Given the daily twitter distraction frenzy out of the White House and the almost daily presidential press conference featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders, whose stock-in-trade is lying for the president, it becomes easy to forget some of the more important matters the president has promised the nation. The list is quite long including both domestic and foreign policies. This one should not be ignored anymore.
President Trump during his campaign promised to “drain the swamp” to his adoring crowds of rally goers. This phrase was probably lifted by his speechwriter from a speech by Ronald Reagan in 1980, essentially used the phrase to call for the reigning in of the government bureaucracy and the elimination of wasteful government spending. The “bureaucracy” was a favorite whipping boy of the Civil Service.
In October of 2016, Trump announced his plans for sweeping ethics “pledging to make our government honest again” Of course, that was a lie. Just one more lie to add to well over 2,000 outright lies and misrepresentations of facts that Trump has made since becoming president according to The Washington Post. The swamp was never going to be drained. Rather, Trump’s cabinet looks like a bunch of voracious alligators: Washington lobbyists, corporate executives, political insiders, and former government officials. Interestingly, Trump has taken out his “drain the swamp” rant to his adoring rally crowds. However, despite all the chaos surrounding the Trump Administration, not all of us have forgotten about the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Scott Pruitt the greediest and slimiest gator in the swamp.
The case for firing Scott Pruitt can certainly be made. It should be incumbent on us as commentators in the blogger community to continue to call for Pruitt’s removal from both a policy and ethical standpoint. A look at these more critical actions rescinded by Pruitt and his staff against current E.P.A. regulations are listed below:
- Flood building standards
- Proposed ban on a potentially harmful pesticide
- Freeze on new coal leases on public lands
- Methane reporting requirement
- Anti-dumping rule for coal companies
- Decision on Keystone XL pipeline
- Decision on Dakota Access pipeline
- Third-party settlement funds
- Offshore drilling ban in the Atlantic and Arctic
- Ban on seismic air gun testing in the Atlantic
- Northern Bering Sea climate resilience plan
- Royalty regulations for oil, gas and coal
- Inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews
- Permit-issuing process for new infrastructure projects
- Green Climate Fund contributions
- Endangered species listings
- Hunting ban on wolves and grizzly bears in Alaska
- Protections for whales and sea turtles
- Reusable water bottles rule for national parks
- National parks climate order
- Environmental mitigation for federal projects
- Calculation for “social cost” of carbon
- Planning rule for public lands
- Copper filter cake listing as hazardous waste
- Mine cleanup rule
- Sewage treatment pollution regulations
- Ban on use of lead ammunition on federal lands
- Restrictions on fishing
- Fracking regulations on public lands
- Migratory bird protections
- Department of Interior climate policies
- Rule regulating industrial polluters
- Safety standards for “high hazard” trains
It is not hard to determine who benefits from these policy reversals: the oil, gas, and coal corporations, the N.R.A., and those who pollute our rivers, lakes, streams, and the air we breathe. It is also easy to see who the losers are. Basically, it appears anyone who wants to live on this endangered planet and are concerned for those of the generations to follow. To make matters worse, this is only the beginning of the regulations Pruitt seeks to overturn. There are many more on the way. Evidently, the Environmental Protection Agency is a misnomer in this administration.
Let us now turn to the ethical violations committed by Scott Pruitt. His personal conduct in office is nothing less than egregious. Pruitt’s personal war against the E.P.A. started long before he came to Washington and became the alligator in the Trump administration swamp. Here’s a list of Pruitt’s manipulations, lies, and preferential treatment of the fossil fuel industry:
- Back in June of 2017, Pruitt took a wink and nod credit for convincing Trump to exit the Paris climate agreement. He didn’t say that publicly of course. He was smart enough not get out front of the president who can’t stand anyone else in the limelight. However, according to Rolling Stone magazine, “Pruitt did everything he could to telegraph to the world that he thought Paris was a bad deal for America, and urged Big Coal executives to make their views known to the president as well.” Despite the fact that there were others in the administration who wanted the country to stay in the agreement, Pruitt and his allies convinced Trump to literally cash out of the Paris climate agreement. The fossil fuel industry have been more than generous with political contributions to the 2020 Trump campaign.
- No sooner had the president announced the United States leaving the Paris climate agreement than the mega banks opened the spigot to finance any number of new oil, gas, and coal exploration, production and refining. It always about following the money. The Guardian in March 2018 tallied up the financial extent to which the big banks in United States and Canada are financing this new fossil fuel boom.
- Just to review the actions Pruitt has taken to favor the fossil fuel industry scroll back up and notice the items marked in red. All of those marked in red reversed previous regulations to protect our environment.
- Interestingly, Pruitt is the subject of no less than 10 investigations by the E.P.A. solicitor general. Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin provides a current summary in the April 20th edition of The Washington Post: “There are scandals concerning first-class travel, a $43,000 soundproof booth, an apartment leased from the wife of a lobbyist, outsize pay increases for top aides (one of whom allegedly spent time on Pruitt’s housing search, a violation of law if true), $10,200 to lease a super-duper upgraded SUV, retaliation against aides who objected to his spending sprees and “$45,000 in government money to fly five people to Australia to prepare for a planned trip that was later canceled” (according to a new Reuters report). With the exception of the president himself, there is no Cabinet secretary or senior official who has so unabashedly wasted the taxpayers’ money on his own creature comforts.
- Although not under investigation, these items surely beg the question what kind of public servant is Scott Pruitt? He needs a 30 some man security detail, he spent money on a bulletproof desk (so much for the security team if he needed to use that!), flashing lights on his SUV to get to his favorite restaurant in Washington, D.C., an expensive junket to Morocco to benefit his oil and gas buddies, and today, the lobbyist husband, Steven Hart, admitted he did meet with Pruitt in July 2017. That is the lobbyist husband of the woman who gave him and his daughter a sweetheart deal on the condo.
It is time for Pruitt to go. There is no public servant in this guy. Much like the president, it is an opportunity to scam and cheat the public to line his own pockets, increase his personal influence, satisfy his own sense of entitlement, and the only service he is going to provide is being Trump’s lackey. Haven’t we had enough of this?