Monday, May 28, 2018

Bibliography - Articles Reporting on Scott Pruitt's War on our EPA

Thinking about root causes and bubbles, it seems to me our fundamental problem, the one that spawns all others - is that pretty near everyone, from top to bottom, clings to the notion that increasing economic growth is our cure-all, sadly sober math and unavoidable physical reality makes clear that it’s the path to speeding humanity’s self-destruction.  So it goes.

Over the past year, I’ve started a few Scott Pruitt projects, but have been overwhelmed and unable to follow through since it requires more focused time and energy than I could muster so I've walked away, hoping for another day.  Still I hear the news while driving to jobs and am appalled at what these people and their hatchet-man Pruitt are getting away with while most the public seems unconcerned.  Sad thing is, they are going to win unless many more children of the Intellectual Enlightenment get informed and engaged.

The following handy resource is a bibliography focused on what Scott Pruitt has been doing as EPA Administrator.  After this list I repeat it sharing selected quotes from each of the articles hoping to entice readers to continue on to the full stories and reports. This is by no means a complete list, but it is a good start.  I'd welcome any additional suggestions, if offered.
This November's election is voters biggest, best chance to oppose 
and stop the Republican Party's increasingly totalitarian regime.
Community requires Enlightened Self-interest.
Not single-minded self-interest.
Trump's Americans': ME FIRST!
Is a path to ruin. 

06/05/2018,  By Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post
(... Last month, the EPA barred reporters from entering a heavily publicized summit on toxic water contaminants. 
An Associated Press reporter was grabbed and shoved by a security guard. ...)
May 24, 2018, By Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimateNews
May 23, 2018, Marianne Lavelle, InsideClimateNews
May 16, 2018, By Umair Irfan, Vox
May 10, 2018, By Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimateNews
May 8, 2018, By Jillian Austin, Mt. Juliet High School Student Newspaper
May 3, 2018, By Elaina Plott | The Atlantic
May 2, 2018, Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune

April 26, 2018, By Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin
April 13, 2018, By Star-Ledger Editorial Board 
April 12, 2018, By Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman, New York Times
April 11, 2018, Rhea Such | ECO Watch
April 10, 2018, Dan Turner’s opinion at Fox News
April 9, 2018, Robin Bravender and Niina Heikkinen, E&E News reporters
April 6, 2018, By Howell Raines | NBC News
April 5, 2018, By Felice Stadler | Environmental Defense Fund
April 5, 2018, By Heather Smith | Sierra Club
April 5, 2018, Michael Bastasch, Boston Caller
April 2, 2018 | By Marianne Lavelle and John Cushman |
March 30, 2018, Justin Worland, Time
March 30, 2018, By Alex Guillén and Nancy Cook, Politico
March 29, 2018, By Alex Formuzis and Sonya Lunder | Environmental Working Group’
March 28, 2018, By John Podesta, Washington Post Op-Ed
March 23, 2018, By Charles P. Pierce | Esquire
March 8, 2018, By Umair Irfan | Vox

February 27, 2018, Kevin Drum | Mother Jones
February 8, 2018, Opinion by Alexander Nazaryan | Newsweek
November 19, 2017 | By Alex Guillén and Emily Holden, Politico
November 1, 2017, William D. Ruckelshaus (Administrator of the EPA from 1970-1973 and 1983-1985)
July 27, 2017, By Jeff Goodell | Rollingstone
February 4, 2017, LA Times Editorial Board
February 8, 2017, James Temple | Technological Review
December 12, 2016, Christine Todd Whitman, EPA administrator from 2001 to 2003



July 5, 2018, By Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post  
EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Has Racked Up At Least 10 New Scandals In Just The Past Month

… Pruitt had ordered an aide to set up a call with the chairman of Chick-fil-A to discuss the administrator’s wife, Marlyn Pruitt, becoming a franchisee of the growing fast-food chain. … (said) Don Fox, who was head of the federal Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration, told The Washington Post. …

On Monday, testimony that two Democrats released in a letter to Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, showed Pruitt instructed Millan Hupp, a longtime aide, to try to buy “an old mattress” … 

Yet the requests ― almost comical in their strangeness, raising new questions about his odd relationships with appointees ― served as distractions from a controversy that put Pruitt’s unabashedly close ties to an industry he regulates in stark relief. 

On Saturday, The New York Times detailed how Pruitt sat courtside at a University of Kentucky basketball game in December as the guest of Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive who aggressively lobbied to reverse Obama-era environmental rules. Pruitt has met with the Alliance Resource Partners chief executive, formerly a major donor to Pruitt’s election campaigns in his native Oklahoma, at least nine times since becoming EPA administrator.

On Friday, The Washington Post reported …

... Last week, Pruitt named Steven D. Cook, a former chemical industry lawyer, as the new head of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force. LyondellBasell, the plastics and refining conglomerate where Cook spent more than 20 years as the in-house counsel, is linked to at least three dozen Superfund pollution sites. Cook replaced Albert Kelly, … quit as the Superfund chief, …

Earlier last week, the EPA’s own science advisers rebuked Pruitt’s decision to gut Obama-era rules …

The move came weeks after the EPA proposed new rules to eliminate regulations passed in the wake of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, …

Last month, the EPA barred reporters from entering a heavily publicized summit on toxic water contaminants. An Associated Press reporter was grabbed and shoved by a security guard.
Two days in, it was still only the second-most bizarre revelation this week.
Yet Pruitt has continued to grant interviews to media outlets staffed by right-wing political operatives. 

Last week, Pruitt sat down with Boris Epsteyn, the former Trump White House official who now hosts propagandistic segments aired on Sinclair Broadcast Group stations.  …
… Neither the EPA nor the White House responded to requests for comment on Tuesday.
{Sure seems to indicate complete contempt for all but, well the oligarchs 
oh and there's Pruitt's delusion that God's on his side - something that ought be explicitly discussed more than it is.}

