What’s Coming? A Dramatic Shift in EPA Priorities

Scott Pruitt Signals Dramatic Shift in EPA Priorities
The Wall Street Journal, 22 February 2017 Amy Harder

In speech before employees, the new chief emphasized giving business certainty about rules

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, spoke to employees of the agency in Washington on Tuesday PHOTO:JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS
WASHINGTON—In his first speech as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt stressed a dramatic change of priorities at the agency, stating the importance of the agency’s communication and relationship with businesses but giving few details about policy changes.

Mr. Pruitt didn’t touch on the hard-fought issues that arose during his confirmation process, including his work as Oklahoma attorney general suing the EPA and comments President Donald Trump has made about nearly eliminating the agency.

The new administrator focused instead on his general aspirations for the agency, such as giving businesses certainty regarding environmental rules and striking an appropriate balance with states when it comes to regulations.

“Regulations ought to make things regular,” said Mr. Pruitt, repeating a line he used at his confirmation hearing in January. “Those that we regulate ought to know what they can expect from us.”

That is a clear difference in message and focus from the EPA under President Barack Obama, which emphasized first what the agency was trying to protect with its regulations on clean air and water.

Mr. Pruitt’s speech at agency headquarters, which went a little over 10 minutes, was aimed at striking a balance between the administrator’s mandate from Mr. Trump to roll back Mr. Obama’s environmental regulations and persistent concerns from inside and outside the agency about that very mandate. It didn’t include questions from either media or the assembled EPA staffers in Washington. EPA employs about 15,000 people across the U.S.; thousands were able to watch the speech online.

“You can’t lead unless you listen. I seek to listen and learn and lead with you to address these issues we face as a nation,” Mr. Pruitt said.

Mr. Trump’s plans for EPA have attracted particular attention, given his stated goal of making wholesale changes at the agency. Current and former officials of the agency had publicly urged the defeat of Mr. Pruitt, saying they were concerned about his close relations with the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma. The Senate narrowly confirmed him on Friday mostly along party lines.

Mr. Pruitt’s comments Tuesday didn’t ease some critics’ concerns.

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90 thoughts on “What’s Coming? A Dramatic Shift in EPA Priorities

    • I’m still waiting for the Climate Change Propaganda from the previous administration to be replaced by more realistic content on the EPA’s web site.

      • @talldave2

        As the Chinese are a major (perhaps the major) beneficiary of the Paris Accord I think it is perfectly reasonable to characterise “Climate Change” as the Chinese Hoax.

      • For all the bs about Russia, I’d like to know how much the Chinese (l)owned the Bushes and the Clintons with gifts and deals.

    • I’m sure that before Obama left office, he passed an executive order declaring the “swamp” to be a protected wet-lands….

    • It’s actually surprisingly easy to do. Why must agency headquarters be located in DC? Disperse the bureaucracy across the country. Why couldn’t the EPA headquarters be in – say – Des Moines? DOE in Lincoln? Bureau of Indian Affairs would fit in Kansas or Arizona. How many hipster EPA employees do you think would look forward to moving to Iowa?

    • Aren’t we all, as bureaucracies seem to exist to appease paid acolytes..When said acolytes are concerned that is good for those who pay the bill.

  1. Mr Pruitt,
    Please regulate clean air and clean water for America, as the EPA is legendary for with the clean water and clean air acts. Things are so much better/cleaner than in the 1960s.

    Do not worry about gasses that humans exhale and that if necessary for thriving plant life which sustains the earth’s eco-system.

    • The problem is this. How clean is clean enough?
      There is much evidence that the EPA has made things too clean. That is, the additional clean that we are buying is not having any incremental impact on health.
      We can dial back many regulations with no impact on health of individuals, but a huge increase in the health of the economy.

      • We are now being regulated by analytical method. As limits of detection get lower and lower due to technology improvements, the lower and lower the permit limits get without any discernible improvement in the environment. Anything less is better, right?

        Nothing is too insignificant to spend someone else’s money on.

