We’re Watching the EPA get Neutered

Jerry Waters, Contributor

Proving that it’s much easier to destroy than to create, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has directed the agency in charge of protecting our environment to eliminate Obama-era gas mileage and emissions regulations for automakers. Maybe, next week corporations can just dump poisons in our drinking water and… oh, wait, he already did that.

Okay, so the new pro-pollution policies come after Pruitt has gutted clean water regulations and allowed corporate farms to spray produce with all sorts of horrifying insecticides and herbicides. Pruitt, like other Trump cabinet members, is on a mission to neuter to the agency he’s been tapped to lead. So, why should anyone be bothered that he’s been crashing at a condo paid for by natural gas lobbyist? What the frack, guys?

Ah, Pruitt, the asshat, who as Attorney General for Oklahoma, took money from the fossil fuel industry and sued the EPA fourteen times. Pruitt, the scholarly genius, who publicly declares that mankind’s pollution has absolutely nothing to do with global climate change. Just chew it all over with a second helping of chlorpyrifos, Pruitt’s favorite insecticide- you know, the one that’s only responsible for about 10,000 deaths a year.

Trump knew that Pruitt despised the EPA and that’s why he put him in charge of it. In fact, Trump made most of his cabinet choices ensuring they were in direct conflict with the agencies’ missions, in order to ensure that corporations could get away with figurative and literal murder.

The downright dangerous and unethical actions of Pruitt are merely symptomatic of a greater problem in the American psyche. It’s the idea that common sense regulations designed to keep businesses from ruining our environment or engaging in practices that are exploitative are somehow too onerous a burden. Conservatives continue to peddle the myth that businesses cannot be good stewards of the environment and make a profit simultaneously.

Trust me, the polluters are making obscene profits. They can afford to do the right thing, but their unquenchable greed is celebrated by many, rather than being recognized as a diagnosable obsession or a malignant evil. These observations are not an indictment of wealth or success. Instead, it’s a recognition of a corporate world that increasingly only gives lip service to ethics and puts short-term profit and shareholders ahead of everything else.

As Pruitt guts environmental regulations, we are left to hope that companies will make choices that protect us. Instead of dumping raw pollutants wherever they see fit, they’ll invest in technologies to limit their toxic waste or dispose of it in a way that doesn’t harm people or the planet. Yes, hope for that because their track records show that they’ll do just that, right? Hmmm, isn’t that why we needed the EPA and regulations in the first place?

Pruitt is also allowing our public lands to be sold or to be exploited for their natural resources. He could care less about ecosystems or habitats. His focus is pleasing the lobbying groups that fill his campaign coffers and give him under-the-table sweetheart deals. That’s why he constructed a $43,000 sound-proof and hacker-proof bunker in his EPA office- because doing the people’s business of protecting the environment, requires the utmost secrecy? Apparently, it also requires a full-time security detail and first-class flights. As head of the EPA, he sure wouldn’t want to be confused with a tree-hugger!

An oil spill happens in hours and the clean-up takes years. Air pollution doesn’t just magically disappear, nor do toxins in our drinking water. You’d think we would have learned from Superfund sites or rivers that used to catch fire. It’s going to be easy for Pruitt to destroy the decades of hard work and research that led to the EPA formulating regulations that have kept America’s polluters at bay.

Pro-business conservatives will idolize Pruitt, but the next generations, regardless of their political leanings, will suffer his polluted, soot-filled legacy as he neuters the EPA into impotence and tragic irrelevancy.

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