Gina McCarthy, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama, has said the Trump administration is waging a "full-throated attack" on science.
Speaking at Michigan State University in December, McCarthy, who was one of the main proponents of the Clean Power Plan, told reporters she is discouraged by how science is being handled under the current administration.
According to McCarthy, the attacks on science are present at the White House, at the EPA and to some extent even Congress.
When asked about her replacement at the EPA, Scott Pruitt – a former Oklahoma attorney general who has repeatedly sued the EPA – McCarthy made her disapproval clear.
"It's getting pretty extreme, including an administrator who's building a cone of silence in his own office," she said, referring to Pruitt's penchant for secrecy.
"The thing that I think the American people need to understand is that science matters."
Nevertheless, when the Trump administration reduces the EPA budget, takes the term 'climate change' off EPA webpages and removes the word 'science' from EPA office names, they send the American people the exact opposite message.
On the other hand, McCarthy knows the only way to ensure public health and ongoing environmental protection is to acknowledge the science behind climate change.
"That's how we make progress in the world, and no one, Democrat or Republican, wants to breathe dirty air," she said.
"A low-carbon future is also a cleaner one, if we can get there. That's the way the world is heading. We are the sole outlier in terms of the international agreement that was reached in Paris now that Syria is there."
"We have to get serious about this... " she added.
For McCarthy, the role of the EPA and the goals of the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, are critical for continued public health.
"It's all about fundamental public health protections. It's all about clean air and clean water. That's what climate change is about. It's about really the health and future of American families and kids," she said.
Yet far from creating legislation that promotes cleaner air and water, Pruitt seems more concerned with dismantling any and every Obama-era regulation put in place.
"This is all about rolling back federal protections that have been in place for decades, and about looking at the mission as returning to the sixties instead of looking at the future and how the United States needs to position itself and protect itself in light of changing science and technology."
Read the full transcript of her interview here.