    • As long as the EPA worked on level one pollutants they did great things when they went to regulate level 2 and 3 pollutants they were crazy, level 2 may or not pay to regulate, level 3 cost more than it worth, of course for the EPA to grow it had to go after level 2 and 3 knowing very well it a waste of money by you know a bureaucracy need to feed itself be damn the damage it does to the little people! Funny the EPA bureaucracy has never done the cost benefit analysis required by law on what their regulation would do to jobs, a judge late last year put their regulation on hold until that was done and was not entertained by the EPA head Gina McCarthy flippant answer the EPA has never consider the effect on jobs by our regulations and to do that it would take at least two years on the case they were in litigation he told them the answer need to be done by July of this year and all in the last eight years need to be done by december and at this time all EPA new Regulation in the last year were on hold, funny you did not fine that in the Lamer Stearm Media.

      • Once EPA got the power to regulate, they could not stop, they had to keep the ratchet ever tightening to justify their existence.

  2. The EPA should limit itself to the environmental damage that a state does to its neighbours. Everything at a more local scale should be left to the states themselves.

    • Yup. Exactly.
      Every state has their own department to handle the outdoors and pollution, the EPA should only be concerned when things cross state lines. That includes California forcing higher regulations on other states to do business there.

    • Bloke,

      While I agree the EPA should concern itself with environmental damage that a state does to its neighbors, I think it can also beneficially act as an advisory/informational source to State and local officials as well as businesses. Basically operating in a less adversarial role, but having a “seat at the table” when invited, so as to make available the information and expertise within an agency that deals with/is aware of a wide range of problems and solutions across the country, as well as help with “harmonizing” regulations pertaining to various businesses that operate in multiple states.

  3. Mr Pruitt,

    I would like to see all the emails between the WH and the EPA for the past 8 years. I would also like to see all the emails between the various Attorneys General and EPA involved in the Exxon conspiracy.

    Would you please order them to be publicized?

    Jay Sekulow, would you be interested in seeing the subversion of the government to collude with state governments to attack individuals and companies? Who at the EPA was involved?

    • Well you could start by looking at Scott Pruitt’s emails…
      https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/02/22/scott-pruitt-emails-oklahoma-epa

      “The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has published thousands of emails obtained from the office of former Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, who was recently sworn in as the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Trump Administration. 

      Housed online in searchable form by CMD, the emails cover Pruitt’s time spent as the Sooner State’s lead legal advocate, and in particular show a “close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry,” CMD said in a press release. CMD was forced to go to court in Oklahoma to secure the release of the emails, which had sat in a queue for two years after the organization had filed an open records request.

      Among other things, the emails show extensive communication with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) giant Devon Energy, with Pruitt’s office not only involved in discussions with Devon about energy-related issues like proposed U.S. Bureau of Land Management fracking rules, but also more tangential matters like how a proposed airline merger might affect Devon’s international travel costs. They also show a close relationship with groups such as the Koch Industries-funded Americans for Prosperity and the Oklahoma Public Policy Council, the latter a member of the influential conservative State Policy Network (SPN).”

      This guy is bought and paid for by fossil fuel – and you put him in charge of the agency which limits damage from the fossil fuel industry?

      • Griff,
        If, as a State Attorney General, Pruitt is participating in a lawsuit against the EPA on behalf of oil companies, for insufficient due diligence on the EPA’s part, why wouldn’t he be talking to oil companies?

        Is it your belief that the only role of the government is to bring business to a halt through needless regulations? Are oil companies evil? Many in oil producing states would disagree. But then those states are full of Deplorables, right?

      • So now, on the basis of some email correspondence between a State Attorney General in his official capacity with some oil company executives, he is “bought and paid for by fossil fuel”.

        You really love slinging slanderous comments about and trashing the character and qualifications of perfectly respectable professionals don’t you, skanky?

        One of these days, you’ll do it once too often, and it’s going to get you into trouble. I hope your employers have some good legal representatives and don’t mind paying out to keep you out of the bankruptcy courts.

        Have you apologised to Dr Crockford for lying about her professional qualifications yet?

  4. The first thing he should do is transfer everyone in Washington to the Field offices, and everyone in the field offices to Washington. RWR.

    • Even better, Trump should send the various agencies out into the homeland. EPA to Missoula MT for example. No funds for the transfer should be provided to the employees. In combination with the 9 month long winter and the lack of urban services, this would have the great effect of causing most of them to quit. And their replacements would be hired from the people living in the west.

