In His Haste to Roll Back Rules, Scott Pruitt, E.P.A. Chief, Risks His Agenda

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  arkansashermit-too  •  4 years ago  •  26 comments

In His Haste to Roll Back Rules, Scott Pruitt, E.P.A. Chief, Risks His Agenda

In His Haste to Roll Back Rules, Scott Pruitt, E.P.A. Chief, Risks His Agenda

By CORAL DAVENPORT and LISA FRIEDMAN APRIL 7, 2018

screenshotwww.nytimes.com20180408012327.jpg

 WASHINGTON — As ethical questions threaten the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, President Trump has defended him with a persuasive conservative argument: Mr. Pruitt is doing a great job at what he was hired to do, roll back regulations.

But legal experts and White House officials say that in Mr. Pruitt’s haste to undo government rules and in his eagerness to hold high-profile political events promoting his agenda, he has often been less than rigorous in following important procedures, leading to poorly crafted legal efforts that risk being struck down in court.

The result, they say, is that the rollbacks, intended to fulfill one of the president’s central campaign pledges, may ultimately be undercut or reversed.

“In their rush to get things done, they’re failing to dot their i’s and cross their t’s. And they’re starting to stumble over a lot of trip wires,” said Richard Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard. “They’re producing a lot of short, poorly crafted rule makings that are not likely to hold up in court.”

Six of Mr. Pruitt’s efforts to delay or roll back Obama-era regulations — on issues including pesticides, lead paint and renewable-fuel requirements — have been struck down by the courts. Mr. Pruitt also backed down on a proposal to delay implementing smog regulations and another to withdraw a regulation on mercury pollution.

The courts, for instance, found that the E.P.A. had ignored clear legal statutes when they ruled that Mr. Pruitt had illegally delayed a regulation curbing methane emissions from new oil and gas wells and that the agency had broken the law by missing a deadline last year to enact ozone restrictions .

In other cases — including one in which a federal court ordered the E.P.A. to act on a Connecticut request to reduce pollution from a Pennsylvania power plant, and one where judges demanded quick action from the agency on new lead paint standards — the courts warned Mr. Pruitt that avoiding enacting regulations already on the books was an inappropriate effort to repeal a rule without justifying the action.

“The E.P.A. has a clear duty to act,” a panel of judges of the San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit wrote in a 2-1 decision finding that the agency must revise its lead paint standards in 90 days, as regulations required. The agency had tried to delay the revisions for six years.

In an interview on Friday, the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that Mr. Trump felt that Mr. Pruitt had done a satisfactory job at the EPA. Her comments suggested that Mr. Pruitt’s work checking off items on the president’s agenda — including rolling back a large number of environmental protections — may weigh heavily as a counterbalance to the ethics questions related to his travel expenses, management practices and his rental of a living space from the wife of a prominent lobbyist.

Describing Mr. Trump’s view of Mr. Pruitt, she said: “He likes the work product.”

While Security spending was somewhat more than his predecessor, Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA. Record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars. Rent was about market rate, travel expenses OK. Scott is doing a great job!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018

Liz Bowman, an E.P.A. spokeswoman, disputed the criticisms of the agency’s work. “E.P.A. does its due diligence, consults with O.M.B. and other federal agencies to ensure that its work is legally defensible,” she said in an email, referring to the Office of Management and Budget, the office that coordinates and evaluates policy across the executive branch.

One of the chief examples cited by Mr. Pruitt’s critics came this week when the E.P.A. filed its legal justification for what is arguably the largest rollback of an environmental rule in the Trump administration: the proposed undoing of an Obama-era regulation aimed at cutting pollution of planet-warming greenhouse gases from vehicle tailpipes.

Mr. Pruitt made his case for the rollback in a 38-page document filed on Tuesday that, experts say, was devoid of the kind of supporting legal, scientific and technical data that courts have shown they expect to see when considering challenges to regulatory changes.

