President Donald Trump doesn’t have to do much to drain the swamp. Just being there seems to be enough.
That and appointing people who share his worldview.
Like EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The Trump appointee took over amid concerns that as a climate “skeptic,” he would decimate the agency.
Well, he didn’t have to do too much, because since his appointment, more than 700 personnel have either retired, quit, or taken voluntary early retirements. Many, the leftist ThinkProgress reports, are quitting in “disgust.”
“There has been a drop of employees of 770 between April and December. While several hundred of those are buyouts, the rest of those are either people that are retiring or quitting in disgust,” Kyla Bennett, director of New England Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), told ThinkProgress. “Is that number higher than it would normally be? I think it is.”
Leftists said that Pruitt’s nomination was like putting a pyromaniac in charge of fire protection. They attacked his connections to the fossil-fuel industry.
“Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the US Environmental Protection Agency is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said of the nomination.
It got so ridiculously silly that famous actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio brought his concerns directly to President-Elect Trump at his New York City offices, where he and activist Terry Tamminen reportedly prepared a presentation explaining how preserving the environment has a positive effect on the economy.
The offices most impacted by buyouts, retirements, or employees choosing to leave the agency are the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, which has lost 59 employees since April, the Office of Research and Development, which has lost 84 employees since April, and the Office of Enforcement and Compliance, which has lost 56 employees since April.
“Overall, large numbers of people leaving the EPA in this day and age is terrible,” Judith Enck, who served as Regional Director for EPA Region 2 during the Obama administration, told ThinkProgress. “Rolling back enforcement is very troubling — it essentially means that people are going to breathe dirtier air and drink dirtier water.”
Losing all those people is hampering the agency’s enforcement efforts (and is that really a bad thing?). According to at least one report, enforcement under the Trump administration has declined sharply at the EPA, with the agency filing just one third of the number of civil cases against polluters than were filed in the first nine months of the Obama administration. Moreover, the penalties sought in those cases are 39 percent lower than those sought under the Obama administration.
Pruitt is being given credit for influencing Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate agreement. He also has targeted the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule, as well as the Clean Water Rule.
Rolling Stone magazine has charged Pruitt with “quietly tearing down decades of environmental progress.”
And any criticism from Rolling Stone should be a source of pride.
What do you think? Sound off below!