May 24, 2018, By Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimateNews
Pruitt 'Secret Science' Rule: Public Gets More Time for Say as Criticism Grows
The policy is aimed at restricting EPA's use of well-established epidemiological studies that underpin regulations on smog and soot from the burning of fossil fuels.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday expanded the opportunity for vocal critics to object to a controversial proposal that would restrict the types of scientific research the agency can draw on when writing regulations. …
Some of the nation's leading scientific groups and hundreds of public health scientists and professionals have warned the rule would harm public health by prohibiting the EPA from using major health studies that promised participants confidentiality.
The proposal was published for public comment on April 30. The EPA is required to consider the comments when writing the final regulation. …
… "EPA is committed to public participation and transparency in the rulemaking process," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a statement. …
… Earlier this month, a 10-member working group of EPA's Scientific Advisory Board—including four members appointed by Pruitt—published a memorandum saying the rule was proposed without the necessary scientific input and calling for the full board to review it at its May 31 meeting.
The agency originally offered a 30-day comment period for the rule, and planned to hold no public hearings. Many critics, including hundreds of public health scientists, some environmental groups and 20 senators asked the agency to extend the period, calling 30 days extraordinarily short for such a significant change.
The public comment period will now last through August 17. Comments can be submitted at this federal website. The public hearing will be held July 17 at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
May 23, 2018, Marianne Lavelle, InsideClimateNews
Pruitt’s Anti-Climate Agenda Is Facing New Challenge From Science Advisers
Members of the Science Advisory Board, including some Pruitt appointees, are raising concerns about EPA’s regulatory rollback for lacking adequate scientific basis.
Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, faces a broadening challenge to his efforts to roll back greenhouse gas regulations, as agency science advisers expand the list of policies they want to vet at an upcoming meeting.
A work group of the EPA's Science Advisory Board, in a May 18 memo, has added three more of his actions to a list they want reviewed by the full board: the weakening of auto efficiency and emissions standards, Pruitt's elimination of a rule to curb truck pollution, and the cost-benefit analysis underpinning the Clean Power Plan, which the Trump administration is trying to undo. In an April 30 memo, the work group called for the full board to review Pruitt's repealing of the Clean Power Plan
The main purpose of the board is to review the quality and relevance of scientific research used by the EPA to draft regulations.
The group's actions signal that the full board's May 30 meeting will be partly devoted to the scientific community's harshest critiques of President Donald Trump's deregulatory agenda. …
Holes in Pruitt's Fuel Efficiency Claims
The work group pointed to holes in Pruitt's evidence for his "final determination" that President Obama's vehicle fuel efficiency plan for the 2022-2025 model years went too far and should be revised. …
A Dangerously Polluting Truck
The work group also challenged Pruitt's plan to repeal the emissions standards for so-called "glider" trucks—trucks that are manufactured without engines and later are retrofitted with rebuilt ones. …
Jettisoning the Social Cost of Carbon
The work group also urged the Science Advisory Board to review the cost-benefit analysis that underpinned the decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan.
That document, a complex appendix to the final rule, is known as the "regulatory impact analysis," and the Pruitt team manipulated several of its core calculations to justify jettisoning the Obama regulation. …
May 16, 2018, By Umair Irfan, Vox
5 lies Scott Pruitt has told about his mounting scandals
The EPA administrator will face more questions about his spending and ethical offenses at a Senate hearing Wednesday.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is trying to hold onto his job as new details about his bloated security team, and his ethically dubious hiring and housing arrangements continue to leak.
As he’s made the rounds at conservative media outlets and in front of Congress to tout his accomplishments and swing back at critics, Pruitt has made some outlandish claims.
Aside from his usual misleading platitudes, for instance that the Obama-era Clean Water Rule would have regulated puddles (it explicitly does not), Pruitt has generously scattered rhetorical chaff to obscure any wrongdoing at the EPA.
But a whistleblower, former EPA Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin Chmielewski, refuted many of Pruitt’s rationales in two letters sent by House and Senate Democrats to the White House last month.  …
Lie 1: “These threats have been unprecedented from the very beginning.”
Lie 2: “This was like an Airbnb situation”
Lie 3: “Mr. Hart has no clients that have business before this agency”
Lie 4: “The two trips I took, Ed, were all in advancement of air quality issues, environmental issues to this country”
Lie 5: “My staff did it. And I found out about it yesterday and I changed it.”
May 10, 2018, By Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimateNews
Scott Pruitt Plans to Radically Alter How Clean Air Standards Are Set
Human health alone is supposed to drive air quality standards decisions. The EPA administrator's new memo emphasizes economic cost and impact on energy development.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Thursday he wants to radically revise how basic, health-based national air quality standards are set, giving more weight to the economic costs of achieving them and taking into account their impacts on energy development.
Under the law, the standards, setting uniform goals for breathable air, are supposed to be reviewed periodically asking only one question: whether they are protective enough to ensure the health of even the most vulnerable people, based on the best available science.
A foundational feature of the landmark Clean Air Act, the setting of these standards based on health, and not cost or feasibility, was defended adamantly on the Senate floor in 1970 by the bill's main author, Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, who declared: "That concept and that philosophy are behind every page of the proposed legislation."
It has withstood legal and political tests for a generation.
Pruitt's proposal would jettison it.
His approach, laid out in an agency memorandum, …
Pruitt's Latest Attempt to Silence Science
Pruitt's memo comes after several other attempts to change the role that scientific evidence plays in the EPA's decision-making. Last year, Pruitt said he would bar any scientist who had received agency funding from serving on any of its advisory committees, like the one that recommends the air quality standards.
In April, he formally proposed a policy that would prohibit the agency from using scientific studies that rely on private data, including personal health records. …
Solely on Protecting Public Health and Welfare'
The EPA website says the standards, which it is supposed to review every five years, are to be based "solely on protecting public health and welfare."
A committee of advisers reviews recent science and makes recommendations to the EPA administrator, who has the ultimate decision for where to set them. A 2001 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, written by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, affirmed that the agency cannot consider the cost of implementation when setting the standards. …
Expect Legal Challenges
But it is bound to be tested in new litigation. Any standard set under the Pruitt protocol would be certain to face challenges by environmentalists.
The memo followed a directive issued by Trump in April for the EPA to reduce the burden of air quality regulations on manufacturers.
May 8, 2018, By Jillian Austin, Mt. Juliet High School Student Newspaper
Despite Being the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt Has Done Nothing But Further the Damage Done to Our Planet
… Another reason to distrust him is the EPA’s purchase of a phone booth for the administrator. Sounds innocent right? Wrong. The phone booth cost the EPA $43,000. The booth is soundproof in order for Pruitt “to make and receive phone calls and to discuss sensitive information, including classified telephone calls up to the top secret level”.
This is, in fact, illegal. The EPA is only permitted to spend $5,000 on renovations or new office equipment. …
Scott Pruitt has started to roll back the standards put in place during President Obama’s time in office. …
… Why Scott Pruitt still has that position is a suitable question. For someone who is supposed to be protecting the environment, he seems to not have any care in the world for it. As of right now, Trump is happy with him having that job, so, to the sorrow of the environment, that is where he will possibly stay.
May 3, 2018, By Elaina Plott | The Atlantic
A Pruitt Aide's Attack on Zinke Angers the White House
As Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt faces a seemingly endless stream of scandal, his team is scrambling to divert the spotlight to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. And the White House isn’t happy about it.
In the last week, a member of Pruitt’s press team, Michael Abboud, has been shopping negative stories about Zinke to multiple outlets, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the efforts, as well as correspondence reviewed by The Atlantic.
“This did not happen, and it’s categorically false,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said. …
… On Wednesday, a PPO official called top aides at the EPA “enraged” about Abboud’s efforts, according to a senior EPA official. The PPO official inquired whether Abboud was a “Schedule C” appointee, which would place him within PPO’s jurisdiction and thus give it the ability to fire him. But the official was informed that Abboud is an “administratively determined” hire, which means that only Pruitt himself has the ability to fire him. It is unclear the extent to which Pruitt was aware of these events.
Even so, the message from PPO, according to the senior official, was: “Basically, y’all are in trouble.” A White House official with knowledge of the events added: “Absolutely nothing Scott Pruitt did would surprise me.” …
May 3, 2018, Chris Sommerfeldt | New York Daily News
EPA staffer reportedly leaked damaging stories about Interior Secretary Zinke to take ‘heat off’ Scott Pruitt 
Desperate to divert attention from Scott Pruitt, an Environmental Protection Agency employee recently tried to feed negative news stories about President Trump's Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, drawing the ire of the White House, according to a report.
Michael Abboud, a member of the EPA press team, has tried to pitch stories reflecting badly on Zinke to multiple news outlets, hoping they would take the "heat off Pruitt," according to sources and correspondence reviewed by the Atlantic. …
{Like a bunch of spoiled brats}
May 2, 2018, Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune
EPA chief Pruitt overrules staff, gives Wisconsin's Walker, Foxconn big break on smog
The Trump administration on Tuesday exempted most of southeast Wisconsin from the latest federal limits on lung-damaging smog pollution, delivering a political victory to Gov. Scott Walker as he makes a new Foxconn Technology Group factory the centerpiece of his re-election campaign.
By dramatically reducing the size of the areas required to crack down on smog, Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt overruled the agency’s career staff, a move that will save Foxconn from having to make expensive improvements as it builds a sprawling new electronics plant in Racine County, just north of the Illinois border in an area with some of the state’s dirtiest air. …
… Tweaking the list of counties in violation of federal smog standards is the latest attempt by Pruitt to roll back or delay environmental regulations enacted during the Obama administration. It comes as a new peer-reviewed study found that improvements in air quality across the U.S. have slowed significantly in recent years. …
… Pruitt has said one of his top priorities is delegating more authority to states to enforce environmental laws, though one of the reasons the EPA was created in 1970 was states either were unwilling or unable to hold polluters accountable.
Health groups note that most of the country met earlier smog standards far more quickly and at significantly lower costs than expected.
The Obama EPA estimated that most of the nation would meet the new smog standard by 2025, …
April 26, 2018, By Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin
Scott Pruitt admits little culpability in EPA controversies, mostly blames aides and staff
… Bolstered by Republican lawmakers, who praised his push to unravel Obama-era regulations and cut the agency’s workforce, Pruitt suggested the censure he’s faced in recent months stems largely from opponents who want to stall President Trump’s environmental policies.
“Those who have attacked the EPA and attacked me are doing so because they want to derail the president’s agenda. I’m not going to let that happen,” Pruitt told members of the House Energy and Commerce environment subcommittee during the morning. “A lie doesn’t become true just because it appears on the front page of the newspaper.” …
April 13, 2018, By Star-Ledger Editorial Board 
Don't overlook Scott Pruitt's real damage 
… as Rep. Frank Pallone, D-6th Dist., noted Tuesday, "There is also a no-bid contract to a political consulting firm digging up dirt on EPA staff, setting up his polluter friends with key EPA positions, allowing EPA political appointees to be paid consultants for secret clients, using a taxpayer-funded 24/7 security detail for personal vacations to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl, and demoting or reassigning staff who dare to question his egregious spending habits."
… Pallone and scores of other House Democrats have called for Pruitt's firing - reportedly, so has White House chief of staff John Kelly - yet none of these transgressions, not even the quid-pro-condo, really match Pruitt's greatest sins of all: his sadistic treatment of the planet and contravention of the EPA's core mission. …
Count the ways:
Pruitt helped convince Trump to pull out of the Paris climate accord.
He began the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which reduces emissions from power plants.
He suspended the Clean Water Rule, which sets requirements on how ranchers and real estate developers must safeguard streams that flow through their property.
He delayed limits on chemical dumps in waterways by power plants.
He rolled back federal fuel efficiency standards for vehicles.
He has refused to enforce ozone pollution limits.
He withdrew the Clean Air Act regulation of 189 toxins from industrial sources that cause cancer and birth defects - including arsenic, lead and mercury.
He ended a ban on chloropyrifos, a pesticide that causes neurodevelopmental deficits in children.
There is so much more, all bad. In all, Pruitt has rolled back nearly 50 environmental regulations which scientists say would help prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths and save billions in health benefits.
Upshot: "It will take decades to recover from the Pruitt reign of pollution at the EPA," predicts Judith Enck, the agency's former Regional Director. 
April 12, 2018, By Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman, New York Times
Lawmakers’ Letter Claims Further Spending Abuses by the E.P.A. Head, Scott Pruitt
WASHINGTON — Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, insisted on staying in luxury hotels that were costlier than allowed by government standards, while also pushing to fly on an airline not on the government’s approved list so he could accrue more frequent flier miles, one of his top former deputies at agency has told congressional investigators.
The new allegations are detailed in a scathing six-page letter signed by two senators and three House lawmakers — all Democrats — whose staff members met this week with Kevin Chmielewski, who served as the E.P.A.’s deputy chief of staff until he was removed from his post after raising objections to this and other spending.
In a separate letter on Thursday, Democratic lawmakers also demanded information about two previously unknown E.P.A. email addresses that have been used by Mr. Pruitt, asking if they were a tool for withholding public information from records requests. Their letter echoes a controversy in 2012, during the Obama administration, when Lisa P. Jackson, who was E.P.A. chief at the time, was criticized for a similar use of an undisclosed E.P.A. email account.
April 11, 2018, Rhea Such | ECO Watch
Scott Pruitt Has Betrayed the Mission, the National Interest and the Public Trust
… Pruitt’s greatest affront to the country is his single-minded effort to weaken, delay or do away with the EPA standards and rules that defend our air and water, protect us from toxic pesticides and chemicals, and enable us to fight the growing dangers of climate change.
Those commonsense safeguards are grounded in sound science, the public interest, and the rule of law, as Pruitt is finding out in our courts. That hasn't stopped him from trying to gut those protections, and this is more than reason enough to fire him.
The way Pruitt conducts himself in office, though, warrants termination on ethical grounds. On Monday evidence emerged that Pruitt can't be taken at his word, when two EPA staffers told The Atlantic of an email showing that Pruitt personally authorized a $56,765 raise for a favored aide after the White House rejected the increase as inappropriate. Pruitt last week blamed the incident on "my staff,” …
… EPA deputy chief of staff Kevin Chmielewski was placed on leave without pay for pushing back on Pruitt's requests for spending on things like a $100,000-a-month fee to share a private jet or $70,000 for office furniture, …
… For Pruitt, destroying the integrity of the EPA has been job one since day one.
Pruitt came to office with zero credibility as an environmental advocate. Indeed, he built a career taking the EPA to court in an effort to hobble the agency on behalf of oil, gas, and coal companies. Now he's an embarrassment―if not to Trump, then to the entire country. …
April 10, 2018, Dan Turner’s opinion at Fox News
Lost amid all the 'noise' over Scott Pruitt is the very real damage Obama's EPA did to rural communities

