Thursday, July 12, 2018

People Expect The New EPA Administrator To Be Less Incompetent And Distracted Than Pruitt-- And That's Not A Good Thing


Worse than Pruitt?

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that "Scott Pruitt’s brief, tumultuous tenure as the head of the EPA has left him disgraced in the eyes of many in Washington and across the country. But it may not have done him much harm in his home state. Though a comeback for Mr. Pruitt is far from assured, some liberals and conservatives in Oklahoma agree he could engineer one in this oil- and gas-dependent state where he used to be attorney general. His hard-line anti-regulatory message remains popular here, and many of his supporters consider the spreading plume of scandal from his time at the EPA the product of unfair liberal persecution."

Susan Dudley, writing for Forbes, reported that Pruitt had pursued the largest regulatory rollback in the EPA’s history... but when it came to actual deregulation Pruitt was too busy feathering his own nest and stealing everything he could get his hands on that wasn't nailed down to complete much of what he started.
EPA has issued significantly fewer new regulations than in previous years. During his tenure as administrator, EPA has finalized only 15 actions compared to 38 rules finalized during the same period in the Obama administration. But slowing the pace of new regulation is not the same as “rolling back” existing rules.

Of the 15 final actions Pruitt has presided over, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) classifies five as “deregulatory,” two as “regulatory” and eight as neither. Only one of the so-called deregulatory actions actually removes an existing requirement; in response to a petition, it exempts certain treated railroad ties from being classified as solid waste when used as fuel. One action imposes user fees on electronic manifest submissions (raising questions as to why it is considered deregulatory) and the other three extend compliance deadlines for regulations issued in the previous administration. Extensions provide head room to review and modify not-yet-effective rules in the future, but are not exactly rollbacks.

The two completed actions identified as regulatory are also rather modest in scope. One requires public notice for combined sewer overflows into the Great Lakes, and the other establishes reporting requirements for manufacturers, users or importers of mercury.

The only “economically significant” final action EPA has taken during this administration is its renewable fuel standard issued last December. Although OMB’s accounting does not classify it as such (it is labeled “other”), this action is decidedly regulatory. As I have observed in previous columns, renewable fuel mandates are costly to consumers and the environment, and only serve to enrich powerful special interests.

The paucity of actual regulatory or deregulatory activity over the last year-and-a-half partly reflects the reality that changing existing policies through rulemaking takes time and resources. Once a regulation is in place, any changes to it require careful analysis of likely impacts, public notice supporting and explaining the proposed change, and the consideration of public comment and interagency review. Complying with these statutory and administrative requirements can take years. Particularly when reversing regulatory requirements established by a previous administration, development of a robust public record is essential for new policies to withstand the inevitable legal challenges.

EPA’s agenda of regulatory and deregulatory activities lists 128 actions underway in various stages of rulemaking. These comprise 41 deregulatory actions of which four are economically significant (with estimated dollar impacts in the hundreds of millions or billions), and likely to get a lot of attention. They include repeals of the prior administration’s clean power plan and truck glider rules, modification of vehicle economy standards, and reconsideration of oil and gas sector emissions standards.
But they like him in beet red, oily Oklahoma. Jim Dunlap, a GOP consultant, was a Republican legislator for 16 years. He defends Pruitt who, he says, dies not represent the D.C. swamp but it's his critics who do. "It's just an atmosphere in Washington, D.C. It's-- say, if they don't agree with me, I'm going to go ruin them. And I think Scott realized that. He fought as hard as he could. And it just got to a point where it became too personal. And he said, you know, somebody else can do it." This guy-- and I guess many of Republicans-- seems to be living in their own reality. He doesn't seem to understand that Pruitt didn't resign but went kicking and screaming as he was fired and dragged out of his office and tossed onto the garbage heap of history.

Still, extremists, like Dunlap, would love to see Pruitt run for Jim Inhofe's Senate seat if he dies or retires (Inhofe is 83 and increasingly senile). I bet plenty of Democrats would too.

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At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I expect that everyone that replaces someone under this fuhrer will be not just worse, but a lot worse.

And I expect if a democrap ever wins the presidency again, he'll populate all those seats with people who are as bad as the ones they replace, which means worse than anyone obamanation nom'd (like holder who was the worst ag since gonzalez and Ashcroft).

That's how lesser evilism works.

And after the next democrap prez is swept away due to betrayals and lies, the next Nazi prez will be MUCH worse than der fuhrer.

That's the lesser evilism staircase.

So... HELL YEAH, let's elect us a bunch of corrupt fascist racist misogynist democraps because trump is despicable. THAT'LL FIX EVERYTHING!!


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