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Planet Trump

Tracking the Environmental Policies of the Trump Administration >>

News from Ground Control: Planet Trump (Feb. 24)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Last Friday, in a near party-line vote, the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt as the new Environmental Protection Agency administrator. A swell of controversy surrounded the decision, with an Oklahoma judge ordering about 3,000 of Pruitt’s emails be released to the public a day prior to the vote.

In a rapid response to this deeply troubling confirmation, EWG President Ken Cook published and open letter to Pruitt, in which he promised to fight any environmentally regressive actions taken by the new EPA head.                                                                  

On the heels of the court order, Pruitt’s explosive emails came to light this week, showing his cozy relationship with fossil fuel interests.

“No wonder Scott Pruitt couldn’t find time to enforce a single environmental protection law while serving as Oklahoma attorney general,” Cook said of the revelation. “He and his staff were too busy communicating and colluding with fossil fuel industry executives and industry front groups over plans to stop President Obama’s efforts to protect clean air and water, and save thousands of lives.”

Here are several of this past week’s deep dives on that development, along with other worrisome environmental and public health actions taken by the new administration.

The New York Times, Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton (Feb. 22, 2017) The Pruitt Emails: EPA Chief Was Arm and Arm With Industry

Environmental groups rushed to condemn the correspondence.

“This extensive trail of emails reads like a yearslong chain of love letters between soul mates,” said Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group.

Bloomberg, Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Todd Shields and Andrew M. Harris (Feb. 22, 2017) EPA Chief Battled Agency Armed With Industry Talking Points

Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group, said Pruitt’s past interactions with energy companies show that equation will be weighted on the side of fossil fuel.

"When, on his first day at the agency, Scott Pruitt told EPA staff that energy development needn’t conflict with environmental protection, you have to believe he means the minimal protection for air and water that Koch, Devon Energy and other fossil fuel interests always have in mind," Cook said in a news release.

Village Voice, Sara Ventiera (Feb. 23, 2017) A Trump Cabinet Pick You Probably Haven’t Worried About Yet: Secretary of Agriculture

But Environmental Working Group, a non-profit advocacy group headquartered in Washington D.C., blasted the nomination. “It’s certainly hard to imagine that a former fertilizer salesman will tackle the unregulated farm pollution that poisons our drinking water, turns Lake Erie green, and fouls the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico,” EWG senior VP for government affairs, Scott Faber said shortly after Perdue’s nomination. The group noted that Perdue received political donations from “Food giants, farm chemical companies and farm lobbyists,” and took more than $278,000 in federal farm subsidies from taxpayers between 1995 and 2004. Like other environmental advocates, EWG fears that Perdue will eagerly jump on the deregulation train being promoted by the Trump administration at the expense of the family farmers and the environment.

The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin (Feb. 23, 2017) White House to Eject its Environmental Advisers From Their Longtime Main Headquarters on Friday

The New York Times, The Editorial Board (Feb. 23, 2017) President Trump Takes Aim at the Environment

The Huffington Post, Alexander C. Kaufman (Feb. 21, 2017) Scott Pruitt Goes After Critics, EPA in His First Speech to the Agency

Reuters, Rory Carroll (Feb. 23, 2017) California Lawmakers Release Environmental Bills in Attempt to Thwart Trump

Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Star Editorial Board, (Feb. 22, 2017) Editorial: Farm Economies Would Suffer From Trump-Inspired Trade War

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