NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Cantwell, Murray back push for vote of no confidence in Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA chief

A record num­ber of Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors have signed on to a res­o­lu­tion express­ing no con­fi­dence in Scott Pruitt, Don­ald Trump’s anti-envi­ron­men­tal Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA) chief­tain, accord­ing to the offices of Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell of Wash­ing­ton.

“Under Admin­is­tra­tor Pruitt,” the res­o­lu­tion says, “the Agency is hem­or­rhag­ing staff and experts need­ed to pro­tect the health, safe­ty, and liveli­hood of mil­lions of peo­ple in the Unit­ed States, with more than sev­en hun­dred employ­ees of the Agency hav­ing left or been forced out of the Agency dur­ing his tenure as Admin­is­tra­tor.”

The res­o­lu­tion adds: “Pruitt has con­tin­u­al­ly over­rid­den the rec­om­men­da­tions of sci­en­tists of the Agency in order to pro­vide relief to indus­try, leav­ing in place the use of harm­ful chem­i­cals, pes­ti­cides, and poli­cies that are direct­ly impact­ing the health and well-being of mil­lions of peo­ple of the Unit­ed States.”

With thir­ty-nine cospon­sors, the Sen­a­tors say this res­o­lu­tion has achieved the dis­tinc­tion of bear­ing the largest group of names in Unit­ed States his­to­ry for­mal­ly sup­port­ing a res­o­lu­tion call­ing for a cab­i­net official’s res­ig­na­tion.

The res­o­lu­tion lays out many rea­sons why Pruitt must go, includ­ing:

  • The non­par­ti­san Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office deter­mined that the EPA vio­lat­ed fed­er­al law by pur­chas­ing a $43,000 phone booth for Pruitt’s office – and then hid­ing that pur­chase from Con­gress.
  • Pruitt entered into a sweet­heart hous­ing deal to rent a Capi­tol Hill con­do from the wife of a lob­by­ist – pay­ing just $50 a night, and only pay­ing for the nights he slept there.
  • Pruitt has racked up hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in bills for lux­u­ry trav­el perks, includ­ing book­ing lav­ish first class and char­ter flights to Europe and else­where, stay­ing in lux­u­ry hotels, and trav­el­ing with a huge entourage of staff and secu­ri­ty.
  • Pruitt has report­ed­ly reas­signed or demot­ed EPA staffers who ques­tioned his spend­ing habits – at the same time that the EPA Inspec­tor Gen­er­al is inves­ti­gat­ing him for giv­ing unusu­al pay rais­es to favored aides.
  • Pruitt has deployed EPA enforce­ment offi­cers to pro­vide round-the-clock secu­ri­ty with ques­tion­able jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

There has nev­er been any­one less qual­i­fied to run the EPA than Scott Pruitt, which is why it’s so awful that he was put in charge of the agency, which has a vital role in pro­tect­ing Amer­i­ca’s air, water, and soil, not to men­tion the pub­lic health.

For­get about the old adage about the fox guard­ing the hen­house… this is worse. Much worse. Scott Pruitt is a sabo­teur who hap­pens to have con­trol of the orga­ni­za­tion he’s sab­o­tag­ing. He is active­ly work­ing to destroy one of the Unit­ed States’ most impor­tant pub­lic ser­vices from the top down with the bless­ing of his boss, Don­ald Trump. But, like Tom Price, he’s so much of a jerk that he’s even report­ed­ly man­aged to irri­tate Trump, which is some­what remark­able.

Scott Pruitt needs to be gone from the EPA, and yes­ter­day. We’re glad to see so many U.S. Sen­a­tors step­ping up to force­ful­ly say that.

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