Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Conservative Newspaper Says No To Pruitt Heading The EPA

Trump choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency is Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (caricatured here by DonkeyHotey). The choice horrified Democrats and environmentalists. They knew Pruitt as an enemy of the EPA, and an official who had long been bought off by the big oil and gas industries.

But it's not just those on the left who oppose the nomination of Scott Pruitt. The traditionally conservative newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, has also come out against Pruitt heading the EPA. Here is the editorial written by that paper's editorial board:

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a veteran of a years-long courthouse campaign to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency, is the wrong choice to lead the agency under President Donald Trump. It's hard to imagine a worse choice, and when his nomination comes to the Senate floor, likely next week, Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz should vote no. 
The post of EPA administrator is a critical one, and no where is that more tangible than here in energy-rich Texas. Many industry voices have already raised toasts to Pruitt's nomination, concluding that his plans to eviscerate the EPA's regulatory oversight of oil and gas companies, and other polluters, will strengthen the state's economic fortunes.
But Cruz and Cornyn must look beyond that short-sighted calculus and vote in the long-term interests of Texas. Put simply, Texas' economy will be stronger over time if its environment is cleaner and if its people are healthier. 
There is room, especially under a Republican president, to adopt a less-aggressive stance at the EPA than has been its posture under President Barack Obama. Not since the agency was created by Richard Nixon in 1970 has it taken on such a wide array of major enforcement actions as it pursued under Obama.
 But there is such a thing as an over-correction, and placing Pruitt in the EPA administrator's seat would be a  reckless example.
Pruitt has spent his career arguing that each state, and not the U.S. government, should monitor companies' compliance with environmental safeguards. Now in his seventh year as Oklahoma's chief legal officer, he has sued the EPA at least 14 times. He would have Americans rely on a patchwork of rules, with enforcement priorities shifting from state to state, despite the obvious inefficiencies that would create for companies whose interests, just like the pollution they produce, regularly cross states lines.
But even as he argued for a larger state role, as attorney general he dissolved that office's standalone environmental crimes unit, which had been responsible for scores of enforcement actions against polluters and others since 1996.
States are often under tremendous pressure to go easy on the industries they regulate. In Pruitt's case, that pressure has too often proved too hard to resist. In 2011, for example, just before an Oklahoma oil company was due to meet with EPA officials in Washington, Pruitt sent a letter on state letterhead arguing that the EPA was grossly overstating the impact of air pollution from natural gas wells in Oklahoma.
"Fantastic!" the company's chief lobbyist wrote to Pruitt soon after, according to a Pulitzer Prize-winning expose by The New York Times in 2014. No wonder the company was excited. The stories also revealed that Pruitt's letter, like many others he wrote as attorney general, had been carefully drafted by the company's lobbyists. 
That kind of coziness was wrong for the Oklahoma attorney general. It could prove disastrous on a national level. And it's just one reason why he's profoundly unsuited to lead the agency charged with safeguarding Americans' health and environment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED. And neither will racist,homophobic, or misogynistic comments. I do not mind if you disagree, but make your case in a decent manner.