Articles Tagged with Pruitt

science-1336664_1920.jpgThe other shoe is dropping. We learned last week that EPA chief Scott Pruitt was firing his agency’s scientists—the ones who review scientific evidence and determine whether, for example, humans can tolerate less contamination in their drinking water than previously thought, or certain pesticides do damage to children’s developing brains, and therefore should be off the market. We just learned this week that he will likely replace these scientists not with other scientists who are looking out for the people whom the agency is charged with protecting, but instead with so-called “representatives” of the industries the agency is supposed to be watching and regulating and punishing, where necessary, for polluting.

In other words, Pruitt will be trading scientists for corporate lobbyists. He will be transforming the EPA from the protector of the health of the American people to the protector of the profit of the American polluter. It’s a grotesque disfigurement of one of the most valuable and necessary champions of clean air and water that we have had in our society. It’s startling: the EPA will lose key scientists who believe their job is to protect our health.

So it’s not just that Pruitt disagrees with the scientists who know what it takes to keep people safe; it’s that he has decided that their voices aren’t important enough to listen to. It is no exaggeration to say that this decision will cost people their lives.

The oil industry hack (Scott Pruitt) who was appointed by President Trump to head the EPA has just quietly fired half the members of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board. This is the group of highly-regarded and dedicated scientists who determine, for example, the dangers to human health threatened by the chemicals that the oil industry and others force into our environment. It is not clear at this moment whether Pruitt plans to not replace the members of the Science Advisory Board at all-which would be logical, since Trump and Pruitt are openly hostile to science-or to replace the scientists with frauds who, for example, deny that pesticides harm children and that petroleum industrial pollution has anything to do with global warming. It’s (yet another) sad day for human health and the environment in America.

sun-1884518_1920.jpgFiring scientists who make decisions based on scientific evidence smacks of Galileo being convicted of suspected heresy for teaching that the earth revolves around the sun. The scary thing is that, while Galileo was condemned for telling scientific truths in 1633, Pruitt did the same thing this past weekend. Almost 400 years later. Maybe Pruitt has found some nut in a lab coat who will say that Galileo was wrong, after all, and deserved to be convicted.

Don’t laugh.

Thumbnail image for EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgAn environmental group known as the Center for Biological Diversity just sued the EPA under the Freedom of Information Act. The Center requested that the EPA make public EPA chief Pruitt’s email communications with polluters like oil companies and pesticide manufacturers. The Center wants to know if, while he has been the EPA chief, Pruitt is behaving like he always has when he holds public office, i.e., doing the bidding of polluters, unremorseful about the damage he is doing to the citizens whose health he is charged to protect.

Naturally, the EPA-now under Pruitt’s control-refused to turn over a single piece of paper. But Pruitt’s communications with these polluters are not secret; under the law, the public has the right to see them. Let’s hope the Center is successful in its suit and gets these documents that Pruitt wants to keep secret. And let’s hope it’s the next step in Pruitt leaving the EPA in disgrace, as he deserves.

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EPA 2428323462_b1d7b53238_o.jpgScott Pruitt has repeatedly stated that he’s cutting the EPA’s budget for Clean Air programs because those programs are not the EPA’s job and that he expects the states to do more to ensure clean air.

This is a lie. Here’s what Scott Pruitt knows:

(1) The states don’t have the money for more environmental protection. They don’t even have the money for what they’re supposed to be doing right now. The State of Illinois where I live, for example, cannot even afford to pay to keep all of its schools and government offices open, or for the medical care, it is contractually obligated to provide its employees. Many other states are in similarly pathetic financial shape. In short, anyone who proposes extensive new state programs for anything-protecting the environment, or otherwise-should have their sanity questioned.

industrial-720706_1280.jpgWhat do you suppose happens when a town cuts its police force and no longer tries to catch people speeding on the most dangerous roads in the town? More speeding, more danger, right?

In fact, if the town didn’t want to catch speeders any more on those roads, what is the surest way to accomplish that result? Cut the police force, right?

Now, what if the speeders themselves were in charge of the town’s decisions about how many police to have, and whether to dedicate them to catching speeders?

Will President Trump and the man he appointed to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, rig our system for determining which sites are the most environmentally dangerous in the country by ignoring the threat of vapor intrusion that these sites pose to human beings living near them?

Sadly, there are many thousands of industrial sites around the US that are badly contaminated. These are sites where, years ago, companies dumped, spilled, or buried toxic chemicals. The key question for each of these sites is: does it threaten human health? Can its dangerous chemicals travel in water or air to where people live and work?

For years, the US has evaluated these contaminated sites to determine which pose the greatest threat to Americans, and therefore which deserved the greatest attention and resources for getting cleaned up. The most contaminated sites appear on the “Superfund National Priorities List.” They are often referred to as “Superfund” sites.

Two things that Scott Pruitt just said prove that he is so deep into the pocket of big oil company polluters that he can’t find his way out. He’s not fit to head the EPA.

Here’s what Pruitt said:

(1) “I think people across this country look at the EPA much as they look at the IRS.” That’s what he recently told the Conservative Political Action Conference. But he’s dead wrong. Here’s the truth: It’s not the “people across this country” who look at the EPA like it’s the IRS. It’s polluters who look at the EPA like it’s the IRS. Because the EPA has the power to make them stop polluting, to clean up the pollution they cause, and to protect the American people against pollution. This can cost the polluters a huge amount of money. Polluters fear the EPA because of this power. Polluters hate the EPA because of this power. But “people across the country” don’t fear or hate the EPA. They think of the EPA as the cavalry, riding in to protect them when some polluter has ruined their environment. They know they don’t have the political or financial power to stop polluters-especially the biggest and worst ones, like the big oil companies. So, they think of the EPA as someone who will stop polluters for them, as the people’s protector (even if the EPA doesn’t always merit this respect). I know this because, during my 17 + years of representing literally thousands of families whose air, water, or soil has been contaminated by reckless polluters, that’s what they tell me. That’s what they think of the EPA. That’s what they want and expect the EPA to be. Nothing remotely like the IRS.

It’s hard to say what’s worst about Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s choice to head the EPA. Among the choices are:

·He’s a paid shill for big oil companies who masqueraded as a public servant, i.e., the Attorney General of Oklahoma.

·He used his public office to do what big oil and other polluters wanted him to do. He sued the EPA 14 times, alleging that the agency didn’t have the right to try to restrict pollution.

The recent resignation-in-disgrace of Trump Administration National Security Advisor (NSA), Michael Flynn, and the resulting damage to the country could have been avoided. If the President and his advisers had looked at Flynn more carefully before he was appointed to head the NSA (and assuming that they even cared about what they would have found), they would have realized that the conflicts created by Flynn’s unusual coziness with the Russians would explode in their faces, and badly damage our national security interests.

Are Trump and his people about to screw up again?

Trump has nominated to head the federal EPA Scott Pruitt, the Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma. And, in typical Trump fashion, the President is insisting that Pruitt’s nomination be rushed through the Senate, despite the growing number of warning signs screaming that Pruitt’s coziness with big oil and gas companies is going to result in another disastrously conflicted Presidential appointee. For example:

It is well known that President Trump’s pick to run the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has sued the EPA 14 times.

What is not so well known is that many of these lawsuits are still pending. Specifically, still pending are lawsuits that Pruitt filed charging that the EPA is behaving illegally for requiring big polluters-like the oil and gas companies that have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Pruitt’s political campaigns-to cut down on the tonnage of toxic chemicals that they belch into the environment.

What happens to these lawsuits when Pruitt takes over at EPA? He goes from the one suing EPA, to the one being sued.

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