Scott Pruitt – climate change denier and close friend of fossil fuel magnates – is officially the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an organization that he and his boss have vowed to dismantle down to the bare bones through deep cuts and censorship.
Speaking to the gathered crowd at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, Pruitt was a tad more specific on his plans for the agency.
The Obama-era Clean Energy Plan and the updated Clean Water Rule, which respectively aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep water unpolluted across the nation, will be facing the firing squad. The latest rule for limiting methane emissions from fracking wells is also up for the chop.
Staff cuts and budget reductions were all but confirmed. Most perturbingly of all, Pruitt went as far as saying that those wishing for the EPA to be disbanded were “justified” in their thinking.
The fox in charge of the hen house hit all of the conservative talking points on the EPA, which he painted as an overly powerful, bloated mess that needs to be put into place. Climate change was said to be nothing close to being a certainty, and that any human effect on it is “hard to measure with precision.”
Considering the insurmountable pile of evidence directly connecting our actions to climate change, this is the intellectual equivalent of saying that scientists aren’t precisely sure what a dog is.
Scott Pruitt speaks at CPAC 2017. The ACU via YouTube
Claiming that the EPA trampled on the rights of individual businesses and states, Pruitt – a man who has spent a lot of his career unsuccessfully trying to sue the EPA – said that he will “restore federalism” by giving states a greater say in air and water protection.
There’s nothing inherently bad in giving states more say in this regard, but there were two significant reasons that the previous government took overarching action with regards to environmental protection.
Firstly, pollution and greenhouse gases do not give a single shit about state borders – they affect the entire nation and the wider world no matter where they come from. When the environment suffers, we suffer, and that’s that.
Secondly, individual states are heavily biased against any sort of pollution or emissions regulations if they possess plenty of fossil fuels. This would neatly explain why, unfortunately, two Democrats broke from their party and voted for Pruitt’s confirmation.
Perhaps most strangely of all, he said that “People across the country look at the EPA the way they look at [the Internal Revenue Service].” This is demonstrably untrue, as a 2013 survey revealed that 65 percent of Americans “oppose the EPA being prevented from doing its work because of the shutdown.”
So – it begins, as they say.