      Other suggestions: Interior to Idaho Falls, ID, Education to Rapid City, SD, Energy to Rawlins WY. And so on.

      • James, I agree. Introduce them to the real USA out here in flyover country.
        I originally thought Wichita, Kansas, but Missoula is better.

      • The population of many of those states is small enough that a few thousand far left activists could change the nature of the electorate.

      • I’ve often said that with the exception of fire and police, nobody who works for the government should be allowed to vote. Too much of a conflict of interest.

      • Missoula is poor choice…populated with enviro-wackos, NoGoes, and a liberal university. EPA cast-offs will find pleasant reception on the left side of the Continental Divide in Montana.

    • Except it was EPA Field operatives who caused the Gold King Mine disaster. I’m not sure those clowns would be any improvement over the circus in Washington.

      • I agree–one of those locations suggested by james is only a dozen miles from where I live!

        That’s way, way, way too close.

  5. The second thing he should do is identify the agency holdovers who refuse to follow his policies and if he can’t fire them he should take away their phones and their pens.

  6. We really dodged a bullet in November. The only thing protecting the global economy from the EPA was the courts overturning their overstepping draconian regulations, and that could have all changed if The greater of the two evils was elected.

    Now if we can turn the administration’s attention to fixing FWS and ESA, we can get back to some sanity.

  7. He has a blueprint provided by Myron Ebell. Its a long list. Redo endangerment finding. Redo SCC. Fix wotus and cpp. Re evaluate the linear no threshold dodgy science saying things can never be clean enough, which lay behind second hand smoke and pm2.5. Tear out all the NGO backchannels. Fire enough recalcitrants to reform the rest. Clean house in the field offices (Gold King incompetence). Redo all the websites to make them truthful (American Pika is NOT threatened with extinction by climate change per explicit NFWS ruling).
    To accomplish all that he needs to field a team of his own. This talk is only a small policy beginning.

    • It seems to me they need an Internal Affairs department to investigate past practices and cases of individual misconduct and make recommendations regarding best practise, restating past errors and charges or other disciplinary measures where indicated. The results of that would help awaken the public to the scam that has been going on under their noses and justify a substantial change of direction.
      This would be politically worthwhile as a cost saving, economy saving rejection of damaging Socialist untruths.

    • He should also look to see if some of the sue-and-settle deals were influenced by outside NGOs. If so, maybe they could be invalidated.

  8. I really do not understand this.
    Much ink has been spilled about Pruitt’s work as Oklahoma AG suing the EPA, indicating some sort of conflict. This issue was a key complaint in his Senate confirmation hearings. I do not see why people should be concerned about Pruitt having sued EPA. It seems to me that EPA thrives on lawsuits. Indeed, in EPA vs. Massachusetts, EPA worked with MA to get just the suit they wanted, so they could lose the suit in just the way they wanted. This, of course, led to the Endangerment Finding on carbon dioxide.
    Also, EPA funds NGOs like Greenpeace and others, which turn around and file suits against EPA. All of this is in furtherance of EPAs ongoing “Sue and Settle” strategy.

    From the evidence, it appears that lawsuits are at the core of what the EPA does, and they are very much welcomed by the agency.
    Yet when Pruitt joined in the fun with a suit of his own, it was somehow a horrible thing, and heads exploded when he was nominated for the position.

    I am so confused.

    • Tony,
      Leftist/Green policies do not make sense because they are either lies and misdirection, or not based on rational thinking.

    • You’re confused because you’ve been listening to the Marxist/Socialist Progressive Democrats, Tony.

      Quit listening to the Fake News and Very Fake News outlets and your problems will clear up faster than you ever imagined!

  9. out: crooked environuts
    in: crooked corporates

    But that’s just at the top, where no one does anything useful. In the bowels of the beast, anxious bands of eco-warriors gird themselves in judges and editors for righteous battle with their false liege. For Gaia and glory!

    • How’s this for crooked crony green capitalism?;

      http://blog.independent.org/2016/01/28/the-truth-about-tesla-motors/

      Tesla is worth about 40 billion, totaling catering to the “rich” who on average get a subside that is larger then the average US cars in current value to buy a car that is attached to “green” ideology but in fact saves no net energy. Likely more pollution when you consider the long-term chemical impacts of the battery disposal and refuse.

