Dept official falsified reports with climate-denial language.
  • EPA chief Andrew Wheeler defends the proposed slashing of his department’s budget.
  • After complete destruction by Hurricane Dorian, the Bahamas rebuilds its power grid with solar.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Climate-denial falsification

Indur M. Goklany (pictured above), a longtime employee of the US Interior Dept, inserted false claims into at least nine reports at the US Interior Department, according to the New York Times, who reviewed the documents.

Goklany was promoted to the office of the deputy secretary in 2017 by the Trump administration and was charged with reviewing the agency’s climate policies.

He inserted statements such as that CO2 is a benefit — it “may increase plant water use efficiency” and “lengthen the agricultural growing season” — and that scientists don’t agree that the Earth is warming.

The Times reports:

Samuel Myers, a principal research scientist at Harvard University’s Center for the Environment who has studied the effects of climate change on nutrition, said the language ‘takes very specific and isolated pieces of science, and tries to expand it in an extraordinarily misleading fashion.’

In 2015, Goklany published an article on climate-change deniers the Heartland Institute’s website called “Carbon Dioxide: The Good News” in which he claims that emissions from fossil fuels had already increased crop yields by at least 10-15%. He has four articles published on the Heartland Institute’s website that are all about climate-change denial. DeSmog Blog reports of the Heartland Institute:

Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets reports that the Heartland Institute has received $676,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998.


The Heartland Institute has received roughly $395,000 from the tobacco company Philip Morris.

Goklany explicitly makes it known that he’s a big fossil-fuel supporter, and the fact that he’s doctoring Interior Dept documents is reprehensible. Here are his views from the horse’s mouth:

EPA budget slash

As Electrek reported on February 10, Donald Trump proposed a 26% slash to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget. It would eliminate 50 EPA programs and cut the research and development budget from $500 million to $281 million.

EPA head Andrew Wheeler defended the budget cuts last Thursday in front of lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, saying [via the Hill]:

We are focused on the core mission of our agency so we can continue to protect the land, the air, the water, and we believe we can do that with the budget we requested.

Wheeler also continued the fight against California’s tougher standards on fuel efficiency:

It’s still better to have one national standard. I hope that when California sees our final regulation when it comes out they will agree that it’s the best approach for the entire country.

The EPA wants to roll back fuel economy standards, while California has pushed for automakers to reach an average fuel economy of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2026.

Congress is expected to ignore Trump’s budget request when it comes to environmental issues.

Solar in the Bahamas

Six months ago, Category 5 Hurricane Dorian devastated the northern Bahamas, in an area called the Abacos. And the power grid was not spared in that destruction. So the island nation has turned to solar microgrids in its rebuilding process with the Islands Energy Program, which is run by the Rocky Mountain Institute. The video below explains the program:

As CBS News reports:

The Bahamas’ goal is to produce 30% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Justin Locke and Chris Burgess of the Islands Energy Program believe the country can do even better.

‘The price of renewables have come down to the point where they’re now very, very competitive with diesel,’ Burgess said. ‘And in most cases, way cheaper than diesel.’

‘The key game changer has been battery storage,’ Locke said. ‘Battery storage has decreased in cost over 60% over the last five years. And what battery storage does is it enables the sun to shine when the sun is not shining. Renewables make more sense here than anywhere else in the world.’

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.