WHO DOESN’T like to fling a good word? These ones have been trending on Merriam-Webster’s site, as curious people, seeing unfamiliar terms describing incredible scenarios, scramble to digest the latest scoop:
Sure, those words conjure up the most prominent players amongst our all-star cast of worst Americans in this kakistocracy. Yet, they don’t suffice to describe Scott Pruitt, the particular individual occasioning the venting of this here spleen.
Pruitt earned the moniker “Polluting Pruitt,” by filing fourteen lawsuits to block EPA safeguards for clean air and water before being appointed as Chief Dismantler of the agency.
Immense opposition to Pruitt’s appointment included a letter to the Senate signed by 447 former EPA officials, worth reading in its entirety. They protest, “Mr. Pruitt’s records and public statements strongly suggest that he does not share the vision or agree with the underlying principles of our environmental law,” i.e., to protect public health and the environment. They sound an alarm: “Mr. Pruitt has gone to disturbing lengths to advance the views and interest of business,” and voice greatest concern over his “reluctance to accept and act on the strong scientific consensus on climate change.” But like so many of Trump’s appointments, Pruitt’s was rammed through and since then he has relentlessly been reshaping the EPA as “Every Polluter’s Ally.”
This venal American was brought to you by Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries and the like to clear away barriers to environmental destruction. He loves this mission as much as baseball and peanut butter milkshakes.
He has plowed ahead at break-neck speed, appointing cronies with massive conflicts of interest, all determined to achieve maximum damage as fast as possible. The NY Times reported, “In the four months since he took office as the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt has moved to undo, delay or otherwise block more than 30 environmental rules, a regulatory rollback larger in scope than any other over so short a time in the agency’s 47-year history…”
He’s been busy getting greased at the Trump International Bordello, dining with oil & gas CEOs from the American Petroleum Institute’s Board of Directors. He conferred with the chief executive of Dow Chemical, right before reversing the EPA’s ban on Dow’s pesticide chlorpyrifos, which EPA scientists had concluded causes damage to children’s nervous systems. Yep, that was Pruitt up there on the podium, eyes sparkling with delight, standing next to the methane-producing orange turd himself during the Rose Garden announcement to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
He has ignored the expertise of career professionals at the EPA, and further hobbled the agency by recently dismissing 57 of 68 of the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors, which then canceled all meetings for the foreseeable future.
Pruitt is bent on killing the Clean Power Plan that sought to reduce greenhouse emissions in the U.S. and intends to void Obama’s WOTUS (Waters of the United States), a rule intended to protect water supplies for some 117 million Americans and countless wildlife by limiting the release of chemicals and pollutants into our waterways. We have all just been Flinted.
To benefit his benefactors, Pruitt proposed delaying implementation of a national smog standard that would restrict air pollution from oil & gas. Fortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit blocked Pruitt’s effort in early July, so the protective limits will be put into effect. This powerfully underscores the importance of our independent judiciary as a most crucial safeguard, and we know that it too, like the media/free press, is targeted by this administration.
Data will be collected on how bad things get, but don’t expect any credence to be given to provable facts in this alternative facts universe. Hell. Pruitt doesn’t even need to deny the facts. He has acknowledged the ill-effects his actions would have on children, but expresses concern only about the oil and gas industry’s profits.
And don’t think Pruitt’s odious activities are restricted to one area. His LinkedIn page brags that he filed the “first lawsuit challenging the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” and was “leading a multistate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank financial law.” He is a staunch opponent to same-sex marriage and immigration. Pruitt was “grateful” for the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling that, on the basis of religious beliefs, privately held companies could withhold birth control coverage from employees. (BTW, holy Hobby Lobby just got schooled about stealing.)
Putrid Scott Pruitt is perhaps not as much an outright liar as others in this administration, but more of an information withholder, a practiced manipulator, a cherry-picker, a misrepresenter, and a question-deflector on par with Kellyanne. Whereas our distractible demagogue is crass and infantile, Pruitt is focused, skillful, and dangerously competent. He is connected and young enough to have a lengthy political career ahead of him, leaving our environment decimated in his wake. The young and less-monied classes will bear the brunt of it.
Pruitt is from the same mold as that other worst American, Mitch McConnell. He earns his spot in the ranks of the worst because his callous, calculated actions will bear out a destructive impact unrestricted by borders or the term of his appointment. We’ve been warned that the climate crisis will be unstoppable if not addressed proactively within three years, and that’s being optimistic. If Pruitt continues steamrolling onward, legions will fall ill and die prematurely due to air, water and toxic pollution, the EPA may itself be a casualty, and what of the future of our planet?
Let’s remain aware, communicate, and act. Here are some suggestions:
- Follow/support NRDC, EDF, LCV
- Contact your elected officials to tell them climate, environment and related public health safeguards are major voter concerns.
- In NY, support environmental efforts of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and push for the State Senate to pass the Climate & Community Protection Act
- Stop using plastic straws, bags, etc. Recycling is good. Better to wean yourself off things that harm the environment.