Tag Archives: Scott Pruitt

‘Haven’t paid … close attention’? Really, Mr. Speaker?

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan needs to be called out for telling a lie. So, I think I’ll do that.

He said this today in response to a question about whether he had faith in Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt:

“Frankly I haven’t paid that close attention to it … I don’t know enough about what Pruitt has or has not done to give you a good comment.”

Really and truly, Mr. Speaker? He is saying that all this tumult over EPA Administrator Pruitt’s mounting ethical troubles have gone unnoticed by the nation’s third-in-line for the presidency. He hasn’t paid “close attention to it,” he said.

Good grief, Mr. Speaker. Do you expect anyone to believe this?

I am quite certain he knows quite enough to make a comment on Pruitt’s troubles. He just doesn’t want to say anything about it.

Let me refresh his memory: Pruitt secured a dirt-cheap rental agreement for himself and his wife from a lobbyist who represents a company that is subject to EPA rules and regulations; Pruitt has been spending extravagantly for such things as a “secure telephone booth” in his office; his travel tabs have been exorbitant as well.

These are ethical matters that keep on piling up.

It’s been in all the papers. Cable news networks have been reporting on these matters.

The speaker of the House hasn’t heard enough about it to make a comment, to answer a reporter’s simple and direct question?

I don’t believe the speaker is telling the truth.

Let’s not get physical with the media

Here’s yet another twist in the Trump administration’s ongoing conflict with the media. This one is a beaut.

Environmental Protection Agency officials forcibly escorted reporters from CNN and The Associated Press from a meeting room, barring them from covering a public event to discuss harmful chemicals in water.

EPA officials said there was a shortage of seats in the room. Reports indicate there were empty seats when EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke to the group gathered.

What’s going on here? Please tell me the Trump administration isn’t going to start kicking reporters out of these events because of some perceive “negative coverage” he might get.

According to CNN.com: Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, addressed the matter at the daily briefing. Sanders said the White House would “certainly” look into the matter, but said for now she would refer reporters to the EPA’s statement, explaining that she could not “speak to a situation that I don’t have a lot of visibility into.” 

Yes, Ms. Sanders, the White House needs to “look into the matter.” It also needs to allow the media unfettered access to events of public concern for all Americans.

There’s that thing called the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, too, that guarantees “freedom of the press.” Let ’em report … freely!

Earth to POTUS: No ‘siege’ at EPA

Someone needs to explain to the president of the United States — in language a second-grader might understand — what a conflict of interest looks like.

It usually involves taking advantage of someone with a vested stake in a public policy, such as, oh, living for virtually free in a condo provided by a lobbyist whose interests might benefit from certain policies.

Such is the case with Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt, who rents a condo for $50 per night from an oil company lobbyist. The lobbyist is trying to curry favor with EPA on policies that would benefit the oil company.

Does one think that’s a conflict of interest? Yes! But if the answer is “no,” they need to look up the definition of the term.

Donald Trump says Pruitt is “totally under siege” by what he calls the “fake news media.”

Mr. President … ready my lips. No one is denying that the Pruitts are renting this condo from the lobbyist. The EPA director has offered some lame excuse that he pays that dirt-cheap rate only when he is staying there. How in the name of government ethics does that make it all right?

Pruitt was a bad choice to lead the EPA from the beginning, given his penchant for rolling back rules designed to, um, protect the environment. That he’s been revealed as someone who likes living high off the generosity of a lobbyist only makes matters worse.

So, Mr. President, stop with the “fake news” canard. It ain’t fake, sir. It’s true.

Fox News seeks to become ‘fake news’ network?

I have to give credit to a Fox News reporter, Ed Henry, for seeking some answers from Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt.

Hey, if the network allows more of this line of questioning, it will become part of the so-called “fake news” cabal that Donald Trump keeps excoriating.

Henry interviewed Pruitt about the ethics controversy that is boiling at Pruitt’s feet. He and his wife rented a pricey condo from an oil industry lobbyist for $50 a night. Henry asked Pruitt if that is the way to “drain the swamp” that the president keeps insisting is part of his Washington, D.C., agenda.

Pruitt said the question “isn’t remotely fair.” Actually, it was totally fair. I give Henry great credit for standing up to this guy.

Pruitt is unfit for the job anyway. That he would be taking what amounts to a gift from a lobbyist who is trying to influence EPA policy smacks of maximum conflict of interest.

I know it. Ed Henry knows it. It well might be that the president knows it. However, Pruitt pushes back by saying a tough question isn’t “remotely fair.”

