Scott Pruitt is slowly strangling the EPA – Umair Irfan Jan 29, 2018, 10:30am EST


The unprecedented regulatory slowdown and rollbacks at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Javier Zarracina/Vox

The mandate of the head of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and enforce environmental regulations.

Yet since he was confirmed last February, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has worked to stall or roll back this core function of his agency, efforts he’s now celebrating with posters:

He’s also taken some highly unusual, even paranoid, precautions, armoring himself with a 24/7 security detail, building a $25,000 secret phone booth in his office, spending $9,000 to sweep his office for surveillance bugs, and hiding his schedule from the public. When one employee turned one of the celebratory posters around, Pruitt assigned a worker to look through security camera records to see who did it, Newsweek reported.

Pruitt’s posters are a list of the regulatory rollbacks he’s delivered to his allies in coal, oil, gas, and chemicals industries. These gifts include the reversal of a ban on chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to developmental problems in children.

Some of the biggest changes Pruitt has made at the EPA have come by not doing anything at all. He’s steering the EPA’s work at an agonizingly slow pace, delaying and slowing the implementation of laws and running interference for many of the sectors EPA is supposed to regulate.

With more staff and funding cuts looming, even fewer toxic chemicals and other environmental hazards will be measured, and the statues that protect against them won’t be enforced.

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