      The entire “big oil”, “big corp” against the little green working class hero is a media and social creation. Not fact driven.

      Long term control of the regulatory priorities are very important. The idea that has been achieved is inversely proportional to the basic levels of mythology the society adheres to. It’s foolish to think even closing the EPA and all the sister climate funding will end the Greenshirt authority movement. Hearts and minds have to be won and the markets have to reflect the correction required.

      How’s is going today using the Tesla example? Stock around 250, generally up since Trump elected, off high around 280. Obviously billions more of car incentives (your tax dollars or share of the national debt) expected, currently over $7500 per car those poor working class greens buying 80k plus cars. Helping to fight “carbon emissions” to help the seas recede and save the world from “big oil”. As P.T. Barnum said “there’s one born every minute” and if you think climate activism is driven, decisively, by government current policy direction alone count yourselves as members.

      I’m happy about Pruitt but the victory lap over climate scamming is way inappropriate to reality. It’s a detriment in fact.

  10. I was hoping for more of a “big bang” entrance from Pruitt.

    Did’t get it, so now I’m hoping this means there’s some hi-quality scheming going on, and there soon will be a “big bang”.

    • the Trump administration should be careful not to make too much big bangs. There could be some backfire.

      The immigration issue was not the elegant style and not the effective one. Possibly they start to learn…

    • I’m sympathetic CO2 but you can see from my posts what I think of the failure of technical first skepticism. It’s been a 30-50 year losing streak depending on what factors you want to measure. Not trying to pick on you but the general pattern of obtuseness around the election success, which has very little to do with spaghetti charts and science factoids should sink in all around.

      People should capture their inner Delingpole/Trump/Morano, these are the people who made progress and actually won a skeptical victory in November. We’re watching the same spinelessness with the RINOs who can’t repeal the ACA, same gutless pathology as tool skeptics looking for a moderate bargain when the other side has turned public education into Green indoctrination centers, have a global manifesto for world tyranny and would impose prison sentences on those who dissent. At what point do you think a science argument that is beyond 75% of the millennials critical thinking skills as just one pivotal group is going to remain a total bust?

      Many skeptics need to rethink their presentation and tactics. If you leave the motives of green movement out you’re lost the argument in practice.

    • Who? Anybody and everybody who knows that the PR firm for the Democrats is called Fake News, Inc.

      (What’s sad is about the only ones in denial are the Democrats–especially those that worship false environmentalism, climate change, gaia, COP xx, borderless nations, diversity, etc. etc.)

  11. Perhaps I am mistaken but I read somewhere that Scott Pruitt’s address to the assembled EPA staff “at agency headquarters ” was in the Rachel Carson room.
    Is that the ” Silent Spring” Rachel Carson ?
    Does the EPA have a ” Nuclear Winter” room elsewhere ?

  12. What I want from the agency:
    First and foremost: abandon enforcement based on the primary responsibility (thou shalt not pollute). While it is useful to have a general clause against doing things that rules haven’t been made for yet, this has been used to avoid creating rules, and even to enforce rules that explicitly apply only to one sector upon others.

  13. Mr. Trump’s plans for EPA have attracted particular attention, given his stated goal of making wholesale changes at the agency. Current and former officials of the agency had publicly urged the defeat of Mr. Pruitt, saying they were concerned about his close relations with the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma.

    Flexibility is asked from employees when management changes –

    EPA bound to Elon Musk and Al Gore has to learn some new.

    • I was watching a TV show about music from the 1980’s and the name Tipper Gore was mentioned when she advocated “advisory labels” on music, like warnings on movies and cigarettes etc. I just did a search and sure enough she was married to ManBearPig Gore himself. What is it with these types that like to interfere with other peoples choices?

      • Frank Zappa testifying before the PMRC Senate Committee:

        The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was an American committee formed in 1985 with the stated goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to be violent, have drug use or be sexual via labeling and censorship. The committee was founded by four women: Tipper Gore, wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore; Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker; Pam Howar, wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar; and Sally Nevius, wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius. They were known as the “Washington wives” — a reference to their husbands’ connections with government in the Washington, D.C. area.

