Scott Pruitt is out at the EPA, but he may well show up somewhere else. There have even been rumblings that he has campaigned to be made Attorney General.
And, Pruitt’s replacement is actually worse than Pruitt. He will continue the work of dismantling environmental regulations easily and quickly since he won’t attract the attention and scrutiny Pruitt did. The people Trump picks to head agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are there to cater to industry and destroy the agency itself.
A year ago, a year ago, Andrew Wheeler was a coal industry lobbyist. He is a climate change denier and he will in the words of Alexander Kaufman, writing in Huffpost, continue the “radical plan to dismantle the nation’s leading public health agency at the behest of the industries it regulates…” (Kaufman, 7/518).
Wheeler is sure to continue Pruitt’s work reshaping the agency’s science advisory boards to make them less scientific. His tenure will most likely spark the continued exodus of talented professionals who refuse to help cripple the EPA and “put the environment on an ever accelerating train of destruction” (Kaufman, 7/5/18). Pruitt’s efforts to gut auto emissions standards and limit the use of public health studies in writing regulations will not stop just because Pruitt is gone. Pruitt’s proposed regulation “to replace a landmark Obama-era rule protecting drinking water for 117 million Americans” (Kaufman, 7/5/18) will be pursued. And these measures are only a sample of the path of destruction Pruitt has started.
The Sierra Club called for Wheeler’s confirmation to be delayed and an investigation opened after The Intercept reported on irregularities in his fund raising activities. But, the Republicans ignored the request. Wheeler dodged questions at his confirmation hearing about climate change and critical environmental policies (Kaufman, 7/5/18).
Once again, I’d like to point out that SUSAN COLLINS voted to confirm this coal industry lobbyist as deputy administrator of the EPA. Pruitt’s scandalous and criminal behavior as head of the EPA had already hit the press, so Collins knew damn well that she was voting for somebody who was likely to become the administrator. SUSAN COLLINS IS A SHAM. And Scott Pruitt’s work is ongoing.
What happened in Flint, Michigan can happen in any town, any city in the country. We must act now, we must mobilize, we must resist. We must not let this country become the site for a free-for-all among big business interests.