Right smack on the about page of the EPA’s website you see the agencies mission statement bold and clear.
“The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment”
EPA short for Environmental Protection Agency has been recently stirring up lots of controversy under the administration of Scott Pruitt. Pruitt attracts this controversy in part because he rejects the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change. As EPA administrator, Pruitt reversed and delayed numerous environmental rules, relaxed enforcement of existing rules, and halted the agency’s efforts to combat climate change. In fact he went as far as suing the agency he now runs 13 times in the last 5 years. This isn’t even the worst part of the story. His term at the EPA has been riddled with corruption allegations and several conflicts of interest.
Regardless of his scientific beliefs on climate change, his administration of the EPA is at best a complete joke. If Mr. Pruitt believes in his heart of hearts that climate change is a hoax, by god, he has every right too. What this story seeks to explore is whether or not Scott Pruitt is fulfilling the mission of the agency he was chosen to lead.
Lets start by getting one thing clear, environmental protections serve all US citizens. Not just those crazy hippy democrats or those tree-hugging green parties. Republicans, independents, everyone has a vested interest in preserving the environment. Until we can find some way to send people to Mars, Earth is the only home we have. Protecting the environment and human health should not be a partisan issue. The EPA was designed to protect just that.
History of The EPA
Beginning in the late 1950s and through the 1960s, there was increasing public concern about the impact that human activity could have on the environment. The formation of the Environmental Protection Agency came as a result of the passing of The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Government interest in this kind of legislation grew out of urban planning battles like Jane Jacobs vs. Robert Moses in NYC. Public outrage toward these issues reached its peak in reaction to the Santa Barbara oil spill in early 1969 just as the NEPA legislation was being drafted in Congress.
President Nixon signed NEPA into law on January 1, 1970. The law created the the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the Executive Office of the President. NEPA required that a detailed statement of environmental impacts be prepared for all major federal actions significantly affecting the environment. On July 9, 1970, Nixon proposed an executive reorganization that consolidated many environmental responsibilities of the federal government under one agency, a new Environmental Protection Agency.
Who Is Scott Pruitt?
Edward Scott Pruitt is a lawyer and Republican politician from the state of Oklahoma. He was nominated by President Donald Trump to lead the EPA in 2017. Before his nomination to the EPA, Pruitt sued the EPA 13 times as Oklahoma statesmen. Pruitt’s lawsuits against the EPA centered on claims the EPA was over reaching its federal power by penalizing fossil fuels emissions. It’s important to note he has lost all 13 suits against the EPA in court.
Since taking office, Pruitt has been riddled with claims of corruption from fellow colleagues, even within is own Republican Party. These instances stem from allegations that “gifts” were received by Scott Pruitt that presents conflicts of interest.
Major policy differences aside, @EPAScottPruitt‘s corruption scandals are an embarrassment to the Administration, and his conduct is grossly disrespectful to American taxpayers. It’s time for him to resign or for @POTUS to dismiss him. https://t.co/gXWLDffqam
— Rep. Carlos Curbelo (@RepCurbelo) April 3, 2018
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) April 3, 2018
Mr. Pruitt has very deep ties with oil & gas refinery industry. This is no coincidence given Mr. Pruitt home state of Oklahoma is dominated by the oil and gas refinement industry. There are allegations he may have received gifts in the form of a condo, less than a block from the U.S. Capitol complex.
Mr. Pruitt has made it clear through his decisions as EPA Administrator, he favors policies that are beneficial to oil and gas refinement companies. In one such instance he proposed to relax national emission standards for the petroleum refinery industry. These standards aim to protect US citizens from hazardous air pollutants. These amendments to the emission standards will save refineries cost savings up to $11.5 million.
Find out more ➡ https://t.co/lVvJTghij2
— Administrator Pruitt (@EPAScottPruitt) March 20, 2018
In another such instance Pruitt cut back emission standards for cars and light trucks.
The previous administration’s determination was wrong. Obama’s EPA cut the Midterm Evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality & set the standards too high. Read more: https://t.co/bcsB9NVfUp
— Administrator Pruitt (@EPAScottPruitt) April 2, 2018
What Does This Mean For The Environment?
Pruitt makes claims that the regulations imposed by the Obama EPA were “unrealistic” and “too-high”. According to who exactly? We do not know. He fails to specify data or sources.
Carmakers around the world have been embracing this shift in the industry by developing electric and energy efficient car and trucks. So it seems a bit strange that the head of the EPA is making comments on what the automobile industry can and cannot achieve. At certain point you have to ask yourself – why is Pruitt so intent on relaxing emission and pollution standards?
Many of Scott Pruitt’s actions as EPA Administrators do not fall in line with the mission of the EPA. In several instances his decisions even jeopardize the environment we all share. Pruitt has demonstrated his allegiances to oil and gas companies prevent him from serving the mission of the agency he leads.
What the outcome of this matter will be is difficult to predict. These are chaotic times in US politics. Nations like New Zealand have recently banned oil and gas exploration. The US on the other hand seems to be taking steps in the wrong direction.