Pruitt doesn’t get it. I doubt he will. He needs to go.

As for Fox News and one of its top-gun reporters, well done.

Hit the road, Mr. EPA Director

I’ll now join the chorus of those who want to see EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt tossed out of office. He should be shown the door and told to avoid letting it hit him in the backside as he hits the road.

The man was a terrible selection to lead an agency whose mission is to “protect” the environment. The former Oklahoma attorney general made a lot of noise suing the Obama administration, seeking to overturn regulations designed to do the very thing that the EPA is charged to do. The Environmental Protection Agency is now better named the “Environmental Destruction Agency.”

Now he’s in some serious trouble ethically. He and his wife rented a condo from an oil company lobbyist. They got into the place dirt cheap. Meanwhile, the lobbyist was trying to persuade the EPA to roll back regs the oil company the lobbyist was representing wanted rolled back.

Gosh! Do you think there might be a conflict of interest here? I do. So might the president of the United States. At least two Republican members of Congress have called on Pruitt to quit.

Here’s my favorite: Donald Trump has issued a tepid endorsement of Pruitt. And you know how those endorsements usually end up. Trump endorsed former White House strategist Stephen Bannon: gone. He did the same thing for former national security adviser H.R. McMaster: gone.

Trump’s statements of support are worth, oh, just about nothing. Which makes them worth just as much as damn near anything the president says in public, out loud, on the record.

Pruitt is a lousy choice to lead the EPA, even without this latest matter involving a serious breach of ethics.

Get him out of there, Mr. President.

EPA boss joins the ethical fray

Oh, my. The Donald J. Trump administration simply is the gift that keeps on giving.

The treasury secretary and his wife get dinged because of their spendy lifestyle; the president himself is under scrutiny over allegations that he might be violating the “emoluments clause” of the U.S. Constitution, the one that says he cannot profit personally while in office; the health secretary quits because of spendthrift habits.

Now the director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, is being examined because he rents an apartment from the energy lobbyist.

Sheesh, man!

It’s bad enough that Pruitt has turned environmental protection into a sort of code for environmental destruction because of his penchant for rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations. Now there are accusations that he’s a sort of grifter, living off the good graces of people and interests with a direct tie to the policies the EPA is supposed to implement.

I’ve long thought that Pruitt was a bad fit an agency charged with protecting the environment. As Oklahoma attorney general, he made it his mission to sue the federal government constantly over rules and regulations intended to preserve and protect the only planet on which we live.

Then this guy disputes openly whether climate change is even occurring, let alone arguing that it isn’t likely caused by human beings, which of course runs counter to scientific analysis handed down over many years of study and research.

On top of all that … there are concerns about the EPA boss’s spending habits. He employs a huge security detail. CNN.com is reporting that “sources” suggest the rash of negative publicity is undermining him terribly and that his “goose is cooked.”

Hmm. We’ll  see about that.

I do not expect, in the event Pruitt joins the long list of Trump officials to hit the road, that Donald Trump is going to find a competent replacement. It’s just the new normal the president has established.

Ugghh!

This just in: Global warming is bad!

Someone ought to remind Scott Pruitt what the initials “EPA” mean.

They stand for “Environmental Protection Agency.” The man who runs the EPA is charged with protecting the environment, with searching for ways to maintain the integrity of the surroundings where we live.

But Pruitt has now declared that global warming — aka “climate change” — isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I believe the former Oklahoma attorney general is mistaken. Yes, it is a bad thing. It’s a very bad thing, dude.

As near as I can tell, global warming produces a number of potential catastrophes. The ice caps on both poles melt, resulting in an inexorable rise in sea levels; the North Pole ice cap is a prime hunting ground for polar bears and if they can’t hunt seals and walruses, they can’t eat and they die of starvation; the rising sea levels endanger our coastal marshes and, oh yeah, they also threaten the many urban areas that have sprung up on coasts all around the world.

The EPA director seems all too willing to dismiss the potential dangers posed by this phenomenon.

I won’t argue the point about the cause of global warming. Whether it’s manmade — which I believe it is — or whether it’s part of Earth’s epochal cycle, it’s a bad thing.

Why can’t the man in charge of the federal agency that is supposed to protect our environment concentrate his energy and attention on his fundamental duty?

Protect the planet, Mr. EPA Director!

Let’s call it ‘Environmental Destruction Agency’

Scott Pruitt long has been known as a friend of the oil industry. He denies the existence of climate change. Pruitt is no friend of the environment.

