Empty desks are piling up at the EPA, but not just because of threatened budget cuts.
This exodus is being driven by the moral conscious of career EPA professionals who truly care about keeping America clean and safe. A growing number feel they can’t fulfill those duties under Trump appointee Scott Pruitt, who has handed over environmental rule-making powers to the companies that cause the most toxic pollution. The stakes couldn’t be higher because Pruitt’s rollbacks put the country’s drinking water supply, air quality standards, and public health and safety behind the greed of Big Polluters.
In a public farewell message, resigning EPA Office of Water official, Elizabeth Southerland, a 30-year veteran wrote:
Today the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth. The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities.
She is not the only one either. Mike Cox quit after 25 years in April of 2017. He was a climate change adviser for EPA’s Region 10. His parting message to Scott Pruitt was very strongly worded as well:
“I, along with many EPA staff, are becoming increasing alarmed about the direction of EPA under your leadership … ” Cox said in a letter to Pruitt. “The policies this Administration is advancing are contrary to what the majority of the American people, who pay our salaries, want EPA to accomplish, which are to ensure the air their children breath is safe; the land they live, play, and hunt on to be free of toxic chemicals; and the water they drink, the lakes they swim in, and the rivers they fish in to be clean.”
However, there’s more to Ms. Southerland’s and Mr. Cox’s moral objection to changes at the EPA.
According to The Intercept, EPA chief Scott Pruitt rigged the interpretation of public comments on Trump’s executive order to give dirty industries more power to pollute:
The overwhelming majority of the more than 467,000 public responses to the EPA about the executive order, urged the agency not to roll back environmental regulations.
But Southerland said that a working group headed by EPA Associate Administrator Samantha Dravis and the agency’s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson — both of whom were appointed by Scott Pruitt — cherry-picked industry comments calling for rollback and submitted them to scientists and other career employees at the agency.
“They pulled out the ones from the industry — the coal, electric power, oil and natural gas areas, just them — and sent them around and asked us to respond within one day about whether we agreed with the request for a repeal,” said Southerland.
Environmental regulations don’t get a lot of prime time on cable TV news shows, except when their absence takes innocent lives, destroys entire industries, and poisons wildlife habit for generations. Just ask anyone who remembers the Deepwater Horizon explosion off the coast of Louisiana, on April 20, 2010, and how oil giant BP scrambled to coverup just how bad the oil spill really was.
In the Trump era, we are likely to see more BP oil spills, explosions at chemical factories, and coal mining disasters. America’s waterways may once again become so polluted, they burst into flames. Unless of course, people rise up and let @ScottPruittOK and @realDonaldTrump know that their perverted attempts at making America ‘great’ doesn’t mean it’s okay to turn the entire country into a filthy, polluted swamp.
To call your Member of Congress:
US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121
White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
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