Environment

Trump Defends Embattled EPA Against Non-Existent Death Threats

EPA

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has been embroiled in one controversy after another since taking the helm at the Environmental Protection Agency. The scandals have involved everything from private jet travel to backroom secret deals with oil corporations.

Tasked with protecting our environment and the natural resources of the planet, Pruitt is doing the opposite. Instead, he seems more hell-bent on destroying and deregulating everything.

Things have gotten so bad and he is taking so much heat that his boss, President Donald Trump, felt the need to give him a plug on Twitter:

Not that we actually believe anything that Trump says. Jason Leopold, from BuzzFeed News, requested any records the EPA may have on the alleged threats via a Freedom of Information Act request:

The search came up empty. No real surprise there. In the comments, Leopold mentions that the EPA has not been good about providing him with answers to his requests. He gets responses of “zero records” while the EPA seems eager to share with others.

One news agency got full responses, police reports, and even interviews with the EPA in-house security detail.

The Associated Press did a nationwide search and turned up nothing:

“A nationwide search of state and federal court records by AP found no case where anyone has been arrested or charged with threatening Pruitt. EPA’s press office did not respond Friday to provide details of any specific threats or arrests.”

Twitter and social media threats. Pruitt received threats from keyboard warriors that sit in their mommy’s basement, afraid to come out into the sunlight. That doesn’t justify the added expense of a bulletproof vest, bulletproof car, bulletproof desk, and beefed up security detail. Pruitt has a 24/7 security detail that follows him everywhere and travels with him at great expense to taxpayers.

From the Washington Post:

“Scott Pruitt’s security detail has required far more resources than his predecessors’ costing taxpayers nearly $3 million when factoring in overtime and frequent travel for the agents who protect the Environmental Protection Agency administrator 24/7, according to an EPA official.”

Three million dollars paid for travel and security for the EPA chief. According to Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan, in an interview with CNN in October 2017:

“We have at least four times — four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. McCarthy. The EPA is a lightning rod. We get threats from both sides of the spectrum. Some people believe the EPA is not doing enough to enforce environmental laws, and they’re upset about that. Other people think the EPA is doing too much, vis-à-vis enforcing environmental laws, and they’re upset about that.”

Since then the rampant spending and scandals have only gotten worse.

There is Pruitt’s “market rate” room rental at $50 a night in the home of a lobbyist. The going rate for a room at Trump’s hotel in the same neighborhood is over $900 per night. That arrangement seems to have gone sour though, as the security codes have been changed and Pruitt found himself locked out.

Stop laughing.

OK, we can’t either… Carry on.

Trump’s defense of Pruitt was weak, at best, saying his “spending was somewhat more than his predecessor.”

Pruitt’s spending on security is 3-4 times higher than other EPA heads. The seemingly erroneous claim about excessive threats doesn’t seem to hold water when investigated. It would seem that there should be some kind of documentation available if all these threats really exist.

“Bold actions at the EPA?”

While he is attempting to roll back every regulation on clean water and air ever enacted, that does take time. He is trying to make the country a friendlier place for fossil fuel suppliers who want to “drill, baby, drill” everywhere. He is threatening our National Parks and forests. But he’s basically been hiding out whining about all the regulations rather than taking any actual “bold actions” on them.

One thing is certain — if the Trump administration is successful in rolling back regulations on everything, we could end up in a real third-world situation with pollution everywhere, no clean water, and smog levels to rival those from the 70s. These unpopular ideas are probably the real reason for the beefed up security on the man that is poised to destroy the country as we know it.


Featured image from Gage Skidmore via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0.

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