Thursday, February 02, 2017

Get Ready for a Two-Thirds Cut to EPA Personnel


Now more than ever...

by Gaius Publius

We've already seen several indications that EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, will be stripped of its mission — protecting the environment, including the climatic environment — and turned into a profit protection agency instead. At best, as I noted here, EPA would be reduced to a kind of janitor for the fossil fuel giants, "sweeping up after the energy industry's mess-making" as the toxic wastes, perhaps exponentially, increase.

We certainly know that Trump's intended head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has sued the agency many times to prevent it from doing its legally mandated job. For example, from as late as 2015, via TulsaWorld (my emphasis):
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt sues EPA — again

He says the Clean Water rule is illegal and burdensome.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed another lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, this time over the definition of water.

Pruitt’s lawsuit, filed in Tulsa federal court, claims that a new rule promulgated June 29 illegally redefined the “waters of the United States” in a move that he described as executive overreach and flatly contrary to the will of Congress.

Pruitt claims that the EPA’s broad redefinition of long-standing regulatory jurisdiction places virtually all land and water under an untenable regulatory burden, according to a statement released by his office.

Respect for private property rights have allowed our nation to thrive, but with the recently finalized rule, farmers, ranchers, developers, industry and individual property owners will now be subject to the unpredictable, unsound, and often byzantine regulatory regime of the EPA,” Pruitt said in the statement. “I, and many other local, state and national leaders across the country, made clear to the EPA our concerns and opposition to redefining the ‘Waters of the U.S.’
This marks the second lawsuit in as many weeks Pruitt has filed against the EPA in Tulsa federal court. Last week, he asked a federal judge to halt the EPA’s plan to enact new rules designed to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Pruitt is also a party to several previous lawsuits challenging the EPA’s regulatory limits.
If Pruitt is approved as EPA Administrator — and woe to any Democrat who enables that approval — the nation will find itself swimming in waste.

But now we discover, via Joe Davidson at the Post's "Federal Insider," that even worse may be in the works for the EPA. Davidson writes:
Trump transition leader’s goal is two-thirds cut in EPA employees

The red lights are flashing at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The words of Myron Ebell, the former head of President Trump’s EPA transition team, warn employees of a perilous future. Ebell wants the agency to go on a severe diet.

It’s one that would leave many federal employees with hunger pains, and jobless, too.

Ebell has suggested cutting the EPA workforce to 5,000, about a two-thirds reduction, over the next four years. The agency’s budget of $8.1 billion would be sliced in half under his prescription, which he emphasized is his own and not necessarily Trump’s.

“My own personal view is that the EPA would be better served if it were a much leaner organization that had substantial cuts,” he said in an interview. Ebell is director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a small-government think tank where he pushes the notion of “global warming alarmism” and against the science that says it’s a crisis. He acknowledges cutting 10,000 staffers might not be realistic, yet he sees that as an “aspirational goal. … You’re not going to get Congress to make significant cuts unless you ask for significant cuts.”
If you think congressional Republicans (and more than a few Democrats) wouldn't jump at the chance to cut the EPA budget to the bone, you haven't been watching politicians and those who own them.

The argument, as always, is too much "regulatory overreach"...
One reason he favors such drastic cuts is that what he [Ebell] calls the EPA’s “regulatory overreach” would be much harder “if the agency is a lot smaller.” which one critic of this proposal replied, "slashing staffing makes sense only if a safe environment is no longer important."

I guess for Trump and his wrecking crew, a safe environment (for us) is no longer important.

Get ready to go swimming in waste — and please don't blame Trump voters. We all got us to where we are, and we all have to work to get us all out again. Needless to say, for the resistance to have the largest good effect — there are several bad ones — it must be as broad as possible. This really is a crucial point; more on that in a bit.


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At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One would be left to think that these folks and their children dont breathe the same air or drink the same water as we private citizens.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Halliburton execs, Colorado Gov Hickenlooper, and a squirrel in Pennsylvania all drank fracked water to demonstrate safety!

"Halliburton says the liquid is not safe for human consumption, but [John Gorman, Vice-President of Haliburton Canada] said that what he drank was modified slightly with food additives....'We were trying to show that whenever the oil and gas industry is shown a challenge, we view it as an opportunity to find solutions,' Gorman told the Financial Post, adding that they replaced 'very few' chemicals with food additives.

