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EPA's Pruitt fulfilling Trump's anti-regulatory agenda

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is drawing scrutiny for his housing situation and travel p...

Posted: Apr 3, 2018 10:11 PM
Updated: Apr 3, 2018 10:11 PM

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is drawing scrutiny for his housing situation and travel practices, but in his role as the nation's top environmental official, he's a reliable administration foot soldier, making good on President Donald Trump's campaign promises for fewer environmental regulations and to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Since he was confirmed to the job last February, Pruitt has taken an aggressive approach to rolling back Obama-era regulations, most recently this week's announcement that he would revise fuel efficiency rules designed to cut back on emissions of greenhouse gases.

"This is another step in the President's regulatory agenda, de-regulatory agenda ... a billion dollars in savings with respect to over 22 significant regulatory actions that we've been involved in here at the agency," Pruitt said at EPA headquarters Tuesday.

The announcement is the latest in a series of moves by Trump and Pruitt to dismantle Barack Obama's environmental legacy, moves that have drawn some scrutiny for their pace and breadth.

In the 14 months since he became the nation's top environmental policy official, Pruitt has bit-by-bit overseen the dismantling of a number of regulations and agreements across the agency, and impacting a wide range of issues.

Pruitt has withdrawn the "once in, always in" policy under the Clean Air Act, which determined how facilities that are major sources of hazardous air pollutants are regulated.

He announced plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the Obama-era climate rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

"I do think that the administration has been aggressively deregulatory across the board, across agencies. But the EPA stands out even in that crowd," Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University law professor who served as the EPA's associate administrator for the Office of Policy between July 2009 and December 2010. "(Pruitt's) decisions appear to move all in one direction. He's not just limiting himself to one program. Across the agency, he appears to be acting in a uniformly deregulatory way."

Pruitt is the latest Cabinet official caught up in a swirl of bad press, facing an uncertain future within the Trump administration. But unlike the situations surrounding former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the policies he's enacted seem to be in line with the President's policy goals.

In one instance, Pruitt is also now suggesting tacking on additional import restrictions onto a review of fuel efficiency regulations as a way to strengthen Trump's aggressive stance on tariffs and trade, according to a White House official familiar with recent discussions between the administration and the EPA. This source says the changes amount to "crazy import restrictions."

This source did not believe the restrictions would pass muster, but rather saw it as a way for Pruitt to carry favor with the President as the administrator faces intense scrutiny for possible ethical violations. The drafted restrictions would be unrealistic, according to this source, but Pruitt tried to "package it for the President so that it looks that way."

"He is trying so hard to please the President," the source said.

The drafted restrictions, suggested unexpectedly on Friday by Pruitt's office, would raise greenhouse gas standards on imported vehicles as a way to limit the flow of foreign cars entering the United States, as per this source.

"The idea wasn't fully baked," said the source, but it comes at a time when the Trump administration is targeting imports, notably placing tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 480845

Reported Deaths: 6511
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin997381576
Ramsey42744796
Dakota35818383
Anoka33010383
Washington21862253
Stearns18683200
St. Louis14655262
Scott13119107
Wright12414114
Olmsted1170088
Sherburne866373
Carver756340
Clay683686
Rice664291
Blue Earth587235
Kandiyohi576674
Crow Wing514780
Chisago493644
Otter Tail479470
Benton441390
Winona414248
Mower400231
Douglas390768
Nobles385347
Goodhue383368
Polk341062
McLeod336349
Beltrami335350
Morrison321846
Lyon311543
Itasca308545
Becker307841
Isanti303453
Carlton298544
Steele297611
Pine280616
Freeborn276823
Nicollet252341
Todd244030
Brown240737
Le Sueur230520
Mille Lacs225747
Cass218124
Waseca206917
Meeker205534
Martin186728
Wabasha18543
Roseau178317
Hubbard159740
Houston156414
Dodge15124
Renville147340
Redwood146327
Fillmore13648
Chippewa135735
Cottonwood133520
Wadena128120
Pennington127016
Faribault121716
Aitkin117833
Sibley116410
Rock115513
Watonwan11518
Kanabec106719
Pipestone100724
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9418
Jackson92510
Swift87218
Pope7885
Marshall76815
Stevens7378
Lake72617
Clearwater71514
Lac qui Parle68216
Wilkin66510
Koochiching61711
Big Stone5123
Lincoln5032
Grant4888
Norman4648
Mahnomen4377
Unassigned43668
Kittson40721
Red Lake3544
Traverse3015
Lake of the Woods2131
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359747

Reported Deaths: 5357
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57625545
Linn20536311
Scott18203205
Black Hawk16187286
Woodbury14875211
Johnson1374173
Dubuque13480194
Dallas1123790
Pottawattamie10716140
Story1012945
Warren550271
Clinton540783
Cerro Gordo531080
Webster515686
Marshall493772
Sioux491568
Buena Vista469736
Des Moines455059
Muscatine446789
Wapello4261107
Jasper406865
Plymouth393377
Lee373551
Marion356969
Jones293854
Henry292535
Carroll284048
Bremer276554
Crawford272035
Boone258230
Washington253145
Benton250454
Mahaska223145
Jackson220438
Dickinson216338
Tama211564
Kossuth206954
Clay192925
Hamilton191641
Delaware188539
Winneshiek186926
Fayette184033
Buchanan183630
Page181619
Hardin179638
Wright179131
Harrison178969
Cedar175522
Clayton168153
Butler165731
Floyd162439
Mills162420
Cherokee153535
Madison153418
Poweshiek153429
Hancock146529
Lyon145441
Iowa143823
Allamakee143644
Appanoose138447
Grundy138230
Jefferson137532
Winnebago137530
Calhoun133010
Cass132448
Mitchell130040
Louisa127941
Union125931
Chickasaw124613
Sac123718
Emmet120740
Shelby119933
Franklin118319
Humboldt116725
Guthrie116028
Montgomery104036
Palo Alto103921
Howard102421
Clarke99220
Keokuk97529
Unassigned9300
Monroe92628
Adair91626
Ida90732
Pocahontas85419
Davis82223
Monona81525
Greene76610
Lucas73121
Osceola70014
Worth6907
Taylor66312
Fremont5869
Decatur5729
Van Buren55818
Ringgold51416
Wayne48621
Audubon4839
Adams3244
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