In a story as old as the hills, the progressive machine has placed Scott Pruitt in its sites while ignoring far greater scandals at the EPA when Barack Obama was president. Pruitt, Trump’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has gotten on the bad side of the Left for having the temerity to demand that regulations be based on actual science. For this heresy, Pruitt now faces the dirt-digging machine of Media Matters for America, among many others in the progressive galaxy.
Funny, that progressive machine, along with its media cronies, was conspicuously silent while the Obama EPA endured some of the biggest scandals in the history of the agency.
Pruitt has kept himself busy overhauling the EPA, reversing several high-profile regulations implemented by the Obama administration. The progressive machine has fought back, not by making a rational case to keep common sense rules in place, but by resorting to mudslinging, dirt digging, and character assassination. Weakening your opponent and making him vulnerable to firing is easier than refuting a logical argument, after all.
Just as one example, Media Matters has pumped out over 50 articles targeting Pruitt since December 2016. This, of course, has helped drive the narrative in the sympathetic, left-leaning mainstream media. Now, the dirt-digging machine of the Left has found what it believes to be several smoking guns of corruption in Pruitt’s EPA: excessive expenses in Pruitt’s security detail, and a questionable condo rental deal from a lobbyist. Of course, it didn’t take long for a coalition of radical environmental groups, funded by the leftist Billionaire’s Club, to mount a TV ad buy and social media campaign to #BootPruitt.
Why, it’s almost as if this whole campaign were being coordinated from beginning to end.
It’s as predictable as it is hypocritical. The media steadfastly refused to cover absurd scandals in the Obama EPA, and the likes of David Brock and Tom Steyer remained completely silent as they used their money and influence to radically alter EPA regulations behind the scenes. Pruitt’s transgressions pale in comparison.
Here now, a sampling of the Obama EPA scandals that many want you to forget while they continue to attack Scott Pruitt.
1. FOIA requests denied for conservatives, accelerated for radical environmentalists
In his new book, The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama, Matt Margolis points out,
The EPA granted fee waivers to 75 of 82 FOIA requests by green groups for a 92 percent approval rate. But it denied or ignored 21 of 26 fee waivers requests by conservative groups for an 81 percent denial rate. Every denial was overturned on appeal.
2. Lisa Jackson has an alter ego
Remember Richard Windsor? That was the name chosen by Obama’s EPA chief, Lisa Jackson, when she wanted to use personal email to coordinate her efforts with radical environmental groups without any oversight. This subterfuge was discovered by Chris Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Horner has used FOIA requests relentlessly to unearth government agencies operating outside of their designed roles. Jackson was forced to resign over the scandal.
3. Animas River spill
In August 2015, the EPA caused a 3 million gallon leak of contaminated water from a defunct mine near Silverton, Colo., which turned the Animas River yellow. The wastewater contained lead, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium, zinc, iron, copper, and other heavy metal and chemical contaminants. The EPA failed to notify local residents of their operation until after the spill, which affected drinking water, farms, ranches, fish, and everything else that relies on that river. The EPA delayed notifying the public of the blowout, exacerbating the problem. Subsequent FOIA requests revealed that the EPA knew of the risk of a blowout and failed to take the proper steps to avoid it. To date, the EPA has refused to pay $1.3 billion in claims by affected residents.
4. Particulate matter regulations
In the 1990s, the EPA created the particulate matter regulations that defined levels of particulate matter in the air as toxic pollutants. Since then, the agency has used this precedent to create all sorts of other regulations. The only problem? The rule was based on data from the 1970s that was unable to be duplicated, unable to be analyzed because it was lost, and failed to account for a significant numer of variables. In other words, there was no science behind this rule. Regardless, the EPA continued to use these regulations to place significant burdens on businesses and municipalities, while also using these regulations as the model for the Obama attack on coal-fired power plants.
5. The curious case of John Beale
In 2013, EPA bureaucrat John Beale was convicted of defrauding the government of almost $900,000 in unearned salary and bonuses. Most observers believe the amount was much higher. After writing the particulate matter regulations, Beale became a sort of demi-god at the EPA. Being incapable of doing wrong, he created elaborate lies about being a CIA agent, needing a special parking space after contracting malaria in Vietnam, and skipping work to go to Langley for meetings with his handlers. The Obama administration relied on Beale, the highest paid employee at EPA at the time, as an expert on climate change—despite his utter lack of training on the issue.
6. Sue and settle
Beale had his hand in another fishy tactic utilized by the EPA. The creation of the particulate matter regulations came about as a result of the first instance of “sue and settle,” in which friendly bureaucrats negotiate settlements with activist groups. In the case of the particulate matter regulations, the American Lung Association had sued the EPA to expedite the creation of the regulations, and a court order imposed a deadline on the agency. The Obama administration stuffed the EPA with former employees of radical environmental organizations, and then put them in charge of negotiating settlements when those organizations sued. This allowed the EPA to bypass the normal rulemaking process with congressional oversight because they were under court order. Incidentally, Pruitt put an end to this practice in October 2017, another reason he’s been targeted for destruction by the Left.
So, in conclusion, before anyone tells you that Scott Pruitt is a historically corrupt Republican doing the bidding of corporate polluters, or whatever the talking point is today, remind them of recent history.
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the forthcoming book, Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy, due out Fall 2018. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @ChargerJeff.