In this first address to the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency, newly-appointed chief Scott Pruitt didn’t give any rousing remarks about fighting global warming or protecting the planet. Instead, he used the opportunity to strike back at everyone who opposed his controversial candidacy for the position over recent weeks, and laid out a vision that seems to undermine everything the agency stands for.
In an address lasting less than 20 minutes, Pruitt described his vision of an EPA that works closely with industrial companies before enacting anti-pollution regulations in order to make it easier for them to comply. (That sound be simple for Pruitt’s EPA – it’s much easier to comply with regulations that simply don’t exist, such as the stream protection rule recently repealed by Congress.) He made no mention of climate change or environmental destruction at all.
He did, however, address one unsurprising topic: the EPA’s staff and their opposition to the Trump administration. He bashed the agency for its past actions, which he sees as outside of its legal mandate, and for denying states the right to set their own legislation. Considering that Pruitt has made his name suing the agency 13 times, the verbal assault was more or less to be expected.
EPA staffers aren’t taking their new boss’s word lying down. One has already blasted it as “condescending and hypocritical” in an anonymous interview with Mother Jones. One Obama-era communications staffer, Liz Purchia, agreed, saying, “Accomplishing agency priorities was no easy task when the administrator had staff’s back and politicals and careers agreed the majority of the time, so let’s see how well Trump’s EPA does getting staff to follow them when they feel disrespected. These are professionals with years of experience, who have been made to feel like their leader doesn’t trust their judgment.”
Considering that EPA workers are already in open revolt against Pruitt’s leadership and have already been talking anonymously to the press to undermine Trump’s pollution-friendly agenda, it should be interesting to see his approach over the next four years.
Via Huffington Post
Images via Gage Skidmore