“There’s an incredible lack of numbers,” said James McCargar, a former senior policy analyst at the E.P.A. who worked on vehicle emissions programs and remains in close touch with career staffers who work on those programs. “If this gets challenged in court, I just don’t see how they provide anything that gives a technical justification to undo the rule.”

screenshotwww.nytimes.com20180408012243.jpg

The rules Mr. Pruitt is targeting would require automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of passenger vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Automakers have argued the rule is onerous, forcing them to invest heavily in building hybrid and electric vehicles.

As part of the process, Mr. Pruitt filed the 38-page document, which is meant to supply the government’s legal justification for rolling back the rule. About half the document consists of quotations from automakers laying out their objections to the rule. By comparison, the Obama administration’s 1,217-page document justifying its implementation of the regulation included technical, scientific and economic analyses justifying the rule.

Experts in environmental policy said the lack of analytical arguments in this week’s E.P.A. filing surprised them. “This document is unprecedented,” said Mr. McCargar, the former E.P.A. senior policy analyst. “The E.P.A. has just never done anything like this.”

John M. DeCicco, a professor of engineering and public policy at the University of Michigan Energy Institute, said the filing was a departure from the practices of previous Republican and Democratic administrations.

“A president or an administrator or somebody can’t just say, ‘I’m going to change the rule,’ without justifying it very, very carefully,” Mr. DeCicco said. “As a scientist who’s worked on these issues, I’m saying, where are the numbers? Where’s the data?”

Most of the document consists of arguments quoting directly from public comments made by automaker lobbyists, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Global Automakers, that the pollution rules will be unduly burdensome on the auto industry, as well as public comments from Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi.

While it does include arguments opposing the regulatory rollback from groups including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the state of California, it does not contain what environmental experts say is the critical element of a legally strong justification for changing an E.P.A. regulation: Technical analysis of both sides of the argument leading to a conclusion aimed at persuading a judge that the change is defensible.

Seth Michaels, a spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, suggested that, in its reuse of arguments by the automakers’ lobby, the emissions-rollback document echoed Mr. Pruitt’s modus operandi when he was the Oklahoma Attorney General.

“It’s reminiscent of the 2011 letter Scott Pruitt sent as Oklahoma AG to the E.P.A., in which he took a letter drafted by lawyers for Devon Energy and stuck his name on it with minimal edits,” Mr. Michaels said.

A 2014 investigation by The Times found that lobbyists for Devon Energy, an Oklahoma oil and gas company, drafted letters for Mr. Pruitt to send to the E.P.A., the Interior Department, the Office of Management and Budget and President Obama, outlining the economic hardship of various environmental rules.

Between 2011 and 2017, Mr. Pruitt filed suit against the E.P.A. 14 times, and lost almost all of the cases.

Most were filed in conjunction with the Republican attorneys general of a dozen or more other states, making it difficult to know precisely which legal arguments his office contributed, legal experts said. Mr. Pruitt frequently took a lead role in the cases.

In the end, “a lot of those arguments were losers,” said Richard L. Revesz, an expert in environmental law at New York University.

In particular, Mr. Revesz noted a case brought by the group against President Obama’s signature climate change regulation, the Clean Power Plan, which Mr. Pruitt is now working to overturn from within the E.P.A. The lawsuit challenged a draft proposal of the regulation, which was an unprecedented move that a federal court quickly struck down, saying that they could not legally challenge a draft.

screenshotwww.nytimes.com20180408012127.jpg

While the attorneys general, including Mr. Pruitt, garnered media attention for the case, “The argument they had was ludicrous,” Mr. Revesz said.

The group did, however, score one major victory: After the Obama administration issued its final version of the Clean Power Plan, it successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to temporarily halt implementation of the rule.

Since taking the helm of E.P.A., Mr. Pruitt has barnstormed the country, meeting with farmers, coal miners and local leaders and promising an end to his predecessor’s regulatory approach. He also has favored closed-door policy speeches to conservative think tanks, like the Heritage Foundation, to roll out policy initiatives.

The Heritage Foundation was the venue Mr. Pruitt chose this year to say that he would make changes to how scientific studies are considered at the agency. Both critics and supporters of Mr. Pruitt said that, by making the proposal in a political fashion rather than changing the rules in a quieter but potentially more lasting way means that changes like these are more vulnerable to being undone by a future administration.

