West Virginia Manufacturers Association (whose major member is Dow Chemical) wants to do something about the frequent "boil water" advisories in the state: specifically, they want to relax the criteria that results in water being declared unsafe to drink, on the ground that West Virginians are so overweight that they can absorb more dangerous substances before reaching unhealthy concentrations of them; and besides, West Virginians don't drink much water, anyway. Read the rest
The GOP-led U.S. Senate today confirmed ex-coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to run Environmental Protection Agency, in a 52-47 vote mostly along party lines. Read the rest
Acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler has been caught --yet again-- engaging with racist and conspiracy theory posts on social media. He pooh-poohed questions about online interactions he had with a Pizzagater, and tells a reporter he doesn’t remember liking a racist picture of the Obamas. Read the rest
President Trump's corrupt EPA chief is out. The resignation letter is nuts, and mentions God's divine providence and other creepy surreal stuff that doesn't belong. Read the rest
A startling and quite wonderful ... article? ... at the Washington Post today, wherein Alexandra Petri lenses EPA chief Scott Pruit's corruption through a mockingly science-fictional eye and perfectly distills the surreal horror of his administration.
Have you seen what happens when you leave an earthworm in the sun on hot asphalt? Have you seen what happens to the things that live in a wetland when that swamp dries up? Have you seen a salamander who has been too long in a hot car? Have you seen a lobster without its shell?
Unrelatedly, we must find Scott Pruitt his lotion.
Scott Pruitt must be seated at the front of the plane, behind the little curtain. Perhaps a private jet would be better, all things considered. It would be safer. None must see what happens when he reaches 30,000 feet.
What will happen?
Nothing, nothing! Naturally.
I hope you like my GIF; they gave me my Wacom back on the express condition I not make any more of these but, well, here we are, in 2018, and all.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt -- the target of over a dozen ongoing investigations into improper behavior -- was having lunch at a restaurant yesterday with his security detail in tow when a woman holding her two-year-old approached him and told him that he was an awful protector of the environment and urged him to resign, "before your scandals push you out." Pruitt had nothing to say. He just got up and left.
EPA head Scott Pruitt was 3 tables away as I ate lunch with my child. I had to say something," Kristin Mink posted on Facebook with an accompanying video of her encounter with Pruitt.
Mink, who is a schoolteacher according to her Facebook profile, lists off multiple scandals Pruitt has been ensnared in since becoming EPA chief, including the rental of a Capitol Hill condo owned by the wife of an influential lobbyist. "We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, someone who believes in climate change and takes it seriously for the benefit of all us, including our children," Mink said.
"I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out."
Scandal-haunted EPA chairman Scott Pruitt has billed the American public for $4.6 million for his "security," a roster of expenses than includes a supply of "tactical pants" purchased for the low price of $1,500 (he also spent about $900 on matching "tactical polos"). Read the rest
Most politicians are smart enough to stick their snouts in the trough when no one is looking. EPA head Scott Pruitt is one of the dumb ones. His pea-sized brain would rattle in his skull if it wasn't cushioned by an enormous ego, one that causes him to think he's a famous and important person who needs to be protected from all the little people out to get him. Hence the first class and chartered flights, the luxury hotels, the soundproof offices, and the 24/7 security detail. It's gross overreach for a man whose only job is to hand over the department he runs to companies that want the freedom to eject pollutants into the air and water.
I barely had time to get over being squicked out by the news that Pruitt ordered a staffer to procure for him a used mattress from one of Trump's hotels, when I learned that Pruitt used his expensive security detail to drive him to different hotels in a desperate search for a certain kind of special moisturizer he is fond of and is available at Ritz-Carltons.
I'll bet the manufacturer of the lotion is terrified over being outed. Sales would tank. It might even spell the death of the company.
Read the rest
The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that Pruitt has also tasked subordinates during work hours with getting snacks for him, including Greek yogurt and cookies, citing four sources familiar with the work environment at EPA.
