Articles Tagged with Pruitt

Thumbnail image for EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgAccording to a recent Washington Post article, the EPA has lost a tenth of its criminal investigators since Trump has been in office.

The reason this is good news to polluters is that the special agents in the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division are responsible for investigating the most serious criminal violations of the nation’s anti-pollution laws–violations which can result in prison time for those convicted.

The result is: less investigators, less referrals to the Justice Department for prosecution. In 2017, only 206 criminal cases were referred to the Justice Department compared to 228 during the previous 12 month period under President Obama. Not surprisingly, the number of referrals in 2018 is on pace to drop even lower.

We keep hearing about big spender, Scott Pruitt, taking first class flights around the globe on the taxpayer’s dime. In fact, Politico reported in February that Pruitt spent over $90,000 last June on first class flights instead of coach, as required by federal regulation, because angry individuals were confronting him in airports and occasionally yelling profanities at him.

It appears, however, that when it comes to spending his own money, he is a bit cheaper.

Last week, ABC News revealed that EPA Chief Pruitt had been renting a Capitol Hill condo partly owned by lobbyist Vicki Hart, whose husband, J. Steven Hart, is president of Williams and Jensen, a firm who lobbies the EPA on behalf of polluters. The terms of the unconventional lease with the lobbyist allowed Pruitt to pay only for nights when he used the condo, at a rate of $50 a night. Apparently, Pruitt’s daughter and wife also stayed at the condo with Pruitt at times. Documents further show that Pruitt paid only $6100 to use the condo over about 6 months, which works out to approximately $1020 for about 20 nights use per month. With weekday rates at 3 star Capitol Hill hotels starting in the mid $200’s, or 2 bedroom apartment rentals running $3000 a month and up, this below-market deal would appear to be an in kind gift to the EPA administrator from a lobbyist…who lobbies the EPA.

climate-change-2254711_1920.jpgThe world is heading for a potential climate catastrophe and a recently released report has unmasked the biggest corporations responsible. The report entitled “Carbon Majors: Accounting for Carbon and Methane Emissions 1854-2010”, by researcher Richard Heede, “offers the most complete picture to date of which institutions extracted the fossil fuels that have been the root cause of global warming since the Industrial Revolution.”

In other words, this report lists which corporations are responsible for the majority of the carbon dioxide emissions that are fueling climate change. It’s obvious that energy corporations would be on this list. What is surprising is how few corporations can be responsible for so much. A full 63% of carbon dioxide emissions since the 1850s can be traced back to only 90 of the largest fossil fuel and cement producers in the world. Predictably, the United States accounts for a large share of these corporate giants. Among the nefarious 90 are the 21 American corporations listed below:

Chevron Texaco

If Scott Pruitt wants to spend his professional career as little more than a cabana boy to polluters, that’s his business.

Until.Scott Pruitt 2 (2).jpg

He wants to be in charge of the US Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission it is to regulate and, where necessary, punish those same polluters. There, Pruitt’s joy in providing total, unbridled servitude to polluters has no place.

Over these last few days since President Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord, he and his aides-most prominently, EPA chief Scott Pruitt-have been unwilling to answer a simple question: “Does the President think that climate change is a hoax?”

However, for as important as this question is, it is unnecessary. Why? Because we already know the answer. And the answer is that Trump and Pruitt do not believe in global warming. In fact, it’s even worse than that. These guys do not believe in science. They do not accept that science has any role to play in environmental decision-making.

We know this because their contempt for science has been at the root of every decision they have made: from pulling out of the Paris deal; to insisting that the EPA’s budget be slashed by a third; to firing EPA scientists and pulling scientific information off the EPA’s website; to wanting to cut almost half the resources currently being used to clean up the country’s most dangerously contaminated (“Superfund”) sites; to putting back on the market a pesticide already proven (by EPA scientists, no less) to damage children’s brains.

Thumbnail image for coal-1626401_1920.jpgYour average second grader knows that 1,300 is not the same as 50,000…..and that 400 is not the same as 7,000.

But the man who heads the US EPA evidently does not know this.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt was all over the airwaves the last few days, defending the United States’ backing out of the Paris climate change accord by saying that the decision was necessary to support coal industry job creation. As statistical evidence to support this, Pruitt claimed:

Thumbnail image for donald-2075124_1920.pngPresident Trump’s decision to abandon America’s commitment to the Paris Climate Change Accord is just the latest horrible environmental decision that he has made. Here are just some of the others:

  • Trump named as head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, a lackey for the petroleum industry who has spent his legal career arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have the power to protect the environment. To witness Pruitt in action is to watch an idiot–who was put in place by Trump, not just because he is an idiot, but because he is the oil industry’s idiot–who will make you believe that he begins each day wondering, “What can I do for oil companies today?”
  • Trump and Pruitt have both publicly toyed with the idea of eliminating the EPA altogether, and recently proposed to cut its budget by 31%–greater than that for any other federal agency.
  • They want to cut by almost 50% the already grossly inadequate funds dedicated to cleaning up the country’s most contaminated and dangerous sites (“Superfund” sites)
  • They cynically defend these cuts by promising that the states’ environmental agencies will “pick up the slack” and “are in a better position to do the work anyway”, even though they know this is a lie. Most of the states do not have the money or competence to do the things that the EPA does, and many of them are on record saying so.
  • They have pulled down from the EPA’s website truthful scientific information that the petroleum companies did not want there.
  • They have withdrawn EPA’s previous ban of a pesticide (“chlorpyrifos”), even though years of scientific study proved that it threatens young children’s developing brains.
  • They fired EPA scientists whose job it was to keep the agency focused on its mission of protecting the public’s health.

These decisions reveal a level of ignorance and cruelty that was unthinkable until Trump came along. Environmental protection is a moral issue, above all else. Because, while in a general sense all of us are the victims of pollution, and of the wars over a lack of water and food that rampaging climate change is already provoking, the truth is that those most acutely threatened are the poor, the politically powerless, and, especially, their children. They are the ones who get sick and die, or have shortened life spans, or must live (if they are so lucky to live at all) with starvation, debilitating cancers and chronic respiratory disease…..because decisions such as Trump’s announce that these human beings are not deserving of the same standard of environmental protection as everyone else.

Trump’s decisions are immoral. Because they are made by our elected leader–and because the rest of the world understandably believes that he speaks for Americans–these decisions declare that, as a country, America is abandoning those who suffer most from pollution, and are least able to defend themselves against it.

Thumbnail image for EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgHot off the presses is the Trump/Pruitt proposed 31% cut to the EPA’s budget, including slashing more than $300 million from the fund used to clean up the most toxic and dangerous sites in America, i.e., “Superfund” sites. If this cut passes Congress, thousands will get sick and others still will die because the contamination that the EPA would have cleaned up or mitigated will now be left in the environment to wreak havoc on our citizens, mostly children.

For the last 3 months, EPA Chief Pruitt has promised that such massive cuts made sense because the states were in a better position than the federal government to provide the necessary environmental protection.

Well, the new budget proposal reveals Pruitt’s promise to be a lie, as it proposes to slash the environmental grants to states by 45%, from $1.1 billion to $600 million. In other words, Pruitt wants to take away half of the states’ resources for fighting pollution, at the same time that he promises that they will fight more pollution.

Thumbnail image for plants-2168119_1920.jpgGet ready for a lot more of this.

Last September, the Obama EPA issued a new rule limiting the levels of air pollution that would be allowed in the states. The idea was to save lives and health, because industrial air pollution is well-documented to threaten both. Wisely, the rule created an exception for events outside the state’s control–such as wildfires or volcanic eruptions–that could dramatically increase air pollution on a short-term basis, and which the state had little or no ability to control.

But leave it to history’s most polluter-friendly EPA, run by the petroleum industry’s best spokesperson, Scott Pruitt, to take a good idea and exploit it as an excuse to create more life-endangering pollution. According to a lawsuit filed by two giants in the environmental protection field– the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and The Sierra Club–Pruitt has created another exception to the rule. This exception goes far beyond creating short-term allowances for natural, unforeseeable, uncontrollable events. As alleged, this new exception now allows more “emissions from coal-burning power plants, oil refineries, chemical plants, hazardous waste incinerators and a wide variety of industrial activity”, so long as the emissions are the result of “reasonable controlled human activity”.

Scott Pruitt 2 (2).jpgAfter having been rightly scorched for his stupidly false recent public statement that humankind’s behavior may not be a major contributor to global warming, EPA chief and oil industry hack Scott Pruitt has taken to discussing his views almost exclusively with media he trusts to lob him only friendly, softball questions. Mostly, that means Fox News.

This is no knock on Fox News or the people who watch it. Fox News has the First Amendment right to broadcast as it sees fit, and its viewers similarly have the First Amendment right to watch whatever they wish.

But it is most definitely a knock on Pruitt. As the head of a federal agency established to protect public health (EPA), Pruitt has intentionally devoted his tenure to gutting the agency altogether, abolishing its sacred mission in favor of letting corporate polluters savage the environment and human health. For example, besides embracing the idiot “science” of climate change “hoaxers”, Pruitt has also recommended a huge (30+%) whacking of the EPA’s budget–greater than for any other federal agency; cut programs intended to clean up dangerously contaminated sites and waterways; reversed without explanation EPA’s finding that a herbicide was dangerous to young children and should be taken off the market; stripped the EPA’s website of important scientific notifications to American citizens; and fired many of the scientists on the agency’s Advisory Board–just to punctuate the message that the Trump/Pruitt EPA is hostile to legitimate science.

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