Yesterday, President Trump signed a new executive order designed to make it harder for states to protect the environment, all in the name of getting out of the way of corporations that want to build new projects that could harm the environment.
Since Trump has spent the first year of his administration wiping out environmental protections one after another and continues to deny the science of climate change, why is this surprising?
The executive order issued as instructions to his pal, Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental PROTECTION Agency (EPA), is intended to change the way the EPA determines whether states are meeting federal air-quality standards.
The measure imposes stricter deadlines for EPA approval of state plans and changes the way air pollutants are measured.
The Washington Post quoted John Walke, who directs the clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, as saying that the executive order prescribes measures “intended to allow more air pollution, or abbreviated air quality reviews that risk more air pollution, or both.”
The order, which was signed with no public announcement and has had limited media coverage, could have far-reaching implications on the nation as Trump and Pruitt continue their attack on Obama-era initiatives to protect the environment and combat climate change.
I found the reference to the executive order near the end the Post's article detailing Pruitt's arrogant ripoffs of the taxpayers in his travels and other ridiculous activities, such as demanding construction of a $43,000 soundproof phone booth for his office -- just another example of how Trump, rather than "draining" the Washington swamp, has filled it with rats and snakes.
The article was based on allegations by an EPA whistleblower, Kevin Chmielewski, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations at the Environmental Protection Agency until last month. He is now alleging that Pruitt engaged in spending excesses and questionable ethics decisions, which he has outlined in detail.
That action prompted five Congressional Democrats to detail his accusations in a six-page letter that revealed stays in boutique hotels that exceeded federal spending caps, frequent trips home to Oklahoma charged to taxpayers, and costly flights on Delta Air Lines so he could maximize his frequent-flier miles.
In a letter to Pruitt, the lawmakers declared, “The new information provided by Mr. Chmielewski, if accurate, leaves us certain that your leadership at EPA has been fraught with unethical and potentially illegal actions on a wide range of consequential matters that you and some members of your staff directed.” The lawmakers requested a long list of documents from the agency.
According to The Post, Trump originally intended to sign his executive order with Pruitt in attendance, but that plan was shelved after the latest ethics charges against the EPA boss became public.