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Monday, July 9, 2018

What comes next after Pruitt?

Por qubano22005

At least that's what US president Donald Trump thinks and several businessmen reluctant to believe that Climate Change is a reality that is affecting the planet. Scott Pruitt, Director of the Environmental Protection Agency ended up signing his resignation after the multiple complaints about his bad work but above all, due to the abuse of power and influences as the head of the EPA. During the last months the Pruitt was the center of numerous scandals in which he was directly involved and set in motion the opening of about a dozen federal and congressional investigations. Trump, before leaving in the Air Force One, didn’t stop kissing Scott’s shoes and even dared to state it was the EPA director’s personal decision to quit the position since he didn’t ask for Pruitt’s resignation.

Donald’s statements make very clear his way of thinking and his position regarding the environmental issues in addition to his concept of clarifying his cabinet. Months ago he himself had said he was cleaning the smelly swamp that Washington had become. However, one of his closest officials has been in the middle of the storm on suspicion of corruption and influence peddling; yet, he defends him tooth and nail.

It's understandable! Scott Pruitt did not question Trump’s bad decision to get out of the Paris Agreement and has benefited oil industry entrepreneurs. He never contradicted the president! Several media outlets agree that with the departure of Scott Pruitt, Donnie has lost one of the most effective members of his administration and they may be right if “effective” means accepting Donald Trump’s outlandish policies.

"It is extremely difficult for me to stop serving in this position, first of all because I consider a blessing to serve them in any role but also because of the transformative work that is taking place", Pruitt wrote in his resignation letter.

What transformative work does Pruitt mean? Oh yeah! To exit from the Paris Agreement for Climate Change. What a great achievement! Pruitt also buried away environmental regulations of the predecessor administration, most of the aimed at reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Among his "positive modifications" was his animosity to listen to environmental activists and label them as leftists.

If there is no doubt about something it is about the “reforms” Pruitt made in his office and his scandalous way of living after taking the position.

The former state governor of Oklahoma had a "kingly" life style during his EPA director days. Among his "little luxuries" were: costly first class trips, high security costs with a 3-million-dollars 24-hour armed guards and the manufacture of a $ 43,000 soundproof booth for private calls.

Do not wonder why the former Oklahoma prosecutor was involved in this series of events. Before taking office, he filed more than a dozen lawsuits against the same agency that he later directed.

He was also a declared skeptic of climate change and harshly criticized the Paris Agreement. On more than one occasion he said he did not agree that carbon dioxide was the "main agent that affects global warming", a statement demonstrated by climate scientists of the same agency.

Despite this, Trump named him his lieutenant to lead the EPA even knowing that he was deeply tied to the fossil fuel energy sector and, while he was Oklahoma's attorney general, he joined that lobby on several occasions to challenge pollution regulations of the agency itself.

After the many accusations in which Pruitt appeared as the main suspect and the announcement of both investigations by Congress and the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), his resignation could cheer the hearts of several environmental activists. But the appointment of EPA deputy director Andrew Wheeler, a former executive of the coal industry, as the acting president has set off alarms about the future of the agency.

The question is whether Wheeler will continue Pruitt's footsteps or change the direction of the EPA, something that many analysts say is very difficult if one takes into account that Donald Trump is the US president that opposes the most to the environment protection.

Wheeler is known as a technocrat who is well-versed in DC politics so it is quite possible that Pruitt’s agenda will continue.

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said to The Guardian that “sadly, the ideological fervor with which Pruitt pursued the destruction of environmental regulations and the agency itself live on in the Trump administration.