EPA Chief Scott Pruitt: Trump’s Most Effective Regulation Slayer
By Leslie Eastman
March 5, 2018 - I have a startling admission to make: I do believe global warming is making a comeback. Why? Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chief Administrator Scott Pruitt’s rollback of senseless regulations warms my heart so much that I am sure it has raised the global temperature average!
To begin with, the EPA is now scrapping Obama-era rules tightening restrictions on the disposal of coal ash, the byproduct from coal-fired power plants.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt billed the new proposal as a bid to give states more independence over coal ash disposal, though he moved to reconsider the 2015 regulation in September at the request of fossil fuel utilities.
. . . . “Today’s coal ash proposal embodies EPA’s commitment to our state partners by providing them with the ability to incorporate flexibilities into their coal ash permit programs based on the needs of their states,” Pruitt said in a statement.
In part, the composition of coal ash is variable based on the coal that is actually burnt, so the enhanced flexibility makes sense. Furthermore, as Obama’s stated goal was to put coal plants out of business, removing rules designed to expedite that result is commendable.
As if that wasn’t enough to warm my heart, the EPA announced new actions to reduce the negative impacts of Obama administration’s methane emission rules.
The EPA said the two actions would reduce “significant and immediate compliance concerns” for the industry, while reducing “burdens” on state environmental agencies and saving millions of dollars in compliance costs.
Bill Wehrum, the EPA’s recently appointed air pollution chief, described the actions as the first steps in addressing the broader methane regulations imposed by the Obama administration on new wells.
He anticipates that the agency will take future actions to dismantle the methane regulations, including addressing the question of whether emissions from oil wells should be regulated.
…The first amendment updates a requirement that all leaking components of a well be repaired during unplanned or emergency shutdowns. The second amendment covers the emissions monitoring surveys that drillers are required to perform on Alaska’s North Slope, the heart of U.S. oil operations in the Arctic.
The agency is also looking at proposals to withdraw the Obama EPA’s “control techniques guidelines” for drillers, which Wehrum noted would save the industry between $14 million and $16 million in costs from 2021-2035.
Because Pruitt has been so effective, he has been the target of significant security threats. As a result, he adjusted his travel plans to address the safety concerns. Subsequently, there was more outrageous outrage directed at the EPA Chief over his travel needs.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt says he will start flying coach after a series of news reports drew attention to his high-cost travel habits.
In response to those reports, the EPA said Pruitt had flown first or business class on the recommendation of his security detail. That advice followed several unspecified incidents during previous trips and an unusual number of threats leveled at the Trump appointee.
“These threats have been unprecedented from the very beginning, and the quantity and type are unprecedented,” Pruitt said in an interview with CBS News.
“I have a responsibility to listen to those individuals that are charged with the obligation to keep me safe and to keep the employees at the agency safe, and I listen to them.”
But Pruitt told CBS News he has instructed his security team to explore other options.
However, the green justice drama has not stopped Pruitt from flying coach and heading on a “listening tour” related to Clean Power Plan rules.
These meetings are designed to allow Pruitt to receive both favorable and unfavorable comments from those who have to comply with EPA regulations. The EPA is grappling with how to properly regulate emissions from power plants without killing thousands of jobs or forcing Americans to pay double-digit increases in their energy bills.
The administration will decide on how to address the Clean Power Plan rules once the review process is concluded.
The press is currently bickering over how many regulations the Trump Administration has actually ended. No matter the final count, you can be sure Pruitt will be able to claim credit for many of the newly defunct rules.
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