So, what does Donald John Trump do? He puts this guy, the former Oklahoma attorney general, in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Now the EPA boss is showing his chops, as if there was any doubt. He is revoking protection of an Alaska salmon fishery, one of the most valuable in the world. He has met with a mining company executive who wants to start mining within the bounds of that fishery.

I hereby propose we rename the EPA. Let’s call it the Environmental Destruction Agency. Shall we?

The Bristol Bay Watershed was placed under federal protection by the Obama administration, which concluded that any mining or other industrial activity would destroy the fish habitat that is so valuable to fishing interests, sportsmen and women and consumers who enjoy the taste of salmon.

Barack Obama leaves office. Donald Trump takes over. Then the new president installs this guy Pruitt, who has met with Tom Collier, CEO of Pebble Limited Partnership, a mining outfit that wants to work within the watershed.

Pruitt continues to play footsie with interests that have little interest in environmental protection.

I’m quite sure Collier never would admit to wanting to destroy the fishery or the watershed. The Obama administration took three years of review to decide to set the watershed aside. It determined that any mining within the watershed would destroy permanently a resource upon which so many people rely.

Pruitt, though, appears to have decided that protecting the watershed isn’t in the national interest.

How about changing the name of the EPA to the Environmental Destruction Agency?

Sad.

Why deny the obvious about the climate?

Donald J. Trump must know more about climate change than the scientists do … kind of like he knows “more about ISIS than the generals.”

A report from The Hill newspaper reports that the president has surrounded himself with those who deny the existence of climate change, those who disbelieve the overwhelming scientific consensus that Earth’s climate is changing and that the planet’s temperatures are rising.

Scott Pruitt, for example, runs the Environmental Protection Agency after serving as Oklahoma attorney general and suing the daylights out of EPA over rules and regulations designed to, um, protect the environment.

I’m baffled by the idea that the president can deny what appears to be obvious. Polar ice is melting; the annual mean temperature is rising around the world; sea levels are threatening to rise to dangerous levels.

The only debate appears to be its cause. Manmade or natural terrestrial evolution. I happen to believe human activity at a minimum has exacerbated the problem. But that’s just me.

Suppose, though, it is a function of Earth’s natural cycle. What are we human beings supposed to do? Do we just do nothing? Do we not seek to abate some of the impact? Do we simply keep pouring carbon dioxide into the sky, cut gigantic swaths of forestland?

Human non-intervention, in my mind, is intolerable.

If the planet’s evolutionary cycle is going to do what it does, why must be sit idly by and do nothing?

Pruitt wants to have a public national public debate on climate change. I’m actually OK with that. What I’m not OK with is dawdling over whether human beings should take action to stop what’s happening to the only planet we can call home.

EPA boss leaves big footprint at his agency

Scott Pruitt has wasted little time in making his imprint on the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA director has ordered the removal of the “climate change” link on the agency’s website. That’s right. There’s no mention now of the planet’s changing climate, apparently because Pruitt doesn’t believe it’s occurring, or that it’s somehow part of nature’s cycle that cannot be manipulated by human activity.

This is a clear and present danger to our world.

EPA no longer in the “protection” business?

The EPA was created during the Nixon administration in 1970 to do as its title says clearly: to “protect the environment.” Pruitt, though, is a former Oklahoma state attorney general who made quite a bit of noise suing the EPA multiple times for the rules and regulations it imposes on businesses in its effort to do as its title says.

Pruitt acts as if he is no friend of the environment, although he surely declares that he is.

Why remove the link on the EPA website?

“We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law,” J.P. Freire, the EPA’s associate administrator for public affairs, said in a statement.

The timing of its removal also is a bit ironic. It came just before this weekend’s series of marches regarding the climate.

I know it’s weird to be talking about climate change/global warming on a day when snow is falling in late April on the High Plains of Texas. This kind of weather anomaly gives grist to climate change deniers who no doubt are relishing the very notion of snowfall so late into spring.

Yes, Mr. Administrator, the climate is changing

Of course, the deniers ignore the findings and the theories of a vast majority of scientists and other environmental experts who contend that human activity has contributed greatly to the warming of the planet. Deforestation and carbon emissions created by burning of fossil fuels has been labeled as the cause.

Polar ice caps are shrinking, sea levels are rising, worldwide average temperatures are increasing. Is the planet in peril?

We can discuss the cause of the changing climate. I’m open to that. What I find discouraging — and shameful — is the elimination of source material from the EPA’s website that allows that discussion to occur.