“Pruitt and Trump issued an executive order doing away with the Obama-era Waters Of The United States (WOTUS) that sought to impose new regulations on every miniscule body of water in this country.  And Pruitt encouraged Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, an accord which the UN itself admitted last year was largely symbolic, but whose damage to American businesses would have been real.”
{CC: Not that our rural areas need clean water or that small streams are the life blood for our rivers.  Or?   This is typical of their total oblivion to this biosphere we depend on for our survival and that these people treat with utter contempt - because all they know is maximizing profits and maximizing personal power for its own sake.
Rejecting Paris Agreement underscores their complete disconnect from our planet’s geophysical realities.  Willful Ignorance in its full glory.  Climate science is real and the fundamental are damned well settled!}
These towns survived bubbles and housing crashes because the majority had steady, good paying jobs in coal mines or oil fields.
{CC: A romper room narrative of why coal jobs are dying.}
The ideologues of the previous EPA believed they were punishing “the fat cats” as Obama liked to call rich people who didn’t vote for him, or “millionaires and billionaires” in Bernie Sanders lexicon, or “big oil” according to the eco-left.
{CC: Of course Turner must finish with the obligatory emotional dog whistles, all intend on misdirecting attention away from the very real issue, that is recognizing the physical situation we have created for ourselves and that will continue adversely impacting people’s lives, our economy and our planet’s ability to sustain our greed-blinded human species.}
April 9, 2018, Robin Bravender and Niina Heikkinen, E&E News reporters
Pruitt's holding on. But he's tarnished
Do Pruitt's supporters care?
Still, the hubbub could hurt Pruitt in some important ways, including staffing his agency. The nominee for EPA's deputy administrator, Andrew Wheeler, was slated to see a vote in the Senate this month, but that's almost certain to be complicated by the recent drama. Even if Wheeler clears the vote, the process will almost certainly give Pruitt's critics in the Senate a forum for griping about the EPA boss.
Some think the uproar has damaged Pruitt's chances of being promoted by Trump or running for a national political office. He's rumored to want to be attorney general, governor of Oklahoma, a senator or even president. …
… Ebell suggested the scrutiny could even help Pruitt.
"When people are hounded by their political opponents, the people that are the most enthusiastic supporters of that candidate or person often find their enthusiasm intensified by the attacks of the other side," Ebell said.
"I expect it will dissipate, and he will be in good shape to run for whatever office he wants to run for.”
April 6, 2018, By Howell Raines | NBC News
Scott Pruitt's EPA deregulation is destroying a conservative environmental legacy led by Richard Nixon
Trump’s appointees at the EPA and the Interior Department seem to be engaged in an effort to restore American industry’s right to pollute.
Scott Pruitt, the embattled director of the Environmental Protection Agency, is at war with what he calls the “regulatory state,” but to aging Republican environmentalists, Pruitt is a “disgrace” who wants to unravel President Richard Nixon’s proudest domestic achievement. …
William Ruckelshaus, appointed the EPA’s founding director when Nixon created the agency by executive order in 1972, started the outcry with an op-ed piece condemning Pruitt in the Washington Post in November 2017. …
But with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and his alliance with the anti-regulation Sagebrush Rebellion movement in the Mountain West, the GOP veered away from Nixon’s idea that “the time has come for man to make his peace with nature.” Reagan’s appointment of Sagebrush ideologue James Watt as Interior Secretary in 1981 set the pattern favored by Trump of putting foxes in charge of the henhouse. …
… But Pruitt does seem to share with Nixon a certain arrogance about the perks of office and a taste for tough political talk. In that regard, he may meet a fate that Nixon aide John Ehrlichman once wished on a political enemy: “to twist slowly, slowly in the wind.”
April 5, 2018, By Felice Stadler | Environmental Defense Fund
Pruitt has made environmental injustice the norm at EPA: 5 shocking examples
As Scott Pruitt’s ethical woes mount, we must not lose sight of the profound damage he has done to environmental safeguards in just one year – and how disproportionally that affects people in our country.
Pruitt’s legacy will mean growing threats for people of color and low-income Americans who tend to live closer to sources of toxic pollution than the rest of our population, directly affecting the health of millions of families and children nationwide.
This at a time when his own U.S. Environmental Protection Agency researchers continue to report that vulnerable Americans bear the brunt of pollution. …
He’s undermined plans to cut smog, climate pollution …
He tried to eliminate EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice …
He wants to weaken protections against toxic coal waste …
He’s targeting safeguards against toxic air pollution …
He sought massive cuts to lead risk program …
Two decades of environmental justice work – erased? …
The EPA chief’s slash-and-burn ethos can set back more than 25 years of work to address the link between race, poverty and pollution – advanced through executive orders, dedicated funding, expert advisory committees and grass roots movements.
So now, more than ever before, we must remain vigilant in the courts to fight these rollbacks. We must share our personal stories of the public health and environmental harm Pruitt’s actions are inflicting.
And we must remind Congress at every turn that they have the authority and obligation to stand up for healthy families and safe communities. Remaining silent cannot be an option; the stakes are too high. 
April 5, 2018, By Heather Smith | Sierra Club
Even Fox News Is Fed Up With EPA Chief Scott Pruitt
Yesterday, EPA chief Scott Pruitt made an appearance on Fox News to do some damage control over an exposé in the Atlantic that revealed Pruitt had used an obscure provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act to give pay raises to two aides. The aides, Sarah Greenwalt and Millan Hupp, were part of the small group of staffers known as Pruitt’s “Oklahoma posse”—they traveled with Pruitt to Washington, D.C., from Oklahoma, where he was the notorious EPA-suing attorney general. …
… The video of Pruitt explaining this happenstance is television news at its finest and will easily be its own song and dance number should anyone ever write “Scott Pruitt: The Musical.”  …
{a series of interview quotes and comparisons, then back to the real world}
… Pruitt may be, as he puts it, a “very important person,” but it’s getting harder and harder for him to reconcile his budget-cutting, saving-America-billions public persona with his apparently unquenchable ardor for spending taxpayer money. Pruitt has made the EPA pay an energy lobbyist $2,460 for a new door after Pruitt’s security detail broke it down (while looking for Pruitt, who was taking a nap); $120,000 for a trip to Italy that included a private tour of the Vatican; $43,000 for a soundproof "privacy booth" inside his office to prevent eavesdropping on his phone calls; $5,656.75 to have locks installed that can read fingerprints; $3,000 to have his office swept for hidden listening devices; over $168,000 on air travel in just his first year in office; and at least $2 million a year on a 24-hour private security detail that accompanies him even when he goes on vacation to Disneyland (that’s just for salaries—not the ancillary costs of Pruitt bringing them everywhere).
April 5, 2018, Michael Bastasch, Boston Caller
Media Reports Suggest These Trump Officials Are Leaking Damaging Info On Scott Pruitt
A group of current and former officials in President Donald Trump’s administration could be the sources of leaks regarding Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, news reports suggest.
Pruitt came under fire, more recently, for stories leaked to reporters about the administrator renting a room from a D.C. lobbyist’s wife, circumventing the White House to get close aides pay raises and, most recently, sidelining staffers who challenged him on running the agency. Multiple media reports suggest the leaks are coming from current and former Trump administration officials.
Former White House official Rob Porter is reportedly one of the leakers, sources told Inside EPA. The leaks were a “tit for tat” for EPA senior counsel Samantha Dravis telling White House counsel Don McGahn Porter assaulted his two ex-wives, one source said. …
… Specifically, Chmielewski challenged Pruitt aides on a “$100,000-a-month charter aircraft membership” and “$70,000 to replace two desks in Mr. Pruitt’s office suite, including his personal desk and one at a security station outside his office,” NYT reported.
Security official Eric Weese “questioned Mr. Pruitt’s desire to use flashing lights and sirens in his motorcade” and was “reluctant” to sign-off on approvals for Pruitt to fly first class, three people, who worked “with or for” EPA, also told NYT.
CBS News first reported the siren incident on Thursday, …
Margaret Talbot, April 2, 2018,  The New Yorker
How the Environmental Protection Agency became the fossil-fuel industry’s best friend.
One afternoon last April, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, travelled to (Consol Energy’s) Harvey Mine, in Sycamore, Pennsylvania, to declare that the agency had a new direction, which he called “Back to Basics.” …

