Reports this week have suggested US President Donald Trump will move to begin dismantling and hamstringing the country’s Environmental Protection Agency as soon as his nominee to head the agency is confirmed by the Senate.
The publicly-beleaguered White House doesn’t appear to be slowing down any, despite the antics of its new Commander in Chief and his appointed cronies. Reuters reported on Wednesday that staff at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been told that the President was planning a series of executive orders and policy moves that would be put into effect as soon as his nominee, Scott Pruitt, is confirmed by the Senate.
No specifics have been revealed or leaked concerning the nature of the executive orders, but insiders speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters explained that they had been told anywhere between two and five executive orders would be signed immediately.
This is all contingent on Donald Trump’s nominee for head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, being approved by the Senate in a confirmation vote on Friday. There is little doubt that Democrats will attempt to fight his confirmation, pointing to his absurd history of attacking the EPA and calling for its dismantling — not to mention his own personal views contradicting climate change and global warming — however, the Republicans have most of the power at the moment, and will likely be able to force Pruitt through regardless of anything the Democrats are able to pull off. Only surprise nay-votes from Republicans would be able to change the face of the matter, and that is unlikely.
Donald Trump announced Scott Pruitt to be his nominee for head of the EPA back in December, a move which drew immediate criticism from within and around the environmental sector. “You couldn’t pick a better fossil fuel industry puppet,” wrote May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director.“This appointment raises serious alarms for all Americans who value rivers and the clean water they provide,” added Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers.
Scott Pruitt also didn’t do overly well in his confirmation hearings, held in January, finding himself at odds with the Democratic Senator from Vermont who challenged Pruitt on his views of climate change.
Regardless of Scott Pruitt’s nomination, this is not the first move that Donald Trump and his administration have taken against the EPA — it will simply only get easier with Pruitt in place. Late January it was revealed that the administration had frozen all of the EPA’s grant funding programs, while at the same time instructing EPA employees (among other agency employees) to halt all official communication with the outside world. To make matters worse, the EPA’s website began undergoing content changes, with the EPA’s climate page disappearing, and other pages suffering rewrites.
The EPA isn’t just being forced into a defensive posture with the White House, either, as Florida House Representative Matt Gaetz introduced a bill earlier this month which would terminate the EPA altogether, claiming that the EPA had “exceeded their original mission substantially under both Republican and Democratic presidents and violated the sovereignty of the states.”
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