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Hullabaloo


Thursday, February 23, 2017

 
Get ready for a two-thirds cut to EPA personnel

by Gaius Publius


Shiva the Destroyer as the cosmic dancer at CERN. Credit: Kenneth Lu (source; click to enlarge)


We've already seen several indications that EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, will be stripped of its mission — protecting the environment, including the climatic environment — and turned into a profit protection agency instead. At best, as I noted here, EPA would be reduced to a kind of janitor for the fossil fuel giants, "sweeping up after the energy industry's mess-making" as the toxic wastes, perhaps exponentially, increase.

We certainly know that Trump's new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has sued the agency many times to prevent it from doing its legally mandated job. For example, from as late as 2015, via TulsaWorld (my emphasis):
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt sues EPA — again

He says the Clean Water rule is illegal and burdensome.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed another lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, this time over the definition of water.

Pruitt’s lawsuit, filed in Tulsa federal court, claims that a new rule promulgated June 29 illegally redefined the “waters of the United States” in a move that he described as executive overreach and flatly contrary to the will of Congress.

Pruitt claims that the EPA’s broad redefinition of long-standing regulatory jurisdiction places virtually all land and water under an untenable regulatory burden, according to a statement released by his office.

Respect for private property rights have allowed our nation to thrive, but with the recently finalized rule, farmers, ranchers, developers, industry and individual property owners will now be subject to the unpredictable, unsound, and often byzantine regulatory regime of the EPA,” Pruitt said in the statement. “I, and many other local, state and national leaders across the country, made clear to the EPA our concerns and opposition to redefining the ‘Waters of the U.S.’
And:
This marks the second lawsuit in as many weeks Pruitt has filed against the EPA in Tulsa federal court. Last week, he asked a federal judge to halt the EPA’s plan to enact new rules designed to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Pruitt is also a party to several previous lawsuits challenging the EPA’s regulatory limits.
We're also due to find even more about Scott Pruitt now that literally thousands of emails from his time as Oklahoma Attorney General are starting (thanks to court orders) to be released and analyzed. 

Now that Pruitt is the nation's EPA Administrator, the nation will soon find itself swimming in waste. But via Joe Davidson in a the little-noticed piece at the Post's "Federal Insider" a few weeks ago, we learn that even worse may be in the works. Davidson writes:
Trump transition leader’s goal is two-thirds cut in EPA employees

The red lights are flashing at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The words of Myron Ebell, the former head of President Trump’s EPA transition team, warn employees of a perilous future. Ebell wants the agency to go on a severe diet.

It’s one that would leave many federal employees with hunger pains, and jobless, too.

Ebell has suggested cutting the EPA workforce to 5,000, about a two-thirds reduction, over the next four years. The agency’s budget of $8.1 billion would be sliced in half under his prescription, which he emphasized is his own and not necessarily Trump’s.

“My own personal view is that the EPA would be better served if it were a much leaner organization that had substantial cuts,” he said in an interview. Ebell is director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a small-government think tank where he pushes the notion of “global warming alarmism” and against the science that says it’s a crisis. He acknowledges cutting 10,000 staffers might not be realistic, yet he sees that as an “aspirational goal. … You’re not going to get Congress to make significant cuts unless you ask for significant cuts.”
The argument, as always, is too much "regulatory overreach"...
One reason he favors such drastic cuts is that what he [Ebell] calls the EPA’s “regulatory overreach” would be much harder “if the agency is a lot smaller.”
...to which one critic of this proposal replied, "slashing staffing makes sense only if a safe environment is no longer important."

I guess for Trump and his wrecking crew, a safe environment (for us) is no longer important.

Get ready to go swimming in waste — and please don't blame Trump voters. We all got us to where we are, and we all have to work to get us all out again. Needless to say, for the resistance to have the largest good effect — and there are several bad ones — it must be as broad as possible.

This really is a crucial point; more on that in a bit.

(A version of this piece appeared at Down With Tyranny. GP article archive here.)

GP



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