March 08, 2018
By Umair Irfan –
The mandate of the head of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and enforce environmental regulations.
Yet when he reflected on his first year in office in a recent report, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt celebrated the rollback of 22 regulations under his watch, and cheered President Donald Trump’s rejection of climate science and policy.
This is the EPA administrator whose tenure has also been marked by highly unusual, even paranoid, precautions: armoring himself with a 24/7 security detail, building a $25,000 secret phone booth in his office, spending $9,000 to sweep his office for surveillance bugs, and hiding his schedule from the public.
But some of the biggest, and most overlooked, changes Pruitt has made at the EPA have come by not doing anything at all. He’s steering the EPA’s work at an agonizingly slow pace,delaying and slowing the implementation of laws and running interference for many of the sectors EPA is supposed to regulate. His EPA has also collected far fewer fines from polluters than any of the last three administrations during the same time.