As our nation’s former top criminal-enforcement lawyer at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, I was the agency’s legal advisor for all federal investigations into pollution crime conducted by EPA’s Special Agents. Like James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and others who have published recently, I am a voice from what is now called “the Deep State”—yet the first portion of my career in the nation’s capital in federal law enforcement was mostly focused on environmental crime. I write from being present from 1980 to 2011 in EPA Headquarters, more than 60 percent of EPA’s history, during the decades when the agency developed and applied the now well-used and trusty tools of effective pollution control.
To “export” these tools from the U.S. to share with the waiting world, in the second part of my EPA career for 17 years I worked in foreign assistance. I collaborated with the United Nations and the OECD to teach U.S. clean-water and air-pollution-control techniques to foreign countries. Domestically and globally, I have applied the science-based laws and treaties for environmental protection. I have confronted and know too well what our nation and our planet are facing. This book is the first written by an EPA insider with a wide-ranging background from federal criminal enforcement to foreign assistance, and covering many programs of pollution control.
In this genre, the market for books is growing and the interest is global. And upon such a compelling topic, Fighting Pollution and Climate Change is outstanding and unique because of these features:
- Authenticity—This book is credibly written by a longtime, hands-on, high-level, federal environmental official who knows “how to fix it” by using the wisdom of science and the levers of power. Other authors in this genre—bona fide scientists, a politician, an esteemed academic and social organizer, a philosopher, journalists, reporters, and other concerned and well-meaning persons—are all government outsiders and commentators. This book is written by an inside doer, not just an outside observer.
- Scope—Broader than climate change, this book also covers other environmental threats to life that at the same time require global attention. To bring all tools to bear on the array of problems, accordingly this book covers science, technology, engineering, economics, history, policy, law, and governance both domestic and international. This book’s expansive scope increases its intellectual appeal and usefulness in college courses in environmental studies and pre-law.
- Focus on Results—Climate change is just another air-pollution problem like many already successfully resolved by many teams of my dedicated colleagues at EPA. This book spends only a little time proving the dismal climate science (which is now certain) and lamenting the frightful consequences of continuing with the fossil-fuel business-as-usual. Going forward from today, I show how to repurpose and adapt the many available and effective technologies and EPA’s proven policies to create solutions to stop the man-made destruction of the climate. This book is positive and hopeful.
- Personal Growth and Civic Action—Finally, this book speaks to environmental activists of all ages, especially younger people seeking meaningful careers. Within the popular genre of “how-to-do-it” guides to success, the book invites and guides every person who would build a life of happy employability as a full-time professional pollution fighter working to save our planet—finding real happiness, even joy, and a paycheck while doing important work. At the same time, the book hopes to engage the parents and grandparents of my generation. Mature readers will find answers and solutions for young people protesting the mistreatment of nature, and all readers may find reasons to make climate-saving lifestyle changes and voting choices. We all are needed, both to take effective civic action and to support our younger people seeking education leading to “green” professional careers.
From inside EPA headquarters, 40 years ago (from 1979) scientists saw climate change coming as a problem caused by air pollution. After being denied or belittled from 1981 by five of the six Presidents, in 2019 this issue finally entered widespread national awareness, and even the current TV and press media seem less distracted or afraid to address it. Now climate change is squarely on the U.S. national agenda in the 2020 Presidential election year. Much of the world sees the need to resuscitate the U.S. EPA to manage the “Green New Deal” (in whatever form it may take), and for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and restore U.S. global climate leadership. Fighting Pollution and Climate Change provides needed and timely advice to new activists in the Congress, to the youth of the Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion, We Don’t Have Time, Right to Zero, and to similar movements around the world and now marching into the news.
Since 2017, the many tools of pollution control and climate protection have been left sitting unused on the shelf or even been disassembled. This book displays these tools, of both technology and policy, and demonstrates how to use them to correctly. We must do this going forward, starting in 2021—or whenever we awaken to the danger and reform our national behavior—and let us hope just before it will be too late to avoid climate chaos.