Today is supposed to be the day that the Pennsylvania Senate votes on the nomination of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental protection nominee Chris Abruzzo. Last week, Abruzzo responded to Senator Daylin Leach’s question on climate change:
“I have not read any scientific studies that would lead me to conclude that there are adverse impacts to human beings or to animals or to plant life at this small level of climate change. But I agree there are impacts.”
A Pittsburgh Post Gazette oped said that that particular quote should disqualify Abruzzo, who has never worked a day in his life in a scientific field, from the position, but for preserving the sanctity of the institution that is the Pennsylvania Senate, Democratic Senator’s John Yudichak and Rob Teplitz are publicly vowing to vote Abruzzo because they don’t want to see the gridlock that is witnessed in Washington DC.
The Patriot News stated:
“I think he was very clear that there is an immediate problem [with climate change], and that it is impacting human beings and their environment,” said state Sen. John Yudichak, the ranking Democrat on the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
“If we were going to select a secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection to my liking, we’re going to have to elect a Democrat governor,” Yudichak continued. “But I don’t want this to be like Washington where we would apply an ideological litmus test on every issue to every position in state government.”
So Senator Yudichak thinks that voting on issues like climate change is an “ideological litmus test.” Well, if preventing the planet warming 2-6 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century is an ideological litmus test, someone should find a new political party to caucus with. It surely would get better with freshman Senator Rob Teplitz? Right?
Here’s a response from Teplitz to a climate activist.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I watched the hearing and believe that Mr. Abruzzo’s answer to Sen. Leach’s question has been distorted. If you have not had a chance to view the hearing yourself, I encourage you to do so. I heard him say that he believes that climate change is real, that humans have had an adverse impact, and that Pennsylvania has been doing more than its fair share on the issue. I did not hear anything that would overcome my general position that gubernatorial nominees who meet certain minimal qualifications deserve deference, regardless of whether or not the person would be my nominee if I were in a position to make the appointment unilaterally. I realize that you may not agree with my upcoming vote on his confirmation, but I hope that this explains it clearly.
Thank you for following up. Based on the entirety of the hearing and his comments afterwards, I stand by my interpretation of his views on this important issue. Again, I view my role not as deciding whether or not I would have appointed him myself, but whether he meets the minimal standards for the appointment in the current political context. As for colleagues that are fundraising off of this issue, I am not and so that is not something I can comment on.
So apparently Senator Teplitz’s bar is set so low that a Corbett nominee has to have a pulse and a heartbeat to run a department that runs on scientific data. Even if Abruzzo is good at being a “manager,” he does not have the scientific background to make important and critical decisions that can affect the health and welfare of those living in the Commonwealth. Without a scientific background, Abruzzo can be easily swayed into making decisions that would have adverse effects on those living in the state.