Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt claims that he has done more to fight pollution than President Obama.
As we all know, Donald Trump nominated Pruitt to take the reigns of the EPA, and he’s been neutering it ever since.
A denier of climate change, Pruitt has sued the EPA at least 12 times to contest regulations that keep us safe and healthy from those who would pollute our water and air.
President Obama took many steps during his tenure to fight pollution and climate change.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, Obama signed the first significant environmental law in twenty years to fix our broken chemical safety system. Obama also increased fuel efficiency standards and tightened pollution standards for automobiles. He enacted a Clean Energy Plan and made the United States a high profile member of the Paris Climate Agreement in a broad effort to fight climate change.
Obama also increased oil and gas regulations to reduce air pollution and placed pollution limits on nuclear power plants.
These are just a few of the many things President Obama did to help protect the environment and the American people from the ravages of pollution and climate change.
But Scott Pruitt had the gall to tell the Washington Post that he has done more than President Obama.
“I don’t hang with polluters; I prosecute them,” said the man who received large campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry during his run for Oklahoma Attorney General. “I think it’s important in this agency to deal with the bad actors. The difference … is that the agency historically has viewed all industry and all stakeholders as adversaries, as opposed to partners and allies in improving the environment. When you have that kind of … blanket approach, you don’t achieve good things for the environment.”
When he’s asked about allegations that he’s letting polluters off the hook, he insists that he’s actually being more aggressive than the Obama administration. He noted that the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and the Gold King Mine waste water spill in Colorado happened during the previous administration. He also accused the Obama EPA of cutting the number of personnel in the criminal enforcement office by almost 25 percent.
“As a former attorney general … I know what it means to prosecute people, and I can tell you that it’s a point of emphasis,” he said. “In fact, I’m the first administrator in probably more than a decade — I’ve been told by staff — that has actually spoken to the criminal enforcement division here to say, ‘Here are the priorities we’re going to set.’”
Of course, Scott Pruitt is full of crap just like Donald Trump.
The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that Pruitt’s record as EPA chief is the worst since the agency was created, even worse than Reagan-era agency head Ann Gorsuch.
Pruitt has muzzled scientists, placed fossil fuel industry insiders on the advisory board, and rolled back regulations to the point where the EPA is powerless to do anything to stop polluters from poisoning us.
That’s not fighting pollution. It’s enabling it.
One incoming adviser nominated to the board once said that “modern air is a little too clean for optimum health.”
At a time when we need to Environmental Protection Agency like never before, Pruitt is busy handing control of it to Big Oil and Big Coal so that they can profit from polluting. Water and air are necessary to our survival. Without them, we die. But that doesn’t matter to wealthy polluters, and it certainly doesn’t matter to Pruitt. They’ll always be able to buy clean water and air for themselves while the rest of us suffer.