Environmental groups have welcomed Mr. Pruitt’s court losses. Joanne Spalding, chief climate counsel for the Sierra Club, said she was pleased by what she called “sloppy” and “careless” E.P.A. legal work. “It’s fine with us,” she said. “Do a bad job repealing these things, because then we get to go to court and win.”

Thomas J. Pyle, a supporter of Mr. Pruitt’s and the president of the Institute for Energy Research, a think tank that promotes fossil fuels, described that as spin. “The environmental left portrays Scott Pruitt as a devil incarnate in their fund-raising solicitations, yet brag about how ineffective he is in dismantling Obama’s climate rules,” he said. “Which is it?”

Still, some conservatives said they were worried that Mr. Pruitt was more interested in media attention than policy and feared more legal losses. “If the goal is to generate temporary relief and to make a splash, then what they’re doing is terrifically fine,” said Jonathan H. Adler, director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

But if the Trump administration wants to permanently change the regulatory environment for business, he said, the E.P.A. cannot take such a “quick and dirty approach” to unraveling regulations. “I’m suspicious that two, three years down the road there’s going to be much to show for all the fireworks we’re getting now,” Mr. Adler said.

Katie Rogers contributed reporting.

  


Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
[]
 
Old Hermit
Sophomore Quiet
1  seeder  Old Hermit    4 years ago

Normally I would use excerpts instead of posting the whole of a slightly lengthy article but I found this one to be informative from the first sentience to the last and since the New York Times only offers a limited number of free articles each month I decided to let any interested readers, here on NewsTalkers, do their own editing.

Enjoy.

 
 
 
Old Hermit
Sophomore Quiet
2  seeder  Old Hermit    4 years ago

The info in this article brought a small ray of sunshine my way.

I mean, it was common knowledge that President Trumps illegal Muslim ban's had been struck down by the courts. Same with his first ban on transgendered Americans serving in the military, but I hadn't heard as much news about how Pruitt's attempt to please the Oil industries and other major poulterers was being done in such a stupid and sloppy way that the courts are stepping in to slow him down and protect the country.

example;

One of the chief examples cited by Mr. Pruitt’s critics came this week when the E.P.A. filed its legal justification for what is arguably the largest rollback of an environmental rule in the Trump administration: the proposed undoing of an Obama-era regulation aimed at cutting pollution of planet-warming greenhouse gases from vehicle tailpipes.

Mr. Pruitt made his case for the rollback in a 38-page document filed on Tuesday that, experts say, was devoid of the kind of supporting legal, scientific and technical data that courts have shown they expect to see when considering challenges to regulatory changes.

“There’s an incredible lack of numbers,” said James McCargar, a former senior policy analyst at the E.P.A. who worked on vehicle emissions programs and remains in close touch with career staffers who work on those programs. “If this gets challenged in court, I just don’t see how they provide anything that gives a technical justification to undo the rule.”

The rules Mr. Pruitt is targeting would require automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of passenger vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Automakers have argued the rule is onerous, forcing them to invest heavily in building hybrid and electric vehicles.

As part of the process, Mr. Pruitt filed the 38-page document, which is meant to supply the government’s legal justification for rolling back the rule. About half the document consists of quotations from automakers laying out their objections to the rule. By comparison, the Obama administration’s 1,217-page document justifying its implementation of the regulation included technical, scientific and economic analyses justifying the rule.

Experts in environmental policy said the lack of analytical arguments in this week’s E.P.A. filing surprised them. “This document is unprecedented,” said Mr. McCargar, the former E.P.A. senior policy analyst. “The E.P.A. has just never done anything like this.”

John M. DeCicco, a professor of engineering and public policy at the University of Michigan Energy Institute, said the filing was a departure from the practices of previous Republican and Democratic administrations.

“A president or an administrator or somebody can’t just say, ‘I’m going to change the rule,’ without justifying it very, very carefully,” Mr. DeCicco said. “As a scientist who’s worked on these issues, I’m saying, where are the numbers? Where’s the data?”

Most of the document consists of arguments quoting directly from public comments made by automaker lobbyists, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Global Automakers, that the pollution rules will be unduly burdensome on the auto industry, as well as public comments from Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi.