(Consol Energy) has been fined repeatedly by the E.P.A. for violations; in 2016, …  As the speech that Pruitt gave at the mine demonstrated, he seems to have these priorities reversed …

Pruitt and his admirers call this approach “E.P.A. originalism” …

Under Pruitt, even the dirtiest forms of pollution are getting a reprieve. …

Although Pruitt argues that the E.P.A. has become too hasty and radical in its responses, it agonized over the coal-ash problem for years, to the point that environmental groups sued it for inaction. …

Pruitt was not an early enthusiast for Trump. …, and in a February, 2016, radio interview—recently discovered by a watchdog group called Documented—he said of Trump, “He has tendencies that we see in emerging countries around the world, where he goes to the disaffected, those individuals, and says, ‘Look, you give me power and I will give voice to your concerns.’ And that’s a dangerous place to be.” Trump, he added, would be “more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama.”

(as Oklahoma State’s Attorney General) He created a new “federalism unit” in the attorney general’s office, intended to combat “systemic overreach” by the federal government. As attorney general, he was notably litigious, but in his most high-profile lawsuits he did not often prevail. …

In general, though, Pruitt’s track record in suing the E.P.A., which he did fourteen times, was spotty.  …

When Pruitt came to the E.P.A., he broke with agency practice by refusing to release his schedule in advance or his calendar of meetings after the fact …

… Pruitt rollbacks don’t seem to fit into any broader conservative agenda: they don’t grant significantly more discretion to the states, or seem likely to create many jobs. They seem like favors to specific industries or companies.

… (Pruitt) generally doesn’t give “credible reasons why changes are necessary.” …

As administrator, Pruitt has become adept at presenting his views with bland jargon. …

… It later emerged that Cox was one of dozens of E.P.A. employees being monitored by Allan Blutstein, a lawyer for Definers Public Affairs, an opposition-research firm with conservative clients. … (Mother Jones reported that the E.P.A. had also contracted with Definers to perform “media monitoring” services. …) …

(Pruitt’s Superfund) The report barely mentions public health, instead stressing the “redevelopment” of sites. Although redevelopment has always been seen as an ancillary benefit of remediating toxic-waste sites, human health and environmental protection were the original priorities. …

