Trump team blames 'radical environmentalists' for deadly California fires


Trump's interior secretary just doubled down on wildfire lies.

California is suffering through a historic natural disaster and the Trump administration can't, or won't, even acknowledge what's causing it.

Since the administration's policy is to deny and downplay climate change, they are refusing to admit that massive wildfires like those in California are being fueled by rising temperatures and drier conditions, which are a product of climate change.

Instead, Trump — and now his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, too — are offering up fictitious reasons for the series of deadly, monstrous wildfires that have already claimed at least nine lives as they continue to ravage Northern California.

And predictably, they're blaming liberals. For wildfires.

Zinke claimed in a USA Today op-ed that "radical environmentalists" are partly responsible for the fires because they have pushed back against "active forest management" — policies that include thinning trees and harvesting timber in an effort to reduce wildfire risk.

In the article, Zinke actually argues that these so-called "radical environmentalists" would "rather see forests and communities burn than see a logger in the woods."

What he forgot to mention is that Trump's budget actually cut millions of dollars dedicated to tree clearing and forest management.

Zinke's absurd claim comes two days after Trump tweeted that the fires should be blamed on "bad environmental laws."

It's a false claim roundly rejected by scientists, who say it's the Trump administration's refusal to acknowledge climate change — combined with its ongoing efforts to dismantle environmental regulations and international climate change accords — that's doing the real damage.

Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement in 2017, and regularly pushes an aggressively anti-environment agenda.

Continuing his tradition of denying science, Trump pushed the absurd notion this week that there's simply not enough water in California to fight the deadly fires.

"California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized," he tweeted.

Completely untrue.

“We have plenty of water to fight these fires,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced on Monday. Meanwhile, a FEMA official spoke to CNN this week and confirmed that "there is no water shortage or problem with access to water hindering firefighting efforts in California."

Trump later claimed that water is "being diverted into the Pacific Ocean," which is another fabrication.

White House aides admitted they had no idea where Trump even came up with the mangled idea that a water shortage was fueling the fires.

Trump and Zinke's misinformation campaign represents a hallmark move from an administration that feasts off falsehoods and grounds its real-life polices on outright lies.

As Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) warned in a recent interview with Shareblue Media, "The ignorance displayed by the president is a serious national crisis."

And now, it's compounded by the ignorance of Zinke, who is so desperate to avoid discussing climate change that he's inventing boogeymen ("radical environmentalists") to blame in the face of an ongoing natural disaster.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.