Gov. John Hickenlooper Tells Senate Committee He Drank Fracking Fluid

Did Pennsylvania’s Purple Squirrel Drink Frack Water?

Why wouldn't humans drink it also?

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how you feel about your "institutional inertia" now?

At 4:40 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Excuse me, Gaius, I love your pieces but I do resent your final comment about not blaming Trump voters and claiming that we are ALL responsible for where we are at with the environment and the EPA. Not the case, and a rather unfair statement. Trump voters are certainly responsible - they are completely fact challenged, have zilch critical thinking skills, are science deniers and have poor reality testing. They are an alarming group - they are adults and voters and are responsible for their choices. Why are you letting them off the hook? I for one do not think that I am responsible for this mess we are in. There are many Americans, now quite likely the majority, who are well aware of what is going on and are very angry about it. We do not all deserve to be blamed for it. PLEASE do not lump us all together. Not a productive way to go.

There is planning in the works for late April for a march in support of the environment. Let's see how that goes.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Gaius Publius said...

Thanks, Hone. Not lumping quite. As a theoretical matter, many Trump voters were two-time Obama voters, or so I read, and simply (again) desperate to get out of the loop we're stuck in (i.e., desperate for change). Others, a core, are less reputable.

Still, mainstream Democrats bear much responsibility for putting up Clinton in the first place. That's the "all responsible" I mean.

But as a practical matter, bashing all Trump voters alienates the "desperate for change" group I just mentioned, and we'll need to reassemble that coalition, the Obama-2008 voting bloc, or what would have been the Sanders bloc had he been allowed by Dems into the general election.

IOW, bashing and conflating all Trump voters as if they all were identical to the worst subset of them is hugely counterproductive going forward.

I will write about that. ITM, sorry if my writing was overly inclusive. I do think that the nation as a whole is in this mess and the nation as a whole has to be appealed to if we're to get out.



At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GP, you are correct to lump them together.

Look, there is a growing segment (maybe up to a third by now) of the populace who are virulent xenophobes (blacks, latins, women, jews, muslims) without any hope of redemption. The fearmongering since 9/11 by the media and each admin have those with simple minds that are vulnerable to this joining the KKK and other hate-based groups.

Der fuhrer, by design AND, it seems, by true ideology, matches each of their hatreds. So those who are driven by fear/hate become the Nazi demographic.
Add to them those who were hardest hit by the bank depression seeded by Clinton (willie) and enabled by the bushbaby; which obamanation refused to remedy at all; and which $hillbillary is fully supportive (her affair of the heart with banks is very well known and documented). Abject economic misery makes people want change.

Sound anything like 1932?

But also you have to include those who yearned for change but for whom JUST ANY CHANGE would do who voted for der fuhrer. These are the lowest form of imbeciles in the electorate.

EVERYONE who voted for drumpf is either evil or extremely stupid or both. So lump away.

The fact that $hillbillary wasn't any better, in fact was arguably worse, is beside the point. Jill Stein was on the ballot.

At 11:21 AM, Anonymous karl kolchak said...

Yeah, we are all responsible. Every time we turn on our lights, start the furnace to stay warm, start our cars, buy something made or grown a continent or more away, etc, we contribute to environmental degradation and global warming. Stopping the destruction of the ecosphere would require returning mankind to a preindustrial state and would lead to the deaths of billions given how badly mankind is in population overshoot. Merely buying an electric car and shopping for groceries at a nearby farmer's market or buying "green" products is like spitting on a forest fire.

The difference between Trump and the Democrats is that Trump's position is slightly more honest for not trying to place window dressing on the coming disaster (such as the laughably ineffectual Paris Agreement). Unless you are willing to live in a cave somewhere and live as a hunter gatherer like our ancestors did, you are part of the problem. Blaming Trump might make you feel better, but it is a complete waste of time.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey this is how the world works. Money is the judge of a persons measure of being human. So if u want clean water, u gotta pay for it (see nestle emptying the Great Lakes for bottled water). And just like Darwin said, if u are not fit enough (i.e. U don't make enough money) to survive (to pay for all the costs of survival) then u shouldn't survive.
Just like the wolf of Wall Street says, u do anything with money. U can save the spotted owl with enough money. And our world ranks a person by their money. U can stand on the street corner all day saying the world is ending and u r called crazy. But if you have a billion dollars in your bank account, everyone will listen to you.


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