Doublespeak. …
…silver-and-gold mine in Nevada, …
… Ann Arbor, Michigan, there is an E.P.A. …
… John German told me that the E.P.A. …
… cut by thirty-one per cent. …
… clean-car standards … McCarthy … “literally nothing hasty” …
… Jim McCargar had come to the E.P.A. in 1983, …
… Jane Armstrong, who had been the lab’s director of compliance…
… Ann Gorsuch had cut enforcement, accommodated polluters, and antagonized career staff. …
April 2, 2018 | By Marianne Lavelle and John Cushman |
Why Weakening Fuel Efficiency Standards Could Be Trump's Most Climate-Damaging Move Yet
By hitting the brakes on the decades-long drive to reduce automotive carbon emissions, President Donald Trump's administration has taken its most consequential step yet toward undoing his predecessor's legacy on climate change.
Scott Pruitt, the embattled chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced the reversal on Monday in a "final determination" that President Obama's plan for the 2022-2025 model years went too far and would be revised. …
… If Pruitt prevails on auto standards, it would be at least as significant as the other main rollback of climate rules set in motion by the Trump administration—the attempt to dismantle of the Clean Power Plan limits on emissions from power plants. …
One Giant Step
When Obama first set the standards, the EPA calculated that they would prevent more than 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases—more than one year's worth of total U.S. carbon emissions—over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in model years 2012 through  2025.
The standards as finalized required automakers to double the average fuel economy of passenger vehicles to the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. …
Original CAFE Deal Was Unprecedented
The history of the fuel economy and emissions standards is a lesson in compromise, not confrontation. …
California's Special Influence Over Automakers
In the wake of Pruitt's determination that the Obama standards were too stringent, the most important question is what will happen to California's standards. …
Weak Targets Now, Higher Costs in the Future
But if regulators today set targets that are not aggressive enough, the risks and increased costs will be passed to future generations. …
March 30, 2018, Justin Worland, Time
Scientists Worry Scott Pruitt's New EPA Change Will Harm Life-Saving Research
… in an interview with the conservative outlet The Daily Caller last week, says that data used in research that informs EPA policy should be available for the public to review.
But a study’s like Bell’s could soon disappear from the toolbox of policymakers at the Environmental Protection Agency if Scott Pruitt, the agency’s top official, follows through on a plan to require more public disclosure of data used for research. …
… “We need to make sure their data and methodology are published as part of the record,” Pruitt told The Daily Caller. “Otherwise, it’s not transparent. It’s not objectively measured, and that’s important.”
But scientists say that policy would actually end up stymying essential research. Environmental and public health researchers rely on health and medical data from subjects who were promised privacy in exchange for details about their health histories. Those large data sets are often kept confidential and can be viewed only by a select set of researchers on a given project.
“My research deals with real world populations, it’s not looking at data in a lab or looking at cell culture,” says Bell.  …
{What the article leaves out is the history of Pruitt and his boosters deliberately and maliciously misrepresenting the facts they are presented with! }
March 30, 2018, By Alex Guillén and Nancy Cook, Politico
Pruitt holding on, so far
Despite his ethical troubles over travel, spending and a Capitol Hill lease, the EPA chief is championing Trump’s agenda.
One senior administration official told POLITICO on Friday that the White House still stands behind the Environmental Protection Agency leader despite news reports that he spent months renting a room …  Pruitt’s first-class travel, security costs and political ambitions that are one of Washington’s worst-kept open secrets. …
“I confess the optics aren’t ideal, and it probably does not show the best judgment,” the senior administration official said of Pruitt’s former living arrangement. …
“What Pruitt has going for him that Shulkin and a couple of the others did not is he is at one of the key positions for achieving Trump’s agenda, and so far he’s doing a great job,” said Myron Ebell, the energy director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the head of Trump’s EPA transition team. …
… Public Citizen on Thursday night formally asked EPA’s inspector general to review the matter. …
… Such left-wing attacks are only strengthening Pruitt’s credibility among the most important voters in Oklahoma, said Oklahoma GOP political strategist Pat McFerron.
“Every time he’s attacked by the Washington Post or The New York Times, that helps him in a Republican primary in Oklahoma,” he said. …
… Pruitt met with executives from an Israeli company at the request of Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. EPA subsequently entered into a research partnership with the company over its water generation technology.
Pruitt also sat down last year with Steven Chancellor, a coal executive who is also a well-connected Indiana Republican and powerhouse GOP fundraiser.
March 29, 2018, By Alex Formuzis and Sonya Lunder | Environmental Working Group’
Thanks to Scott Pruitt, 30 Million Pounds of Brain-Damaging Pesticide Will Be Sprayed on Crops in Next 5 Years
One year ago today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt sided with the pesticide lobby over EPA scientists in an eleventh-hour decision to abort the agency's proposal to ban chlorpyrifos from use on food crops. Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide that can harm children's brains and nervous systems at small doses.
If Pruitt had stood by his own scientists, the chlorpyrifos ban could have taken practical effect next year, but now the EPA won’t reevaluate its safety until 2022. Based on data from the U.S. Geological Survey, the delay means roughly 30 million pounds of the weed-killer will be sprayed on cropland throughout the country in the next five years. …
… But Pruitt ignored all that. Here’s a timeline of events in the first months of 2017:
  • Jan. 17: Dow Chemical, which manufactures chlorpyrifos, files a petition with the EPA, calling on the agency to reject the ban on the pesticide. 
  • Jan. 20: President Trump takes office, celebrating with inaugural balls for which Dow contributed $1 million.
  • Feb. 17: Pruitt is confirmed by the Senate as EPA administrator, despite evidence of his ties to the industries he will regulate.
  • March 1: According to documents obtained by The New York Times, the Washington State Farm Bureau meets with the EPA, pressing for cancellation of the proposed ban, on which the agency was supposed to decide by March 31. Pruitt tells the group it’s “a new day, a new future” for the relationship between chemical agriculture and the EPA.
  • March 9: Pruitt meets privately with Dow’s CEO at a Houston hotel.  
  • March 29: Pruitt signs an order cancelling the proposed ban.
The EPA’s own calculations suggest that babies, children and pregnant women all eat much more chlorpyrifos than is safe. …
The American Academy of Pediatrics urged Pruitt to reconsider his action and proceed with the ban. But Pruitt didn’t take the advice of 60,000 doctors serving babies and children. …
… Dow Chemical and agribusiness may celebrate Pruitt’s decision today. But all Americans who want to eat food free of a chemical that can permanently harm children’s brains should be outraged by this anniversary.
March 28, 2018, By John Podesta, Washington Post Op-Ed
Enough is enough. Scott Pruitt needs to go.
The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency has always been to protect human health and the environment. But since taking the helm just over a year ago, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has made no secret that his personal mission is to do the opposite.
Time after time, Pruitt has ignored his agency’s own data, analysis and recommendations in order to protect corporate polluters. He has given new meaning to the lobbyist revolving door, hiring people who have close connections to the industries that the EPA is supposed to regulate. And he wasted taxpayer money for his own personal comfort. …
… Take, first, the “brief” meeting between Pruitt and a top Dow Chemical executive last March. Less than a month later, Pruitt announced he would refuse to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, produced by Dow, from being sprayed on food, despite a review from EPA scientists that found even trace amounts of chlorpyrifos can interfere with children’s brain development. In refusing to go along with EPA experts’ advice to ban chlorpyrifos, Pruitt rejected science, endangered children’s health and benefited his industry friends all at once. …
… But help for Syngenta was on the way when Pruitt became administrator. In October 2017, Pruitt hired Jeff Sands, a former Syngenta lobbyist, as his senior adviser for agriculture issues. In December, the White House counsel granted Sands an ethics waiver to ensure that he could continue to work on issues related to his former employer — including the issues that he had lobbied previously, such as the EPA’s regulation of pesticides.
Then in February, the EPA reduced Syngenta’s fine for violating pesticide regulations to $150,000 without explanation, requiring the company to spend an additional $400,000 on worker training. In all, the company saved about $4.4 million. …
… Enough is enough. Pruitt has failed to demonstrate that he can lead the EPA without putting American lives at risk or wantonly wasting taxpayer money. It’s time to give him the boot.
Read more on this topic:
March 23, 2018, By Charles P. Pierce | Esquire
Scott Pruitt's EPA Has Managed to Make George W. Bush's Katrina Response Look Admirable
As they worked, the members of the fire departments, the rescue workers, and the civilian volunteers all expressed concern about what they might be breathing and what they might be wading through as they went about their business. Turns out they were right to be worried. Turns out it was worse than they thought it was. From Time:
More than a half-year after floodwaters swamped America’s fourth-largest city, the extent of this environmental assault is beginning to surface, while questions about the long-term consequences for human health remain unanswered. County, state and federal records pieced together by The Associated Press and The Houston Chronicle reveal a far more widespread toxic impact than authorities publicly reported after the storm slammed into the Texas coast in late August and then stalled over the Houston area.  
{It continues, more revealing quotes and an overwhelmed writer.}
… You’d think that, if he were going to spend $68,000 on travel expenses from last August to this past September, Pruitt might have been able to find a discount flight to Houston. This EPA’s response to Harvey has been worse than the Bush EPA’s response to Katrina was. Roll that around in the ol’ cabeza for a while.
March 8, 2018, By Umair Irfan | Vox
Scott Pruitt is slowly strangling the EPA
The unprecedented regulatory slowdown and rollbacks at the Environmental Protection Agency. 
The mandate of the head of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and enforce environmental regulations.
Yet when he reflected on his first year in office in a recent report, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt celebrated the rollback of 22 regulations under his watch, and cheered President Donald Trump’s rejection of climate science and policy. …
… But some of the biggest, and most overlooked, …
There’s a massive, unprecedented slowdown going on across the EPA
Pruitt can’t simply repeal all the rules he doesn’t like, so he’s had to embrace a different strategy: stall.
Much of EPA’s work is governed by statute, so dismantling most environmental regulations requires an arduous rule-making process 
Here are some of the environmental rules, actions, and proposals that have become mired in the morass:
  • The EPA announced it was seeking a two-year delay in implementing the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which defines the waterways that are regulated by the agency under the Clean Water Act.
  • In May, the EPA dialed backtracking the health impacts of more than a dozen hazardous chemicals at the behest of a Trump appointee at the agency, Nancy Beck.
  • The agency has said nothing about counties that failed to meet new ozone standards by an October 2017 deadline and now face fines.
  • Environmental law enforcement has declined. By September, the Trump administration launched 30 percent fewer cases and collected about 60 percent fewer fines than in the same period under President Obama.
  • The EPA punted on regulations on dangerous solvents like methylene chloride, a paint stripper, that were already on track to be banned, instead moving the process to “long term action.”
  • The EPA asked for a six-year schedule to review 17-year-old regulations on lead paint.
  • The implementation date of new safety procedures at chemical plants to prevent explosions and spills was pushed back to 2019.
  • Pruitt issued a directive to end “Sue & Settle,” a legal strategy that fast-tracks settlements for litigation filed against the EPA to force the agency to do its job. The agency will spend more time in courts fighting cases that it’s likely to lose.
  • The agency’s enforcement division now has to get approval from headquarters before investigating potential violations of environmental regulations, slowing down efforts to catch violators of laws like the Clean Water Act.
“The problem at EPA right now is there is a chilling effect on enforcement,” Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, told E&E News.
Losing the environmental protections established by the EPA could harm millions of Americans …
Staff cuts and unfilled positions may be part of Pruitt’s strategy …
Even Pruitt’s allies are perturbed by the EPA’s slow walking …
The courts are losing their patience with the agency and are now forcing Pruitt’s hand …
February 27, 2018, Kevin Drum | Mother Jones
Scott Pruitt Kills Agency That Studies Chemicals Harmful to Children
Those of us of a certain age will remember the dynamic duo of James Watt and Anne Gorsuch during the Reagan years. As Secretary of the Interior and administrator of the EPA, respectively, they did everything they could to make America friendly to polluters in particular and corporate interests in general. In the end, Watt resigned after mocking a coal-leasing panel (“I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent.”). Gorsuch resigned after being held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over Superfund records.
Today we have Ryan Zinke and Scott Pruitt. Zinke has already slashed the size of two beautiful national monuments and gotten in trouble over his travel habits. Scott Pruitt, meanwhile, has been busy rescinding the Clean Power Plan and getting in trouble over his travel habits—and much more. In fact, Pruitt is so bad that Rebecca Leber’s profile of him, “Making America Toxic Again,” is on the cover of our current issue. Here’s a bit of it: …
Scott Pruitt’s job is to protect the environment. Unfortunately, God has other plans for him.
… Like Trump, Pruitt has engaged in a continuous battle against the press. Within weeks of his arrival, the EPA’s public affairs office stopped responding to many reporters’ questions and sharing his complete schedule. Instead, the agency has mostly focused on spreading its message through the right-wing media, talking frequently to Fox News and conservative radio hosts while dismissing less favorable coverage as fake. The EPA’s social-media accounts spent the first months of Pruitt’s tenure blasting out photos of him fist-bumping EPA staffers and meeting with politicians. In the Obama years, the EPA tweeted about the agency’s programs and environmental issues. During Pruitt’s first three weeks in office, 90 percent of the agency’s tweets were about him.
For those of us who cover the EPA, Pruitt’s profound impact on policy has been hard to miss. What’s tougher to see, behind the secrecy and paranoia, is how his new job has advanced his own future plans.  …
February 8, 2018, Opinion by Alexander Nazaryan | Newsweek
For someone whose entire political career has been built on an animosity to Washington, D.C., Scott Pruitt certainly appears to have enjoyed the past 12 months of federal employ. He has been to Morocco, where he shilled American natural gas. There was also a trip to a golf resort in Naples, Florida, for a meeting of the National Mining Association. And to lovely Kiawah Island, off the South Carolina coast, to join a retreat of the American Chemistry Council. … When executives from a coal company were in town, they took Pruitt to BLT Prime, the restaurant at the Trump International Hotel …
…Never has the EPA been in custody of a chief who so unabashedly wants to enervate the agency while serving transparent political goals. And, it should be added, the goal of the president who appointed him. Donald Trump promised, during the campaign, to abolish the EPA. That may have been bluster, but Pruitt will get him close. …
… Even Pruitt’s most vociferous critics are awed by his regulatory rollback,  “the scope and the magnitude of [which] is really unprecedented,” says Thomas Cmar, a lawyer for the environmental organization Earthjustice. Pruitt, Cmar notes, “has no hesitation about acting quickly and acting on his own.”
In early January, the agency published a list of 67 environmental safeguards Pruitt has either fully rolled back or is in the process of undoing. …
… It’s hard to think of another instance in American public life in which the economic interests of corporations were placed so far above the health interests of individuals. …
An investigation by Rachel Leven of the Center for Public Integrity published last fall found that the vast majority of Pruitt’s 46 political appointees at the EPA “previously worked for climate change doubters or industry,” including with the powerful lobbying group the American Chemistry Council, as well as energy companies Hess and ExxonMobil. Leven also noted that a dozen undersecretary positions that would need Senate confirmation remain empty. …
{There’s much more}
Dogmatic Originalism… (2000 words)
‘Modern Air Is a Little Too Clean’… (1000 words)
Back When Republicans Protected the Environment… (600 words)
Superfund Me… (400 words)
… Pruitt has vowed to speed clean-up of the Superfund sites, leading his critics to wonder what, exactly, he has in mind. The man he has hired to head the program is Oklahoma banker Albert Kelly, whom the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has banned from the banking industry for life for making improper loans. Kelly is friend and political contributor to Pruitt, as well as a three-time mortgage lender.
In the United States envisioned by Pruitt and his funders, personal liberty is everywhere. So is trichloroethylene.
“With Scott Pruitt at the helm at the EPA,” says former EPA official Enck, “there will be more Love Canals.”
January 20, 2018, By Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post
Scott Pruitt’s First Year Set The EPA Back Anywhere From A Few Years To 3 Decades
Former EPA chiefs reflect on policy changes, budget cuts and staffing issues under Pruitt.
Shortly after taking office, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt set out to permanently limit the agency’s regulatory power in what he billed as a “Back to Basics” agenda focusing on cleaning up toxic waste and providing safe drinking water ― but not curbing new industrial pollution. 
Former administrators warn that it could take anywhere from a few years to three decades for future administrations to restore the EPA to where it was a year ago, before the regulatory rollbacks, mass attrition and budget cuts. 
“If [former President Barack] Obama’s name is near it ― irrespective of whether it’s good, bad or indifferent ― they’re undoing it,” Christine Todd Whitman, who served as administrator under former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, told HuffPost. “To just mindlessly do it is… mindless. There’s no other word for it.” 
The lasting damage is already significant, and seems likely to get worse. Despite rumors that Pruitt may leave his post early to run for Senate or governor in Oklahoma, his home state, or take over as attorney general if Jeff Sessions steps down, the administrator has plans to ramp up his efforts in 2018. He told The Wall Street Journal this week that his second year would focus on accelerating efforts to remake the agency and speeding up the permitting process.
“There’s tremendous opportunity to show really significant results to the American people in a really short time frame,” Pruitt said. …