  14. Trump is getting NASA to do space things and getting the EPA to concentrate on real pollution issues? Is he crazy?

  15. Al Gore is now a voice crying in the wilderness, where thankfully no one can hear him. Thank you God. Of course once they open up the federal forests again (the next federal agency that needs a muck-out session), we might want to escort him to one of those islands that might tip over because…climate.

  16. The problem with the EPA is, Bad Science. Mercury regs are bad science, no one is dying.. PM2.5 regs are hideously bad science, once again, no one is dying. All CO2 regs are simply bad science, trying to solve a problem that is NOT THERE!!!

    There are two things in the human air alveola/bronchial tubes/lungs. One is called MUCUS and the other are called CILIA. Non-smokers have lungs that transport particulate matter back out of the lungs.

    CO2 is necessary for life. So-called “logarithmic effect” is not usually described accurately in the media. CO2 radiation absorption from the surface actually saturates in less than three meters from the surface, and did at 280 ppm, and still does at 400 ppm.

    CO2 at the Top of Atmosphere prevents 15-micron IR from radiating to space, at some altitude. Guess what: NO ONE can calculate this altitude, and thus calculate the actual change in the temperature at which the Atmosphere radiates to space! Satellites also cannot measure any meaningful change in the radiation to space.

    All calculations of the change in flux are based on the “measured” change in the so-called Global Average Temperature. None of this is from FIRST PRINCIPLES I tried to explain this to Monckton, got nowhere.

    Kevin Trenberth has a degree from my school, U of Michigan. His diagram of atmospheric physics would have flunked him out from the engineering school, guarantee that. The so-called Downwelling Long-Wave violates the Second Law, no matter what anyone says. The Sky does not heat the Surface of the Earth. It is Colder! Colder things do not heat warmer things. I had to look this up, actually the radiation from colder things which falls on warmer things is immediately reflected. Radiation originates from charged particles in motion, and that is just what happens.

    Apparently no one in “Climate Science” took this course….

    • It’s going to be so refreshing to have an EPA Director willing to follow the law. Other than that this propaganda, yawn, outlet looks, yeeaaahhhwwnnnn, to be full of zzzzzzzz…

    • As a public employee, all of Scott Pruitt’s correspondence is in the public domain and is the property of the US taxpayer, as far as I’m aware. So, unlike Hillary Clinton, he has no problem releasing them for public scrutiny.

      Can you point to some of those emails that demonstrate malfeasance?

      No?

      I didn’t think so.

      Funny, you squealed like a stuck pig when Hitlery’s highly incriminating emails were leaked…

      What a sad little hypocrite you are!

  17. 15,000 employees? 15 THOUSAND?
    Higher math says that is 300 per state. Methinks some downsizing is in order…start with 50%

    • I’ve read that 9000 of them are unionized. This sounds like a long track.

      The broader point is that the Greens live for the game while ordinary citizens and average skeptics are just bothered by climate politics. Reading many claims of “victory” over climate extremism makes me that much more skeptical we are anywhere near the end. The Greenshirts are fanatical and the general skeptical community weak/divided and often incoherent on common policy objectives. Greens can gain politically even if they are currently losing short-term controls being one fear. Too few share the common vision of the evil they represent. Hence, climate agenda will certainly survive in incubation mode.

      Shutting Paris and the IPCC down should be in the public debate but generally this isn’t on the table. I don’t think Trump wants a quick unwind given that 2 million jobs are related to “green” energy and thereby “climate” in some form. Is Elon Musk really going to have his car subside pulled for example? it’s quite a large political economy already created. 200k + on garbage solar panels another example. I’m sure 15k oil and gas workers can match that net energy output but what are the political consequences?

      The country is pretty far gone, the greens will suffer a bit but find plenty of establishment supports to plan their next assent and you can bet it will be even more totalitarian in design.

      The skeptical base is very similar to the softball go along get along GOP factions. Think John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Look at the hairsplitting to appease climate policy. Do you see many leading skeptical voices formally calling for the end of the IPCC process??

      50% reductions at the EPA or the 10 other climate infested government departments are a likely prelude to disaster in the making. The climate belief system has to be purged and eradicated but I don’t see the political strength in many imagined skeptical harbors.

      Look I see the recent progress

      • Look I see the recent progress but the general dynamics against the global climate orthodox is what should be in discussion. Decades more of spaghetti chart debates? Uncertainty? It’s like the climate debate preservation society.

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