Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Pruitt's Murderous Legacy

While he was at the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt's war on regulations made pollution worse. This is the same pollution that is known to cause asthma, cardiovascular disease and premature death. Calling the former administrator a murderer is not left wing hysteria it is a fact borne out by clear and unmistakable evidence.

As published in Mother Jones, an analysis from Rachel Leven and Fatima Bhojani at the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) noted a decline in air quality during the period Pruitt led the EPA. Coal plants are one of the chief culprits of dirty air and CPI reports that 145 coal plants lacking pollution controls emitted a total of 580,000 tons of sulfur dioxide in 2017 (sulfur dioxide is a pollutant that contributes to a wide range of health problems).

Despite the public health threat posed by air pollution, Trump issued a directive calling for Pruitt to further jeopardize human health by relaxing smog protections. The Hill reported that consistent with the wishes of industry the Trump administration has relaxed enforcement of air standards.

The former administrator has a long history of polluter advocacy.  His signature achievement at the head of the EPA was dismantling the Clean Power Plan. This not only generates pollution harmful to human health it contributes to climate change. It also hurts the economy by increasing healthcare costs and undercutting cleantech jobs. 

The American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report found that Pruitt's agenda compromises air quality. According to Time air quality is declining in the US and climate change is making deadly air pollution worse.

Pruitt has created a more toxic and deadly environment in the US. In this context it is not hyperbole to accuse the former administrator of murder. He may not have marched people into ovens to be gassed, however, his actions have increased life threatening pollution in the air we all breathe. He has also added fuel to an already deadly climate crisis that if left unchecked will kill untold millions.

The former EPA head worked to soften rules for coal-fired power plant waste. Last summer he sought to revive a loophole that would allow diesel trucks to use engines that create 450 times more soot than their newer counterparts. More recently the EPA began rolling back gas mileage rules for cars that will increase airborne pollutants and GHG emissions.

Pruitt has helped coal plants to avoid retrofits that radically reduce emissions. He tried to obscure responsibility for industrial pollution saying he does not want the agency to track industrial emissions. He reportedly told regulators not to double-check companies pollution estimates effectively giving them free-reign to fudge numbers. Pruitt's EPA even claimed that burning biomass is considered carbon neutral.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Trump and Pruitt's agenda is linked to an additional 80,000 deaths and well over a million cases of respiratory illness over the next decade. If as suggested by the Harvard professors who conducted the research, these are conservative numbers, it may be more accurate to accuse Pruitt of genocide.

Related
Pruitt's Advocacy on Behalf of Polluters is Killing Americans
Pruitt's War Against Science
Pruitt is Gone but his Destructive Legacy will Endure
Court Rulings Check Pruitt's Vision for the EPA
Pruitt is Destroying the EPA
Pruitt is Purging Scientists at the EPA
Pruitt Lies to Kill the Clean Power Plan
Emails Reveal Pruitt's Anti-Regulation Industry Advocacy
Pruitt to Decimate Environmental Protections and Climate Action
Trump puts the Fox in the Henhouse: Pruitt to Head the EPA
Republicans Trying to Kill the EPA Quickly
Trump's War against the EPA has Begun

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