In a stinging 2016 radio interview, Scott Pruitt lambasted then candidate Donald Trump, warning of the danger to the constitution should he become president.

“If Donald Trump is the nominee and eventually the president, he would take i think, unapologetic steps to use executive power to confront Congress in a way that is truly unconstitutional”, said Pruitt.

The interview was recorded on February 4, 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the Pat Campbell radio show, and uncovered by Documented.

“I believe that Donald Trump in the White House will be more abusive to the constitution than Barack Obama and that’s saying a lot,” said Pruitt.  Link to the transcript.

November 19, 2017 | By Alex Guillén and Emily Holden, Politico
What EPA chief Scott Pruitt promised — and what he’s done
… Pruitt is the most unorthodox EPA administrator in decades, an avowed critic of the agency who has alienated much of his career staff. He’s spent heavily on travel to meet with business executives and GOP leaders, who want to see a much weaker EPA and could back Pruitt in a future political campaign. He has declined to disclose his daily schedule, employs a large entourage of bodyguards and built a “privacy booth” for communications in his office. He has questioned manmade climate change and kicked respected scientists off his advisory boards, replacing them with representatives from the businesses and the states he regulates. …
… Still, Pruitt, who regularly references his Christian faith, says God wants people to be stewards of the earth. …
… “The top 10 list, which he claimed would accelerate cleanups, actually entails taking money from some cleanups and putting it in other cleanups,” said Elgie Holstein, senior director for strategic planning at the Environmental Defense Fund. …
Obama and Trump's EPAs compared …
Enforcing years-old air pollution standards …
Supercharging Superfund? …
Cleaning up drinking water — but where’s the money? …
Undoing Obama’s climate agenda …
Pledging more ‘respect’ for states and businesses …
November 1, 2017, William D. Ruckelshaus (Administrator of the EPA from 1970-1973 and 1983-1985)
Pruitt is turning his back on transparency at the EPA
In May 1983, President Ronald Reagan asked me to lead the Environmental Protection Agency for a second time. The first time was when the EPA began. Reagan’s first appointed administrator, Anne Burford, had lost the trust of the public and the confidence of Congress. There were serious questions about the management of the EPA’s Superfund program and a too-cozy relationship with corporate executives and lobbyists.
On my first day back, I issued what is now called the “fishbowl memo,” which laid out my commitment to openness at the agency. We started to release my full schedule and the publication of written communications on a daily basis. We held regular, brown-bag lunches with the reporters who covered the agency, and every reporter knew he or she could attend. Every other Wednesday, I would spend 90 minutes meeting with those reporters, answering questions. Nothing was off-limits. Everything was on the record.
Why was this so important?
Because the EPA is a public-health agency that is just as important to people’s well-being as the Food and Drug Administration or the National Institutes of Health. The statutes the EPA administers are explicit and unmistakable: Set a safe level of exposure to (name your chemical or pollutant or pesticide) with an adequate margin of safety. …
… To Pruitt and President Trump, I suggest remembering Anne Burford’s experience at the EPA. Remember that a loss of public trust can come back to haunt your administration.
July 27, 2017, By Jeff Goodell | Rollingstone
Scott Pruitt's Crimes Against Nature
Trump's EPA chief is gutting the agency, defunding science and serving the fossil-fuel industry
Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, wants you to know that he was responsible for persuading President Trump to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. … Pruitt, aligned with White House chief strategist and populist provocateur Steve Bannon, won the fight. …, Pruitt was the only Cabinet official who spoke at the ceremony. "We owe no apologies to other nations for our environmental stewardship," Pruitt said in a strikingly defiant tone: …
… He argued that the agreement would slow the U.S. economy by hindering America's God-given right to mine, export and burn fossil fuels, even suggesting the agreement was part of a plot by European leaders to weaken America. …
… To help with his cause, Pruitt brought in a team of experienced EPA-bashers and climate-change obstructionists, many of whom have worked for Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the most notorious and flamboyant climate denier in Congress. Pruitt's favored pick for deputy administrator, Andrew Wheeler, worked for Inhofe early in his career, then became a lobbyist for coal magnate Bob Murray, among others. Ryan Jackson, Pruitt's chief of staff, was formerly Inhofe's chief of staff. …
… In 2010, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision allowed virtually unlimited giving from corporations to political action committees. …
… Pruitt amassed a $950,000 war chest, almost twice as much as his Democratic opponent, who, among other things, … Pruitt took $62,000 from people connected (with Oklahoma’s powerful chicken industry), and shortly after he was elected he dropped a lawsuit against several major chicken producers …
… As attorney general, Pruitt spent most of his time suing the federal government. In the 14 lawsuits he filed against the EPA, … Most of these lawsuits were tossed out, …
… For Pruitt, bashing the Feds turned out to be good business. His staff expanded, the budget grew and he moved into swankier office space. … During Pruitt's watch, enforcement of environmental laws in Oklahoma virtually ended. …
Pruitt campaigned aggressively as a pro-life candidate when he was running for office in Oklahoma. "Now he has approved a pesticide that has a clear impact on the development of children's brains," Landrigan says. "That makes him the worst kind of hypocrite.”
So far, Pruitt has ingratiated himself at the White House
… Pruitt should not be underestimated. He may be on the wrong side of science and the wrong side of history, but given the post-factual trajectory of American politics right now, that doesn't mean his future isn't bright. It's the hope for a stable climate and a rapid transition to clean energy that's really in trouble.
February 4, 2017, LA Times Editorial Board
Putting Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA risks irreversible damage to the planet
As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt has spent the last six years suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency over the extent of its authority, particularly its efforts to regulate the oil and gas industry and restrict coal-fired power plants. These industries belch out the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, yet Pruitt has led or been part of 14 lawsuits (most of them in concert with industry) challenging rules that limit them or otherwise protect the nation’s air and water.
It’s hardly news that some public officials are shills or apologists for powerful polluting industries. But to select someone with a record like Pruitt’s to lead the EPA is mind-boggling, offensive and deeply worrisome.
Because the EPA is a public-health agency that is just as important to people’s well-being as the Food and Drug Administration or the National Institutes of Health. The statutes the EPA administers are explicit and unmistakable: Set a safe level of exposure to (name your chemical or pollutant or pesticide) with an adequate margin of safety. …
Pruitt operates in secrecy. By concealing his efforts, even innocent actions create an air of suspicion, making it difficult for a skeptical public to give him the benefit of the doubt.
It’s not that Pruitt is meeting too frequently with executives and lobbyists from the industries he regulates. Every EPA administrator does that and should do that. But there should be a public record about what was discussed at the meetings. Any access to a specific interest should be matched by the same grant to all interests. Most often the public hearing process will satisfy any need for individual meetings.
Becoming an advocate for a specific industry raises serious questions that sow doubt about fairness and objectivity. The EPA should have no natural constituency but the public whose health it is mandated to protect. …
Read more here:
February 8, 2017, James Temple | Technological Review
How Much Damage Could Scott Pruitt Really Do at EPA?
The Senate is expected to confirm Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency as early as this week, placing him in charge of a government body that he sued more than a dozen times and that his new boss, President Donald Trump, pledged to scrap. …
… During Senate committee confirmation hearings, Pruitt also said he would review a recent decision by the Obama administration to lock in fuel economy standards that tick up another 10 miles per gallon by model year 2025. In addition, Pruitt said he wouldn’t commit to allowing California to continue its own vehicle emissions rules, …
… There are also more aggressive options that could restrict the broader authority of the EPA, through revised findings at the agency or a congressional amendment to the Clean Air Act, Wara says. The “nuclear option” would be to reopen the EPA’s earlier determination that greenhouse-gas emissions are a pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.
“Doing that would be incredibly tough,” Wara says. “They would have to overcome mountains of evidence that greenhouse-gas emissions do in fact cause harm. And in the world of rule-making, facts do matter.”
December 12, 2016, Christine Todd Whitman, EPA administrator from 2001 to 2003
I was EPA administrator. Advice for the next one: Don’t walk back environmental progress.
… As a former EPA administrator under a Republican president, I recognize that it is easy to hate regulations in general. After all, regulatory action causes people to spend money or change behavior, often to solve problems they do not believe exist. Regulations have certainly gone too far in a number of areas, but it’s important to remember that regulations are meant to be protective, and when it comes to the EPA, that means protecting human health and our world. Pruitt would be wise not to try to walk back the real progress that has been made.
Let’s not forget the atmosphere in which the EPA was created. The nation was experiencing great turmoil in 1969 and 1970, with riots on college campuses and in many cities. The Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire, and our air and water sources were being polluted by actors not required by any governing body to protect our citizens. People demanded that Washington protect them, and they got a Republican president to work with a Democratic Congress to establish the EPA and enact the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. To forget that the EPA was borne out of public demand is to invite a real backlash. …
So I hope that Pruitt will take time to rethink some of his criticisms of the agency and also recognize the role of science in a regulatory agency such as the EPA. Pruitt has questioned “the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.” …
The New York-based Regional Plan Association reported last week that by 2050 the sea level along the Atlantic Coast could rise by an entire foot. …
Between 1990 and 2012, the population grew by 38 percent, and electricity demand increased by 27 percent, but we more than doubled our gross domestic product in real numbers while at the same time reducing pollutants by 67 percent. This is not a zero-sum game. President-elect Trump and EPA Administrator-designate Pruitt should recognize that it is a fallacy to believe we cannot have a healthy, thriving economy and a clean and green environment. The new administration can vigorously pursue its economic goals while allowing the EPA to do what it was created to do: protect the health of the American people and our land.
Read more here:


