Republicans have so corrupted epa, americans can only save it in the voting booth dana nuccitelli environment the guardian electricity voltage used in usa


Like Donald Trump and the rest of his administration, Scott Pruitt has been caught up in so many scandals that it becomes impossible to focus on any single act of corruption. It’s difficult to focus on the damage Pruitt is doing to the environment and public health when seemingly every day there’s a new scandal related to his illegal $43,000 phone booth, or use of Safe Water Drinking Act funds to give two staffers a total of $85,000 in raises ( and lying about it), or his sweetheart deal on a condo rental from a lobbyist’s wife (and lying about having met with that lobbyist), or wasting taxpayer funds on first class air travel and military jets, and a nearly $3m per year security detail, and bulletproof car seat covers, and a bulletproof desk, and so on. Lisa Friedman (@LFFriedman)

But while Pruitt’s unprecedented corruption is staggering and would have resulted in his firing long ago in any other presidential administration, the damage Pruitt is doing to public and environmental health is a far greater scandal yet. As George W. Bush’s former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman wrote in the scathing explanation for why TIME included Pruitt as one of its 100 most influential people this year,

If his actions continue in the same direction, during Pruitt’s term at the EPA the environment will be threatened instead of protected, and human health endangered instead of preserved, all with no long-term benefit to the economy. Scott Pruitt is terrible at his job

Lately it’s been difficult to remember that EPA’s mission is supposed to be “to protect human health and the environment.” As Christine Todd Whitman alluded, Scott Pruitt has done everything in his power to instead endanger public and environmental health. He’s loosened a litany of regulations to allow more air and water and carbon pollution.

Last week, Pruitt implemented a new policy that makes it much more difficult for EPA to use science to create regulations that would protect public health. It’s a policy straight out of the tobacco playbook. In fact, junk science blogger Steve Milloy, who first advocated for this policy change while working for the tobacco industry before shifting to the fossil fuel industry’s payroll, called Pruitt’s announcement “ one of my proudest achievements.” As Milloy told the New Yorker,

Wealth over health – it’s a perfect summary of today’s GOP platform. Quite simply, considering scientific evidence in crafting regulations does not favor the tobacco or fossil fuel industries, and so they have long sought to curtail its use. In Pruitt, polluters have finally found an ally who’s willing to stifle science in order to maximize their profits.

And the day after he testified that EPA was “not at present” planning to revoke California’s ability to set its own vehicle emissions standards, EPA announced a plan to do exactly that. That will trigger a legal battle between EPA and California that won’t make automakers happy, but doubtless will please the fossil fuel industry. Fortunately, legal experts think Pruitt’s plan is “ legally indefensible.” That would be par for the course for Pruitt, who’s been so eager to roll back environmental protections that his plans often don’t hold up in court.

Few Republicans in power have called for Pruitt to resign. That’s because, as Oliver Milman wrote for the Guardian, despite Pruitt’s unprecedented level of corruption, they support his “deregulation agenda.” At last week’s congressional hearing, Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) summed up the GOP stance perfectly:

That’s a clear admission that under Pruitt, the EPA now values polluters’ profits over American lives, and congressional Republicans approve. They’re willing to prop up the fossil fuel industry by sacrificing public and environmental health for the sake of polluters’ short-term profits.

Trump reportedly refuses to fire Pruitt because the right-wing base supports him, although nobody else does – Pruitt’s dismal 29% approval rating is even lower than Trump’s. However, were Pruitt fired, he would be replaced by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, who every Senate Republican voted to confirm as his deputy earlier this month. Before becoming a coal lobbyist, Wheeler worked for the Senate’s leading climate denier James Inhofe (R-OK) for 14 years. He’s from the same mould as Scott Pruitt, whose main qualification for leading the EPA was his history of suing the agency 14 times, and for whom every Senate Republican save Susan Collins (R-ME) voted to confirm. Want to be healthy? Don’t vote Republican

In short, while firing Pruitt would address one of the Trump administration’s many ethical disasters, it would not address the more important scandal of putting an individual who opposes environmental protection in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency. As Robert Redford put it,