Thursday, March 29, 2018

Amidst Trump indifference and hostility to the executive branch, EPA Scott Pruitt stands out as the most loyal destroyer ... by gimleteye

Donald Trump, the president of the United States, fundamentally disrespects the executive authority of the White House except for the narrow range of interests that consume his ego.

Holes in staffing and appointments of incompetents delineate vast areas of federal policy and programs where Trump literally has no patience or curiosity. This suits Republican donors from regulated industries to a T. They never had a better opportunity to lock down their prerogatives, and the place this is happening most radically, most efficiently, and most harmfully to the public is in the agency that consumes less than half of one percent of the federal budget: the US EPA. The EPA is the single federal agency where a Trump appointment is expertly matched to the tasks of destruction from within.

EPA Pruitt is angling to be next US Attorney General when Trump fires Jeff Sessions

The minuscule size of the EPA is sharply contrasts with its importance to protecting the air, water, and economy from the impacts of global warming. But the same value to people makes the EPA an anathema to polluting corporations who, as a consequence of regulation, are the largest contributors to political campaigns -- primarily through unregulated dark money channels. (cf. Jane Mayer, "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right".)

For polluting corporations, it is far, far easier to increase quarterly or yearly profits by knocking down regulations on existing profit centers than it is to innovate new markets. When a regulation is killed, or regulators harnessed behind their desks, corporate profits instantly inflate -- as do compensation packages based on improved profit performance.

That is exactly what motivates EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

One dismal example of Pruitt's reversals of EPA policy: the intent to scrub climate change as a matter of federal concern. Although WH chief of staff John Kelly recently nixed Pruitt's plan to hold a "red team/ blue team debate" on global warming (the science IS settled), Pruitt's staff has been tasked to rinse climate change from the agency's scope. Huffington Post reports today on a senior staff memo circulating through the agency, "Consistent Messages on Climate Change".
The delivery of the talking points comes a week after Pruitt announced plans to restrict the agency’s use of science in writing environmental rules, barring the use of research unless the raw data can be made public for other scientists and industry to scrutinize. That directive would disqualify huge amounts of public health research conducted on the condition that subjects’ personal information will remain private. Two former top EPA officials called the move an “attack on science” in a New York Times op-ed published Monday. Last year, the EPA reassigned the four staffers in the policy office who worked on climate adaptation, shuttered its program on climate adaptation and proposed eliminating funding for programs that deal with rising seas and warming temperatures.

Pruitt personally oversaw efforts to scrub climate change from EPA websites, and staunchly defended President Donald Trump’s decision last June to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. In October, Pruitt proposed repealing the Clean Power Plan, one of the only major federal policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"For the past three decades", Huffington Post notes, "a Big Tobacco-style misinformation campaign funded primarily by oil, gas and coal interests has fueled political debate over the integrity of the scientific consensus."

Unsurprisingly, also, environmental and civic groups have launched a campaign to #bootPruitt.
While green groups have agitated over Pruitt ever since his nomination to run the EPA was announced in late 2016, the "Boot Pruitt" campaign represents a new level of teamwork for environmentalists. It includes an online petition as well as ads on cable news networks, including on "Fox & Friends," which Trump is known to watch.

Embedded in Trump's favor for Pruitt is more than an affinity for brushing off critics like lint from a lapel: Pruitt is exactly the destroyer favored by the Federalist Society and conservative think tank funders like the billionaire Kochs and Mercer families. They use lofty language like "federal overreach" to obscure their real motivation: money. These are Trump's true base, not the narrow sliver of aggrieved white, poorly educated white males.

American voters are passengers on a runaway train whose conductor has jammed the throttle, full speed, so he can retreat to the lounge car reserved for him, family and mistresses, where he eats, tweets and calls the National Enquirer while he watches Fox News and Fox and Friends. Meanwhile, EPA Scott Pruitt has declared an open season on environmental rules and laws, taking a sledge hammer to the agency mission to protect all Americans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since Manafort was alledgely selling nominations for secretarial positions in the Trump administration, did Pruitt pay for his nomination to EPA? If so, who got the money? How was it effectuated? In one case with Manafort the nomination was secretary of the army, a bank officer was to get the nomination, and it was monetized with millions of dollars in loans from a small bank to Manafort. So, did he pay for his nomination for EPA secretary too?