Strangling the EPA's Budget
President Trump and Scott Pruitt have proposed slashing the EPA’s budget by 23 percent. Gouging $1.9 billion out of the EPA would cut spending to the bone and force thousands of layoffs.
  • The budget cuts would cripple programs that protect us from dangerous air pollution, drinking water contamination, lead poisoning, oil spills, toxic pesticides, hazardous waste sites, cancer-causing radiation, and global warming pollution.
  • Funding for the restoration of the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay would be virtually eliminated. Funding would be zeroed out entirely for the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Champlain, Long Island Sound, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, and South Florida, including the Everglades and Florida Keys.
  • More than a dozen programs that combat climate change would be abolished.
  • Other programs facing elimination include Beaches Protection, Pollution Prevention, Environmental Education, Coastal Waterways, Lead Risk Reduction, and many more.
  • Spending on enforcement of environmental laws would be slashed, making it easier for companies to pollute with impunity, even criminally.
  • Environmental justice programs would be gutted, leaving the most vulnerable, low-income neighborhoods at the mercy of hazardous dumping, incinerators, and oil terminals.
Shredding Environmental Protections
At the behest of industrial polluters, Pruitt is rolling back the life-saving protections at the heart of the EPA’s mission, with potentially devastating consequences for American families. During his first months in office, Pruitt frequently met with industry executives and lobbyists, and key EPA decisions during that period advanced their special interests. A recent analysis by Reuters revealed that Pruitt held 25 times more meetings with industry representatives than with environmental advocates during his first seven months in office.
Putting Polluters in Charge of the EPA
As attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt marched to court arm in arm with fossil fuel companies and other polluters to stop the EPA from protecting our clean air, clean water, and climate. Now, at the helm of the EPA, Pruitt is engineering a polluter takeover of the agency. He has recruited one industry insider after another to oversee the very polluting industries they came from.
  • Bill Wehrum, who heads up the clean air office, was an attorney representing oil, gas, coal, and chemical companies. On their behalf, he sued the EPA more than 30 times in the past decade to tear down clean air and climate protections.
  • Nancy Beck, who is shaping policy on hazardous chemicals, came to the EPA straight from the American Chemistry Council, whose members include Dow, Monsanto, and ExxonMobil, and had long advocated for weaker EPA toxics rules.
  • Andrew Wheeler, a climate-denying coal lobbyist, has been confirmed by the Senate—Pruitt’s second-in-command.
  • Susan Bodine, who leads the office that enforces cleanup rules, spent part of her career defending companies affected by those cleanup rules.
  • Erik Baptist, the agency’s senior deputy counsel, was a top lawyer at the American Petroleum Institute.
  • Peter C. Wright, nominated to oversee the EPA’s Superfund hazardous waste cleanup program, has worked at Dow Chemical since 1999.
Stamping Out Science
In his crusade to advance the agenda of polluting industries, Pruitt is gagging scientists and suppressing scientific evidence that buttresses the case for protecting our health and environment. With science swept under the rug, Pruitt can more easily tear down the safeguards that protect us from smog, drinking water contamination, chemical plant disasters, oil spills, bee-killing pesticides, and climate-wrecking power plant pollution.
  • Pruitt is purging the EPA’s scientific advisory boards and committees of those experts who receive research grants from the agency—primarily independent scientists from universities. He is replacing them with industry insiders and science deniers, further ensuring that EPA decisions will be slanted toward protecting polluters, not the public.
  • Two Pruitt-picked members of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board received oil industry funding for research that casts doubt on the health effects of air pollution. That research has been used in efforts to roll back clean car standards
  • Pruitt has enshrined climate denial in EPA policy, deleting all references to climate change in the EPA’s new, four-year strategic plan. Previously, addressing climate change and air pollution was the agency’s number one priority.
  • Pruitt’s EPA has scrubbed its website of direct links to vital materials that would help local officials prepare for extreme weather and other impacts of climate change.
  • Pruitt’s EPA has stopped some of its own scientists from publicly speaking about the dangers of climate change.
  • EPA staffers have been instructed to downplay the links between human activity and climate change, a position that mirrors Pruitt's own climate denial and flies in the face of international scientific consensus.
  • Pruitt has put a political operative in charge of reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in EPA grants and has instructed grant officers to delete references to climate change in grant solicitations.
  • Pruitt’s EPA is cooking the books on the science and economics of air, water, and climate pollution in order to diminish the benefits of environmental protections like the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule that he is trying to revoke.
  • Pruitt plans to eliminate an EPA program that studies the effects of pollution and chemical exposure on children.
  • Pruitt took the unheard-of step of challenging another agency’s scientists when the National Marine Fisheries Service found that the use of two pesticides—chlorpyrifos and malathion—could endanger the survival of 38 species of salmon and other fish.
  • Pruitt is advancing a deceptive proposal that would drastically restrict the scientific research available for developing new environmental safeguards, making it much harder to issue such protections. Under the proposed policy, researchers would be required to make private personal medical information available to the public in order for the EPA to use that research in its decision-making. Since so many scientific studies rely on private, confidential medical records, as a result, this proposal would drastically limit the peer-reviewed science that regulators can use to craft future EPA rules.
Destroying Public Confidence in the EPA
Pruitt is “ruling” the EPA in a manner more befitting a potentate than a public servant—operating in secrecy, silencing employees, and spending lavishly on himself. While Pruitt calls for draconian cuts in environmental programs, he has been wasting taxpayer dollars in extravagant ways that are now the target of multiple government investigations. His unethical and possibly illegal behavior is crushing the morale of career employees and damaging—perhaps fatally—the public’s faith in the EPA to do its job.
  • A General Accounting Office report found that Pruitt's EPA violated the law when he misused taxpayer dollars to install a new, $25,000 soundproof phone booth in the agency’s headquarters. Total cost for the project now appears to be closer to $43,000.
  • Pruitt is surrounded 24/7 by a security detail of 30 bodyguards—at an annual cost to taxpayers of $2 million.
  • In order to shield his secretive actions from scrutiny, Pruitt has reportedly banned some agency staff from bringing cell phones to meetings with him or from taking notes.
  • Pruitt has systematically shut out the EPA’s staff of scientists and experts from policymaking decisions, launched an intimidation campaign to keep them from going public with their concerns, and ordered the floor to his office locked, accessible to career staff only by escort.
  • Pruitt spent $120,000—via a no-bid contract—to hire a Republican opposition research firm, Definers Public Affairs, to monitor media coverage of the EPA. After it was disclosed that an affiliated company, America Rising, was working to identify, monitor, and dig up dirt on EPA employees who had criticized Pruitt or Trump, the contract was canceled.
  • Pruitt is under investigation by the EPA’s inspector general for lobbying on behalf of the mining industry while employed as a public servant.
  • The EPA’s inspector general is also investigating Pruitt’s trip to Morocco in December, reportedly aimed at promoting exports of natural gas—which is not the EPA administrator's job. The trip was partly arranged by Richard Smotkin, a longtime friend of Pruitt’s and former Comcast lobbyist who since that trip landed a $40,000-a-month contract with the Moroccan government promoting its cultural and economic interests. The Washington Post found that it’s “highly unusual” for trips like these to be organized by outside interests, and the trip cost taxpayers more than $100,000, including $16,217 for Pruitt’s airfare.
  • Following his appearance in a video produced by an industry group that opposes the Clean Water Rule, Pruitt came under investigation by the Government Accountability Office for violations of restrictions on lobbying and propaganda.
  • Pruitt is under investigation by the EPA’s inspector general for taking private and military flights that cost taxpayers more than $58,000.
  • More recently, it emerged that Pruitt billed taxpayers for nearly $200,000 in travel expenses over six months in 2017, including frequent trips home to Oklahoma. Much of that travel was on first-class and business-class flights, including a lavish trip to Italy that included cooking classes and private tours of the Vatican after Pruitt spent only a few hours at a two-day G7 meeting.
  • While in Washington, Pruitt pays just $50-per-night in a Capitol Hill condo owned by the wife of a major fossil fuel industry lobbyist with clients, like Exxon Mobil, with interests before the EPA. This $50 rental rate is an enormous discount from market rental rates in the area.
  • The EPA’s inspector general found that Pruitt’s chief of staff approved large pay raises of two of Pruitt’s top aides—despite the White House’s rejection of the raises—by using an obscure hiring provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act that doesn’t require White House approval. In a Fox News interview in early April, Pruitt denied knowing about the unusual salary increases. However, while appearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on April 26, 2018, Pruitt conceded he did in fact know of these pay raises.
  • According to a New York Times report, at least five high-ranking officials at EPA were reassigned, placed on leave, or dismissed after questioning Pruitt’s spending and management decisions. While appearing before a House subcommittee hearing on April 26, 2018, Pruitt denied allegations that employees were retaliated against for raising questions about spending concerns.
  • Kevin Chmielewsky, Pruitt’s former EPA deputy chief of staff, told congressional investigators that Pruitt routinely directed staffers to book expensive hotels, help him earn frequent flier miles, and schedule meetings to align with his personal travel desires. Mr. Chmielewsky told ABC News that he was “100 percent” forced out after raising these concerns and that Pruitt told a “boldfaced lie” when denying this to Congress.
  • Albert Kelly, whom Pruitt picked to run the EPA's Superfund program, resigned from the agency under scrutiny on May 1, 2018. Mr. Kelly had little or no experience working on Superfund-related issues but was a longtime business associate of Pruitt's from Oklahoma and previously worked in banking before being fined by the FDIC and barred from working in the finance industry.
  • Pruitt’s now chief of staff Ryan Jackson directed EPA staff to consider opening new office space in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Pruitt’s hometown, that would include 24/7 security and a facility for secure communications, raising additional questions about Pruitt’s excessive spending and the outsized amount of time he spends in his home state.
  • Pruitt is now seeking to establish a legal defense fund to help defray the cost of his own legal expenses—because he’s currently the subject of 11 federal investigations.
We do not take lightly our call to fire Scott Pruitt. NRDC has disagreed—frequently and respectfully—with EPA administrators of both parties. But Pruitt’s egregious actions across multiple fronts seem coordinated and designed to ensure that the EPA fails in its mission of protecting our health and environment. For that singular reason, we feel compelled to demand that President Trump take the extraordinary step of firing him.

Let’s not forget what America looked like before we had the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Our rivers caught on fire, our air was full of smog, and it stank (literally).

Today's budget testimony from the EPA Administrator leaves us wondering who exactly is protecting our environment and health.

The incoming head of the EPA believes states should be in charge of their own environmental regulations. Been there, done that, got the oil-soaked T-shirt.

Muzzling scientists, scrubbing websites, attacking journalists: all in a shameful day’s work for our bought-and-paid-for EPA administrator. It’s time to stop him.

Trump likens our “inner cities” to war zones . . . then guts the programs geared to safeguard clean air and water for low-income communities of color.

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