The political climate of the EPA can be expected to change more rapidly, now that its new head has started his first day at the agency.

Scott Pruitt told EPA employees Tuesday that he’s committed to protecting the environment and upholding the agency’s core mission, but he also signaled that major changes are ahead as he begins to dismantle much of former President Obama’s climate change agenda.

In his first address to the agency workforce, Mr. Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general who was confirmed as EPA administrator last Friday, said he intends to keep an open mind and draw from the experience of those inside the department….

“We ought to be able to get together and wrestle through some very difficult issues and do so in a civil manner. We ought to be able to be thoughtful and exchange ideas and engage in debate and make sure we do find answers to these problems,” he said. “I seek to be a good listener. You can’t lead if you don’t listen.”

It does not appear that Pruitt required a federal marshal escort into the building.

As Pruitt was meeting and greeting his new staff, US Senators passed the NASA Transition Authorization Act to transition our space agency back to a focus on….space!

At a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing yesterday, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said he wants a “rebalancing” of NASA’s mission. The lawmaker told E&E News he wants the agency to reprioritize its mission because the Obama administration cut space exploration funds.

Specifically, that could mean NASA’s work on climate change would go to another agency, with or without funding, or possibly would get cut. Smith and other Republicans avoided laying out specifics but acknowledged that earth science at NASA would likely face some significant changes in the near future.

“By rebalancing, I’d like for more funds to go into space exploration; we’re not going to zero out earth sciences,” he said. “Our weather satellites have been an immense help, for example, and that’s from NASA, but I’d like for us to remember what our priorities are, and there are another dozen agencies that study earth science and climate change, and they can continue to do that. Meanwhile, we only have one agency that engages in space exploration, and they need every dollar they can muster for space exploration.”.

Senator Smith has been busy. Legal Insurrection readers will recall the “Pause-buster” data manipulation scandal by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, which was revealed by a whistleblower.

Smith is renewing demands to see the data collected.

Republican Lamar Smith, who chairs the influential House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology, announced the inquiry last week in a letter to Benjamin Friedman, acting chief of the organisation at the heart of the MoS disclosures, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

He renewed demands, first made in 2015, for all internal NOAA documents and communications between staff behind a controversial scientific paper, which made a huge impact on the Paris Agreement on climate change of that year, signed by figures including David Cameron and Barack Obama.

I suspect the Trump administration will demand that NOAA be more responsive to the new request.