While it does include arguments opposing the regulatory rollback from groups including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the state of California, it does not contain what environmental experts say is the critical element of a legally strong justification for changing an E.P.A. regulation: Technical analysis of both sides of the argument leading to a conclusion aimed at persuading a judge that the change is defensible.

Seth Michaels, a spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, suggested that, in its reuse of arguments by the automakers’ lobby, the emissions-rollback document echoed Mr. Pruitt’s modus operandi when he was the Oklahoma Attorney General.

 
 
 
lennylynx
Sophomore Participates
3  lennylynx    4 years ago

Righties?  Why are you ok with this?  Why do you want to allow the poisoning of the air we breathe and water we drink?  What the hell is WRONG with you??

 
 
 
Galen Marvin Ross
Sophomore Guide
3.1  Galen Marvin Ross  replied to  lennylynx @3    4 years ago

They don't believe in science and, they think Gawd will give them a new world when Jebus comes back.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4  Kavika     4 years ago

If you look up flunky in the dictionary, there is a photo of Pruitt.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1  Kavika   replied to  Kavika @4    4 years ago

Image result for funny environmental memes of scott pruitt

 
 
 
Old Hermit
Sophomore Quiet
4.2  seeder  Old Hermit  replied to  Kavika @4    4 years ago
If you look up flunky in the dictionary, there is a photo of Pruitt.

How has this President been able to find SO MANY appointees that end up being both ethical challenged AND so incompetent as to be completely unfit for the job they're in.

.

“In their rush to get things done, they’re failing to dot their i’s and cross their t’s. And they’re starting to stumble over a lot of trip wires,” said Richard Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard. “They’re producing a lot of short, poorly crafted rule makings that are not likely to hold up in court.”

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
4.2.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Old Hermit @4.2    4 years ago
How has this President been able to find SO MANY appointees that end up being both ethical challenged AND so incompetent as to be completely unfit for the job they're in.

He uses himself as the qualifying criteria for hiring others in his administration. And it shows just how unfit he is himself.

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
Masters Quiet
5  igknorantzrulz    4 years ago

whom ever he hired to head an administration or committee, was most likely the antithesis poster child for said position, yet , the GOP was fine with them.

what a bad joke he, and the entire administration has been for our country.

I don't think the gop is gonna be laughing come November

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
5.1  Raven Wing  replied to  igknorantzrulz @5    4 years ago
I don't think the gop is gonna be laughing come November

It appears that the GOP candidates are now distancing themselves from Trump.  Eh....at least until after the mid-terms, then it will be back to business as usual. But, not sure that will work for them this time. 

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
6  MrFrost    4 years ago
Since taking the helm of E.P.A., Mr. Pruitt has barnstormed the country, meeting with farmers, coal miners and local leaders and promising an end to his predecessor’s regulatory approach. He also has favored closed-door policy speeches to conservative think tanks, like the Heritage Foundation, to roll out policy initiatives.

So he only talked to people that would tell him they support his 'destroy the environment' agenda. What an asshat. Not shocking though, this is the guy that literally has tried to ban the word, "science" in any and all instances with regards to the EPA. 

"What? Science proves that I am wrong over and over again????!!!!!! Well hell, we will just get rid of those stupid scientific facts and go with what makes me more money!!!!". 

Scott Pruitt, Epic Dumbass. 

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
6.1  Raven Wing  replied to  MrFrost @6    4 years ago

Like Trump.....money is the only thing that matters, and the more in their own pockets the better. America's environment will replenish itself within days of being destroyed and depleted. Right? 

After all, its just a lot of dirt, so who cares about tomorrow, today is the only thing that counts. Let those who come after us suffer the consequences of what we do today. It's their problem. Right?

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
6.1.2  MrFrost  replied to  Raven Wing @6.1    4 years ago
After all, its just a lot of dirt, so who cares about tomorrow, today is the only thing that counts. Let those who come after us suffer the consequences of what we do today. It's their problem. Right?

