July 6, 2018

Pruitt’s Out of EPA

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

by Chris Thomas

Image by DonkeHotey

Scott Pruitt has resigned his position as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, bringing to a close perhaps the most cartoonishly inept corruption scandal to plague the Executive Branch since the Grant Administration tried to use the federal treasury to bribe Congress into doubling the President’s pay, leading to the Twenty-Seventh Amendment.

What does this mean?

Pruitt’s resignation puts Andrew Wheeler, the Deputy EPA Administrator, in the Big Chair at the agency pending a Senate confirmation (which he doesn’t need for about 200 days). Wheeler’s confirmation is likely to be an easy one; while both Wheeler and Pruitt would make fantastic “Captain Planet” villains, it is corruption rather than stewardship of the environment that the Republican Senate majority will be concerned with. The upcoming Supreme Court confirmation fight will almost certainly suck all of the oxygen out of the upper chamber so Wheeler will skate by without much fuss.

That said, Pruitt’s departure is a big win for Trump’s critics. Pruitt’s efforts to weaken the EPA faced an uphill court battle and, unlike his boss, Pruitt’s scandals seemed to accumulate in the public consciousness as they piled up. The result was a tsunami of public outrage which ultimately even the Trump Administration and its complicit Congress was unable to ignore.

Tell Congress What You Think

With the climate warming the EPA is more important than ever but the Trump administration is bound and determined to double-down on the fossil fuel industry. If you care about the direction the EPA is taking you can write to your Senators by sending the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to make a difference.

Who should I write to?

Every Senator votes on confirmation hearings so write yours and tell him or her what you think and what questions you want asked. Unfortunately, Pruitt’s Senate Confirmation was a straight party-line vote…. almost. Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the lone dissenting Republican. Of course, at the time that didn’t matter, but if Democrats held firm and she were to vote against Wheeler that would be enough to sink his nomination.

Key Targets

  • Joe Manchin III (D) — West Virginia. Manchin is a coal man from a coal state though; he’s unlikely to oppose Wheeler
  • Heidi Heitkamp (D)— North Dakota. North Dakota’s coal output is 9th in the nation. Still, plenty of Senators from states further up that list voted against Pruitt
  • Susan Collins (R)— Maine. Perhaps the only independent thinker left in the GOP. We shall see.
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