Image via official Bristol Bay Borough site
Crescenta Valley High School

Editorial: Scott Pruitt, EPA change policies for the worse

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the body that enforces and manages national regulations to protect the environment as well as the health of the American people.

With the presidency of Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt was appointed as the Administrator of the EPA, replacing Regina McCarthy. Pruitt is a Republican who was previously the Attorney General of Oklahoma. As Attorney General, he sued the EPA a total of 14 times. Nevertheless, he officially took his position as EPA Administrator earlier this year on Feb. 17.

Since his induction, Pruitt has been hard at work proposing reversals and cutbacks to new and existing EPA policies. He has begun to reevaluate dozens of regulations in an attempt to shut them down, and for many, he has been successful. The decades of combat necessary to build some of these policies have been eradicated in just a few short hours.

For instance, in October, Pruitt announced that the EPA would be withdrawing protection of Bristol Bay, Alaska in favor of an open-pit mine three times larger than the largest one in the world, Bingham Canyon in Utah. Bristol Bay is a nearly pristine wild salmon fishery with a delicate environmental balance that keeps its ecosystem providing the Alaskan fish industry close to 50 million salmon a year. The mine would inevitably cause irreversible destruction to the bay and forever disrupt the salmon spawning process to the point where the net yield would be zero, thus one of the most important salmon resources in the world would be permanently depleted.

In addition, Pruitt is known for being a strong critic of the scientific fact of climate change, a fundamental that the EPA had established at the forefront during the Obama administration. Pruitt has since reduced the enforcement of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, lessening regulations wherever he is able to. He has also overruled the recommendations of his own staff, ignored proven scientific research, and refused to acknowledge several environmental dangers. This has caused controversy in not only the media and concerned citizens, but also Pruitt’s own staff of environmental experts who are shocked at the almost immediate detrimental results of his appointment.

Aside from having removed the climate change page from the EPA website, Pruitt has also ruled that evidence and research is no longer necessary for a variety of environmental issues.

However, with Trump’s behavior regarding the Paris Climate Accords, a climate change agreement from which he has announced the withdrawal of the United States, it is not surprising that he would appoint Pruitt, an experienced lawyer and now, renowned anti-environmentalist.

It is apparent that Pruitt has a plan to dramatically deregulate the very programs and policies that keep the United States from environmental turmoil. According to many, the EPA is in trouble, and there must be an intervention to save the precious remainder of the nation from damage and destruction.