The Government You Paid For

Number 38 of a Series

President Trump’s EPA director Scott Pruitt is gone, not fired, but by his own hand. Which says something. The president did not fire Director Pruitt over his massive abuse of his government office, given that he had ample cause to do so. Mr. Pruitt, almost from the time he lowered his hand after being sworn in, commenced to use that hand to dip into the government till. From what we see, when the hand wasn’t so engaged, his voice and the power of his office were invoked to misdirect his government staff, people paid by the American public.

Scott Pruitt was not fired for having EPA staff misreport his official calendar, which often included meetings with industry lobbyists seeking favors from the government. Neither did the president fire his EPA director for using the power of that office against the interests of the American public. And there is a reason for that. The reason President Trump nominated Scott Pruitt to the post was for the very purpose of working against the interest of the public and for the interest of those who helped promote Donald Trump to the presidency. Some excerpts, courtesy of The New York Times:

1. Canceled a requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions.E.P.A. | Read more

2. Loosened a Clinton-era rule designed to limit toxic emissions from major industrial polluters.E.P.A. | Read more

9. Drafted changes to fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks made between 2020 and 2025 that would have reduced tailpipe emissions.E.P.A. and Transportation Department | Read more

13. Changed rules for oil and gas facilities to allow methane leaks to go unrepaired during unscheduled or emergency shutdowns, and proposed withdrawing guidlines that reduce emissions from existing sources.E.P.A. | Read more

15. Proposed repealing emissions standards for trailers and “glider kits” in response to petitions from the glider industry. (Gliders are trucks retrofitted with older, often dirtier engines.)E.P.A. | Read more

18. Proposed amendments to rules, developed after a 2014 consent decree, governing how refineries monitor pollution in surrounding communities.E.P.A. | Read more

19. Lifted a freeze on new coal leases on public lands.Executive Order; Interior Department | Read more

21. Made significant cuts to the borders of two national monuments in Utah and recommended border and resource management changes to several more.Presidential Proclamation; Interior Department | Read more

23. Rescinded water pollution regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands.Interior Department | Read more

24. Repealed an Obama-era rule governing royalties for oil, gas and coal leases on federal lands, which replaced a 1980s rule that critics said allowed companies to underpay the federal government.Interior Department | Read more

30. Opened up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In April 2018, the Interior Department announced it was taking steps to prepare for a lease sale in the refuge.Congress; Interior Department | Read more

33. Recommended shrinking or opening to commercial fishing three marine protected areas.Executive Order; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Read more

36. Revoked Obama-era flood standards for federal infrastructure projects, like roads and bridges. The standards required building on higher elevation in order to reduce risk of damage from sea-level rise and other climate change effects.Executive Order | Read more

43. Restricted Interior Department environmental studies to one year in length and a maximum of 150 pages, citing the need to reduce paperwork.Interior Department | Read more

45. Eliminated the use of an Obama-era planning system designed to minimize harm of oil and gas activity on sensitive landscapes, such as national parks.Interior Department | Read more

49. Overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges.Congress | Read more

51. Removed a number of species from the endangered list (including the Yellowstone grizzly bear, which the Obama and George W. Bush administrations had also proposed removing).Interior Department | Read more

56. Released a plan that weakens greater sage grouse habitat protections by allowing oil and gas drilling on lands previously set aside for the bird’s protection.Interior Department | Read more

58. Narrowed the scope of a 2016 law mandating safety assessments for potentially toxic chemicals, like dry-cleaning solvents and paint strippers. The E.P.A. will focus on direct exposure and exclude air, water and ground contamination.E.P.A. | Read more

60. Reversed an Obama-era rule that required braking system upgrades for “high hazard” trains hauling flammable liquids, like oil and ethanol.Transportation Department | Read more

64. Revoked a rule that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into local streams.Congress | Read more

66. Revoked federal rules regulating coal ash waste from power plants and granted oversight to the states. Mr. Pruitt’s home state, Oklahoma, was the first to be granted this power and has applied the regulations only loosely.E.P.A. | Read more

68. Delayed by two years an E.P.A. rule regulating limits on toxic discharge, which can include mercury, from power plants into public waterways.E.P.A. | Read more

69. Proposed new rule rolling back groundwater protections for certain uranium mines.E.P.A. | Read more

In all The New York Times listed 69 significant changes to environmental regulations proposed or implemented by Director Pruitt. These regulations were put in place to protect the American public and to protect commonly-held property. Reversal of these regulations has the effect of diminishing the safety of the population or else serves to benefit profitability of industrial concerns, said businesses being major contributors to the Trump campaign or the Republican Party.

I have talked to people who would defend the actions of former Director Pruitt and the current president on the basis that what is good for business is good for the people.

To be sure, businesses need to operate, and they need to make a profit. Ensuring protection of our environment and protection of the public health will put some kinds of operations out of business, at the least these businesses will become unable to compete. In no instances, however, did the listed regulations endanger the national economy or put the security of the nation at risk. Details on request.

For many of those who voted for candidate Trump, they are getting the government they paid for. For those who opposed the candidate before and do to this day, they are getting the same government. It may not be the government they want, but by the mechanism we select our leaders, it is the government they paid for.

3 thoughts on “The Government You Paid For

  1. Pingback: The Government You Paid For | Skeptical Analysis

  2. Pingback: The Government You Paid For | Skeptical Analysis

  3. Pingback: The Years of Living Stupidly | Skeptical Analysis

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