EPA's Pruitt fulfilling Trump's anti-regulatory agenda

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is drawing scrutiny for his housing situation and travel p...

Posted: Apr 3, 2018 11:11 PM
Updated: Apr 3, 2018 11:11 PM

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is drawing scrutiny for his housing situation and travel practices, but in his role as the nation's top environmental official, he's a reliable administration foot soldier, making good on President Donald Trump's campaign promises for fewer environmental regulations and to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Since he was confirmed to the job last February, Pruitt has taken an aggressive approach to rolling back Obama-era regulations, most recently this week's announcement that he would revise fuel efficiency rules designed to cut back on emissions of greenhouse gases.

"This is another step in the President's regulatory agenda, de-regulatory agenda ... a billion dollars in savings with respect to over 22 significant regulatory actions that we've been involved in here at the agency," Pruitt said at EPA headquarters Tuesday.

The announcement is the latest in a series of moves by Trump and Pruitt to dismantle Barack Obama's environmental legacy, moves that have drawn some scrutiny for their pace and breadth.

In the 14 months since he became the nation's top environmental policy official, Pruitt has bit-by-bit overseen the dismantling of a number of regulations and agreements across the agency, and impacting a wide range of issues.

Pruitt has withdrawn the "once in, always in" policy under the Clean Air Act, which determined how facilities that are major sources of hazardous air pollutants are regulated.

He announced plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the Obama-era climate rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

"I do think that the administration has been aggressively deregulatory across the board, across agencies. But the EPA stands out even in that crowd," Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University law professor who served as the EPA's associate administrator for the Office of Policy between July 2009 and December 2010. "(Pruitt's) decisions appear to move all in one direction. He's not just limiting himself to one program. Across the agency, he appears to be acting in a uniformly deregulatory way."

Pruitt is the latest Cabinet official caught up in a swirl of bad press, facing an uncertain future within the Trump administration. But unlike the situations surrounding former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the policies he's enacted seem to be in line with the President's policy goals.

In one instance, Pruitt is also now suggesting tacking on additional import restrictions onto a review of fuel efficiency regulations as a way to strengthen Trump's aggressive stance on tariffs and trade, according to a White House official familiar with recent discussions between the administration and the EPA. This source says the changes amount to "crazy import restrictions."

This source did not believe the restrictions would pass muster, but rather saw it as a way for Pruitt to carry favor with the President as the administrator faces intense scrutiny for possible ethical violations. The drafted restrictions would be unrealistic, according to this source, but Pruitt tried to "package it for the President so that it looks that way."

"He is trying so hard to please the President," the source said.

The drafted restrictions, suggested unexpectedly on Friday by Pruitt's office, would raise greenhouse gas standards on imported vehicles as a way to limit the flow of foreign cars entering the United States, as per this source.

"The idea wasn't fully baked," said the source, but it comes at a time when the Trump administration is targeting imports, notably placing tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 318894

Reported Deaths: 5561
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion43391855
Lake27599462
Allen18363299
Elkhart17474226
St. Joseph17071234
Hamilton13376169
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Tippecanoe880629
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Johnson6556169
Hendricks6267158
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Monroe542850
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Warrick329872
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Bartholomew323563
Wayne318074
Marshall308146
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Noble261546
Hancock260355
Henry252837
Boone248754
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Jackson222534
Morgan215543
Knox189720
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Scott112320
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Washington7837
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 382743

Reported Deaths: 6274
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin51161671
Cuyahoga37222743
Hamilton30493372
Montgomery20518236
Butler15199148
Lucas14566417
Summit13933327
Stark9193206
Warren841976
Mahoning7530300
Lake710067
Lorain6690106
Clermont593651
Delaware572537
Licking564577
Trumbull5584147
Fairfield554464
Greene538066
Clark5218101
Allen494989
Marion476759
Medina471657
Wood4598107
Miami437568
Pickaway404048
Portage358972
Columbiana357698
Tuscarawas342667
Richland328539
Wayne327394
Mercer296047
Muskingum252510
Hancock245940
Ross244559
Auglaize236435
Darke232560
Erie230268
Putnam229449
Ashtabula228354
Geauga211851
Scioto200616
Union19668
Shelby194017
Lawrence193039
Athens19134
Seneca182919
Belmont170229
Madison163119
Sandusky157729
Preble156521
Huron155519
Defiance144823
Holmes140439
Logan133517
Knox131718
Fulton128726
Jefferson128613
Crawford126817
Washington125227
Ottawa124530
Clinton109115
Williams10799
Ashland107825
Highland103718
Brown10135
Henry101323
Hardin99719
Champaign9825
Van Wert97318
Jackson96212
Fayette92717
Morrow9202
Guernsey89314
Coshocton85215
Perry82912
Adams80313
Pike7661
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Wyandot73217
Paulding66511
Hocking64516
Noble62224
Carroll48810
Meigs39612
Monroe32321
Morgan2685
Vinton2246
Harrison2193
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