That's their attitude for sure. In about 20 years when the climate change deniers can no longer deny that global warming is a reality, I wonder what their excuse will be? "Well, the left never said anything about it!!!!!". Or, "It's all Obama's fault!!!!!!!". 

These science deniers are just plain dumb. 

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
6.1.4  MrFrost  replied to    4 years ago

Yea, that ice age was canceled because we started dumping Co2 into the atmosphere. Had we not, and started a long time ago respecting the environment we live in, we wouldn't be worried about global warming today. 

Look, it's really not that complex of a problem. Is Co2 a greenhouse gas? Yes, we have known that for decades. How do we get the Co2 out of the air? Easy, plants and trees love it, they turn it into breathable O2. Problem? We keep cutting trees down, all over the world, to make room for more humans, which release more Co2. So what happens when you increase the output of Co2, and decrease the ability to get rid of it? The planet begins to get warmer and warmer. It's basic science. Not complex at all. Co2 emissions aren't a problem? If you say so. 

203_co2graph021116.jpeg

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
6.1.5  Raven Wing  replied to  MrFrost @6.1.2    4 years ago

"These science deniers are just plain dumb. "

Those people are just the tip of the iceberg to the overall problem. What Trump and the current EPA is allowing big oil and corporate earth rapers to do to our country is worse, as the destruction and devastation that is being done to our environment and Mother Earth with the blessings of our government that can not be undone in millions of years, if ever, is totally unconscionable. Part of the global change is also due to the raping of Mother Earth, that is our provider in so many ways and is necessary to sustain life on this planet. Polluting our waters, destroying the habitats of wildlife, forcing many to become extinct.

All for the almighty dollar that is the only GOD of those who have no care for what they do to future generations. Each and every living thing on this earth has a purpose, and contributes to human survival in its own way. 

We do not own this world, we are merely borrowing it from our Grandchildren. 

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
6.1.6  Raven Wing  replied to    4 years ago
We have DEQ in every state the EPA is not needed.

Which agency do you think has the greater authority? Federal or state? thinking

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
6.1.7  MrFrost  replied to  Raven Wing @6.1.5    4 years ago
We do not own this world, we are merely borrowing it from our Grandchildren.

Very true. These deniers are so short sighted it's scary. "Well, it won't affect me in my lifetime so I don't care!!!", that's literally their attitude. Makes me sick. I would like my kids to have a clean environment, and grand kids, and their kids. The sad thing is? We are probably already past the tipping point of being able to actually do anything, (which of course the cons will just use as an excuse to do nothing). 

.

Saw an interesting statistic... If you take all the power, since the dawn of man, every match, lighter, campfire to nuclear power plants and add it all up? The sun puts out that much energy every 1/10th of a second. And it's free. Just have to harvest it and it's byproduct doesn't harm the environment at all, (because there is no byproduct). So why exactly is the right still pushing coal and oil? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ That's why. There is no money to be made in solar energy. 

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
6.1.10  Raven Wing  replied to    4 years ago
it was DEQ in my state of VA that found it not the EPA.

That is why we have a backup agency. However, my point is, the EPA will take precedence over the state DEQ when push comes to shove, whether it is right or wrong. The EPA we have now is in the wrong, but, it will supersede a state agency in the end. The jerk-off in charge of the EPA now has no clue what the heck he is doing, and merely looking out for his own best monetary agenda at taxpayers and environment expense. The EPA will be challenged by those who are only interested in their own monetary gain, and there is nothing to say that the DEQ can't be bought as well when there is enough money to be had.

Anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows this to be true. Only when select entities are made to stop raping and pillaging our environment for their own gain will be ever see any possible chance of a modicum of recovery and stability. 

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
7  Release The Kraken    4 years ago

The trick to getting liberals on your side is to subsidize bogus green energy companies and pretend to believe Al Gore is Nostradamus.

#Manbearpig

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Principal
7.1  MrFrost  replied to  Release The Kraken @7    4 years ago
Al Gore

Al is a politician, not a climatologist. That being said, I would bet his shit knows more about climate change than any dirty conservative. 

 
 

Who is online

Ender
Right Down the Center
squiggy
Sparty On
JBB


40 visitors