Thanks to the mass demotion and firing of scientists, along with the huge influx of industry darlings, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under Scott Pruitt’s rule, is being corroded from within. As former EPA scientist Trish Koman recently told IFLScience, “they are fundamentally deconstructing the institutions of the EPA, and as a result, it won’t be able to do its job, to protect human health and the environment.”
Now, as revealed by a series of reports published in the last few weeks, it’s clear that this assault on environmental protections is going to get worse in 2018.
A comprehensive profile on Pruitt’s EPA by the Washington Post notes that environmental protections and rules have been targeted for deletion or rollback, more than any other sector of the federal government.
Their own research has found that 63 rules are targeted for nixing: a few have been through executive actions by the President, new legislation or via Congress, but most have been through Cabinet-level actions, which include high-ranking federal government members like Pruitt making moves to neuter environmental protections.
The graph was recently highlighted on Twitter by Anthony Leiserowitz – the Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the principal investigator at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University. He didn’t feel such information was getting enough attention, and we agree.
Another investigation by The New York Times and ProRepublica also found that 700 employees have left the EPA since the inauguration of Trump and his administration. Out of these, 200 are scientists and 96 are those whose expertise lies in environmental protection.
Betsy Southerland, the former director of science and technology at the Office of Water, is just one of those that have felt they had no choice but to leave. She resigned last summer with a stark and eloquent resignation letter, which she explained to IFLScience she felt compelled to write because she “really felt there was a clear and present danger to public health and safety by this administration.”