A great thing happened this week for the environment and the living organisms on the planet. Scott Pruitt resigned from the EPA. He had to resign because of corruption and several investigations into misuse of his office and government funds. In my opinion, he should have been fired for not upholding the charge of his agency, which is to actually protect the environment. And in protecting the environment, keep our lives healthier and safer as well. He was the proverbial fox in the hen house and seemed to protect the petrol-chemical industry rather than our natural resources and health.
He advocated for leaving the Paris Agreement and was on the podium when our withdrawal was announced. He held concealed meetings with petrol-chemical industry executives. For example, just before rejecting the chlorpyrifos ban, Pruitt met with the CEO of Dow Chemical, which manufactures the pesticide. In April, 2018, Pruitt issued a new rule that limits what kind of scientific research the agency can rely on in writing environmental regulation. This step was advocated by the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute. He slashed the EPA budget by 31 percent and eliminated over 3,200 of its 15,000 employees. Pruitt replaced many members of EPA’s Science Advisory Board and Board of Scientific Counselors in a move intended to give representatives from industry and state governments more influence. He also established a new policy that prevents EPA-funded scientists from serving on these boards but allows industry-funded scientists to serve (WTF?).
Here are just a few of the Obama era regulations that Pruitt has rolled back:
- Revoked a rule that prevented coal mining companies from dumping debris into local streams. Feb. 16
- Canceled a requirement for reporting methane emissions. March 2
- Rejected a ban on a potentially harmful insecticide. March 29
- Withdrew guidance for federal agencies to include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews. April 5
- Rolled back fuel efficiency standards April 2
Andrew Wheeler, an energy sector lobbyist, will be the new head of the EPA. He is a former staffer of Senator Inhofe, a notorious climate change denier. So, the replacement for Pruitt will continue to deregulate for the Republicans and the petrol-chemical industry. We may have traded a fox for a wolf, but I am still happy that Pruitt is gone.