Radio Talk Show About Environmental Protections
Note: This is Part II of a two-part analysis of President Trump’s war on the Environmental Protection Agency. Part I: Deception examines how Trump is trying to please a narrow audience of special interests and supporters while misleading the public at large. Part II: Deconstruction examines the five fronts of the war and how Trump will go about weakening the Agency.
While Trump reassures the public that he is protecting clean air and water, it will be EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s job to tear down EPA from within. He will have strong support from the iron triangle of industry lobbyists and their congressional allies. It is a practice Pruitt is familiar with from his days as Attorney General of Oklahoma, where he sued EPA 14 times to roll back clean air and clean water standards. He filed these lawsuits hand-in-hand with energy companies who stood to benefit and were simultaneously pouring campaign cash into Pruitt’s political campaigns.
Pruitt has wasted little time after his confirmation before stirring the pot, delivering a fiery speech to the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “The future ain’t what it used to be at the EPA,” he said before promising to “rollback the regulatory state.” When asked how it felt to be at CPAC with “everyone hoping that the very agency you are running is going to go away?” Pruitt answered that “it’s justified.”
Pruitt’s remarks left no doubt that he was among those favored by Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior strategist. “if you look at the cabinet nominees,” Bannon told CPAC, “they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction” of regulation.
Note: This is Part I of a two-part analysis of President Trump’s war on the Environmental Protection Agency. Part I: Deception examines how Trump is trying to please a narrow audience of special interests and supporters while misleading the public at large. Part II: Deconstruction examines the five fronts of the war and how Trump will go about weakening the Agency.
President Trump is waging a war against the Environmental Protection Agency, but you wouldn’t know it from his first address to Congress, or even his Twitter account. Instead, he asked Congress to work with him to “promote clean air and water.” It’s the simple and reassuring message he wants the public to hear, deliberate cover as he sets long-time EPA foe Scott Pruitt to the task of deconstruction the agency from within. For starters, Trump has asked Pruitt to slash EPA’s budget by one-quarter and directed EPA to weaken clean water safeguards for streams and wetlands, with further orders to rollback clean air and climate protections expected to soon follow.
According to Myron Ebell, the head of Trump’s EPA transition team, the objective is to permanently cripple the agency’s capacity to bounce back under future presidents. Pruitt, with a long history of secretive alliances with energy industry lobbyists, is a perfect pick to carry out the job for Trump now that he has been (narrowly) confirmed to be EPA Administrator.
But Trump faces a problem – public support for protecting public health – particularly the health of children – is a widespread American value that runs deeper, and further across the political spectrum, than other issues. In fact, 84 percent of Trump voters want to preserve or increase the strength of federal regulations on drinking water, according to a December 2016 poll by Morning Consult. And 78 percent of Trump voters want federal regulations on air pollution left alone or strengthened.
Last week, Stand.earth asked their supporters to show EPA staff some love on Valentine’s Day –for science, for communities and for the climate. Here are the thousands of love notes they received. Some examples: Thank you for your efforts to keep the environment safe for present and future generations! At least a quarter-billion people in […]
President Trump is preparing executive orders aimed at curtailing Obama-era policies on climate and water pollution, according to individuals briefed on the measures.
While both directives will take time to implement, they will send an unmistakable signal that the new administration is determined to promote fossil-fuel production and economic activity even when those activities collide with some environmental safeguards. Individuals familiar with the proposals asked for anonymity to describe them in advance of their announcement, which could come as soon as this week.
One executive order — which the Trump administration will couch as reducing U.S. dependence on other countries for energy — will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric utilities. It also instructs the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing.
Several agencies are on the political and legislative radar for significant changes or even elimination.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of them and the agency may have replaced the Veterans Administration for being the most frequent agency in the news.
Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz has submitted a bill to eliminate the agency by December 2018. Congressman Gaetz cited a quote referring to the agency as one that is “relentlessly ideological, politicized, corrupt and incompetent.”
In a recent article, he noted he is opposed to what the agency is doing and not the underlying mission:
“The EPA budget is $8 billion. Much of this money filters through to states through joint programs, but far too much is spent on Washington-driven bureaucracy and endless studies; $27 million even goes to foreign governments, while environmental priorities at home languish.”
In other words, he wants to scrap the EPA and start over with a smaller, more focused organization. This bill is not given a significant chance of passing into law.
Source: Getty Images
Just three days before this week’s environment conference in Alaska, the top Environmental Protection Agency official in Anchorage called the organizer with some news: The agency had been instructed by the White House to slash the number of EPA staffers who could attend.
“We’ve never had this happen before,” said Kurt Eilo, who has organized the Alaska Forum on the Environment for 19 years. The annual gathering brings together 1,800 people from native communities, government agencies and the public to discuss climate-related issues, including melting permafrost and risks to villages from rising seas.
There had been 34 EPA staffers registered; in the end, only half were allowed to go. The agency says the late change — including scrapping the travel of some senior staff from Washington — was about saving money for American taxpayers.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the nation’s leading protector of people and ecosystems from air and water pollution, toxic chemicals and pesticides, and contamination from industrial sites. The EPA is also responsible for implementing programs that reduce climate-disrupting greenhouse gas pollution from our homes, vehicles, power plants and factories.
The agency is having a rough go of it in the current political climate, with a prominent climate denier picked to lead the administration transition team, a foe of the agency’s mission poised to become its next administrator, and a series of restrictions levied on its science and communication capabilities. A lot has happened over the past ten days, and while some of it is good news, the overall picture suggests that the Trump administration and Congress have every intention of continuing to use the agency as a punching bag in order to make polluting great again.
Trump issued an Executive Order imposing an immediate hiring freeze on federal agencies for 90 days, giving the Office of Personnel Management time to come up with a plan to shrink the federal government through attrition. At a time when the federal workforce includes many workers about to retire, the impact could be substantial.
The new administration has informed the EPA and other science agencies that its scientists may no longer publish or speak publicly about their research without a review by the White House. Agency staff also may not post blogs or comments on social media.
The nominee to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is an avowed enemy of the agency and has sued it 14 times to block enforcement of its rules. Questioned about human-caused climate change, Pruitt grudgingly conceded its existence. But he said that the extent of its harmful effects had not been adequately assessed and is “subject to continuing debate.”