One individual told the Daily Beast, "I can't tell you how many times I was sent out to get protein bars" at Pruitt's request.
The video below makes it clear that EPA head Scott Pruitt has learned from his boss how to defend himself when people call him out for breaking laws and wasting extravagant sums of taxpayer money -- make no apology, make no sense, attack the accusers, and hide behind religion and patriotism.
Here's Pruitt's response after reporter Jessica Smith asked him about the revelation that he ordered one of his staffers to set up a meeting with the head of Chick-fil-A with the intention of securing a franchise for his wife:
“With great change comes, you know, I think, opposition. I mean, there’s significant change that’s happening across — not only at the EPA but across this administration, and it’s needed. Look, my wife is an entrepreneur herself. I love, she loves, we love — Chick-fil-A is a franchise of faith, and it’s one of the best in the country, and so that’s something we were very excited about. So — we need more of them in Tulsa, and we need more of them across the country.”
No matter what Pruitt is saying here, his actions were in violation of at least two federal laws:
Read the rest
Federal ethics laws bar public officials from using their position or staff for private gain. A Cabinet-level official using his perch to contact a company CEO about a job for his wife “raises the specter of misuse of public office,” said Don Fox, who was head of the federal Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration.
Embattled EPA Director Scott Pruitt went on national TV to announce on behalf of the US government that "I would not agree [CO2 is] a primary contributor to the global warming that we see... There’s a tremendous disagreement about the degree of the impact [of] human activity on the climate." Read the rest
Last year, one of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's aides ordered a dozen $130 fountain pens paid for with taxpayer money, according to new documents that the Sierra Club retrieved through a Freedom of Information Act request. The pens were emblazoned with the EPA seal and Pruitt's signature. From CNN:
The order from the Washington shop Tiny Jewel Box also included a set of journals that cost $1,670.Read the rest
An agency spokesman did not respond to a request for comment from CNN. But spokesman Jahan Wilcox told The Washington Post, which first reported the pen purchase, they were similar to purchases made by Pruitt's predecessors "for the purpose of serving as gifts to the Administrator's foreign counterparts and dignitaries upon his meeting with them."
The purchase stands out not only for the cost but also because it was approved by a close aide who Pruitt described in congressional testimony last month as "longtime friend."
On May 1, 2017 Nino Perrotta, "Acting" Special Agent in Charge of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s personal security detail, wrote a memo to justify his boss's flagrantly wasteful travel habits. Perrotta wrote, “We have observed and increased awareness and at times lashing out from passengers which occurs while the Administrator is seated in coach with PSD [his personal security detail] not easily accessible to him due to uncontrolled full flights."
Does the above sentence even make sense? I guess it's the best we can expect from a gentleman whose describes himself as "Acting" Special Agent in Charge. An Acting Special Agent in Charge might held to a higher standard than an "Acting" Special Agent in Charge, but who knows -- anything is possible in the Trump "administration."
"Therefore," the "Acting" Special Agent in Charge continues, "we believe that the continued use of coach seats for the Administrator would endanger his life and therefore respectfully ask that he be placed in either business or first class accommodations.”
You'd think Perrotta's request would include specific examples of "lashing out," but there is nothing of the kind in the 87-word memo. Apparently, "Acting" Special Agents in Charge don't need to provide examples. They simply "act" and things get approved.
Eventually, examples of "threats" against Pruitt were released to the public.
From The Washington Post:
Read the rest
Documents released Monday to the Post, the New York Times and BuzzFeed in response to public records requests show that the EPA was working on 33 threat investigations as of mid-March.
Even by Trump administration standards, Scott Pruitt is a fucking mess, and as his day of reckoning looms, his staff are doing everything they can to take the heat off their boss, which is why Pruitt press-staffer Michael Abboud approached multiple reporters to give them dirt on Pruitt archrival Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Read the rest