The New Mail: Letters on Scott Pruitt at EPA

by Duane Nichols on April 16, 2018

There are 1344 Superfund Sites in the U.S.

Letters on Margaret Talbot’s article about Scott Pruitt and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

From The New Yorker Magazine, April 16, 2018 Issue, Page 5.

TITLE: Pruitt vs. the E.P.A.

Margaret Talbot’s article about Scott Pruitt paints a scathing picture of his assault on the Environmental Protection Agency (“Dirty Politics,” April 2nd). I was the first, and then the fifth, administrator of the agency. The environment is far healthier today than it was forty-seven years ago, when the E.P.A. was created, precisely because of the science-based standards that the agency implemented. Pruitt is systematically attacking both the E.P.A.’s budget and its scientific framework. If he is successful, the very reason for the E.P.A.’s creation—illness and disease from pollution—will reëmerge, and we will have to start from square one. The country must challenge the Trump Administration’s war on science. Otherwise, as a result of actions taken by Pruitt and this Administration, the uncontrolled pollution that we have greatly reduced in the past five decades will return.

William D. Ruckelshaus, Seattle, Wash.


Pruitt is not, as he claims, an E.P.A. originalist. He is merely a servant to wealthy corporate interests. He is not there to protect the country’s clean air. He does not care about the long-term damage that a mountaintop mining operation can do to our drinking-water supplies and to our fishing habitats. He is not looking out for the well-being of future generations. Science is knowledge, and Pruitt’s denial of knowledge makes him unfit for government service. It is also the reason that career scientists are overwhelmingly abandoning the E.P.A. under his leadership. Pruitt did not fight Trump’s proposed twenty-five-per-cent cut to the E.P.A.’s budget. He says that he is sticking to “traditional” priorities, such as cleaning up Superfund sites, but he has been co-opted by the very industries that he is responsible for regulating. This cleanup uses current taxpayer money to remedy past damage that should have been corrected by the offending private industries. Essentially, Pruitt wants to privatize profits from businesses while socializing their expenses. Unfortunately, that attitude will only produce new Superfund sites for future taxpayers to deal with.

Richard Dickinson, Richmond Hill, Ga.


I wept after reading Talbot’s article about Pruitt’s dismemberment of the E.P.A. My life’s work has been environmental protection. In the nineteen-sixties, I helped Interior Secretary Stewart Udall define the scope of a new approach to conservation, which included both cities and wild places. Then, as the White House assistant for conservation and beautification, I helped the Johnson Administration create new national parks, like the North Cascades and Redwood, and bring more trees and parks to neighborhoods in cities like Washington, D.C. In the eighties, I worked with the E.P.A. to develop a policy that required the agency to solicit balanced participation from industries, environmental organizations, and local citizens. For many years since, my work has focussed on how citizens and officials alike can be good neighbors to great rivers. Now, at the age of eighty-one, I have neither the strength nor the years ahead to fight against the mindless damage that is being done to our country—and to our planet—by Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, and their colleagues in the Trump Administration. Many of the hard-won achievements of my life are in tatters. Although I am distraught, I know that thousands of well-educated, committed individuals will pick up the pieces and rebuild. Because they have to.

Sharon F. Francis, Charlestown, N.H.


Margaret Talbot’s Article “Scott Pruitt’s Dirty Politics” | The New Yorker

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

WaPo Editorial May 3, 2018 at 8:00 am

Enough. Send this swamp monster packing.

By the Editorial Board (Washington Post)

The Post’s View — Opinion — May 2, 2018

EVEN AT the time, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s trip to Morocco last December seemed odd. Between visiting solar installations and meeting with phosphate industry officials, the United States’ top environmental officer spent a substantial amount of time trying to sell American natural gas, a fossil fuel, to the Moroccans. Meanwhile, his business-class tickets, luxury hotel accommodations and round-the-clock security detail seemed like overkill for a not particularly productive trip.

Now, following new details revealed by The Post’s Kevin Sullivan, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, Mr. Pruitt’s December jaunt seems even sketchier. Portions of it were arranged by a former Comcast lobbyist who had become close to the administrator — and who shortly thereafter registered as an agent for the Moroccan government, promoting the kingdom in return for a whopping $40,000 a month. That lobbyist, Richard Smotkin, even accompanied Mr. Pruitt on some of his activities. It appears that either Mr. Pruitt knew that Mr. Smotkin might profit from the official trip he was taking, which an EPA spokesman denies, or he got played. Either way, these details illustrate an untoward coziness with lobbyists that had already made Mr. Pruitt the subject of multiple federal investigations.

The trip’s particulars also underscore Mr. Pruitt’s habit of wasting taxpayer money on private indulgences. His airline tickets — on Delta Air Lines, the carrier he regularly insisted on flying — cost $16,217. He stayed in luxury hotels in Paris and Morocco. He brought eight staffers and 24-hour security. The total cost came out to some $100,000, even though Mr. Pruitt appears not to have come close to accomplishing $100,000 worth of work in his brief visit.

In another costly foreign voyage to Italy, the New York Times reported Tuesday, parts of Mr. Pruitt’s schedule were arranged by another outside figure, conservative legal activist Leonard A. Leo. Mr. Leo even rode in the administrator’s motorcade despite the objections of EPA staff. One former agency official told the Times that when Mr. Leo or Mr. Smotkin called with a request, “we did it, it doesn’t matter what it was.”

Meanwhile, the Times also revealed Tuesday that the lobbyist whose wife rented Mr. Pruitt a room in a Capitol Hill condominium on generous terms had asked the administrator for help placing three people on the EPA’s Science Advisory Board. The request came the month after Mr. Pruitt moved out of the condo, when the administrator still owed money to the lobbyist’s wife. Both Mr. Pruitt and J. Steven Hart, the lobbyist, had previously played down the suggestion that Mr. Hart sought any special treatment from the EPA, denials that have become steadily less credible.

Mr. Pruitt has crammed a lifetime’s worth of ethical failings into less than a year and a half in office. How much longer will President Trump continue to tolerate this swamp creature in his administration?


ADMIN July 5, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Scott Pruitt resigned today. This article below is maybe the most complete news article on EPA printed today ……..

“How Andrew Wheeler, the New Acting E.P.A. Chief, Differs From Scott Pruitt,” New York Times, July 5, 2018


While it is likely that Mr. Wheeler, as the acting E.P.A. chief, will be effective in implementing Mr. Trump’s deregulatory agenda, one potential obstacle to his being nominated by the president to fill the job permanently is his record of opposing Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign. In a Facebook post on February 29, 2016, Mr. Wheeler penned a strong critique of Mr. Trump that has since been deleted.

“If you are considering voting for Donald Trump please think about the following: 1) no one really knows what his political beliefs are, he has donated to both parties over the years and to people with completely different views. 2) he has demonstrated through the debates and interviews that he doesn’t understand how government works,” he wrote. Mr. Wheeler’s post also suggested that, as a businessman, Mr. Trump “really hasn’t been that successful.”

Neither Mr. Wheeler nor two White House spokesmen responded to requests for comment about the Facebook post.


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