The worst decision that President Trump has made so far is appointing Scott Pruitt the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Pruitt’s biggest sin, and one that should make anyone worried about the direction the EPA is taking, was revealed shortly before Halloween, when he stripped six EPA scientists of their advisory positions and banned most scientists from advising the EPA and performing research for them. It is equivalent to saying that the National Weather Service cannot hire weather forecasters. What is the point of having an agency that protects the environment if they lack the knowledge to do so?
Consequences of cutting advisors
Pruitt’s cuts are in advisory positions only, but the EPA does not hire their own scientists or perform their own research. The agency sends grants to academic researchers, like the ones at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and those individuals perform the research for the EPA as a way of advising their policy decisions.
Cutting those ties means the EPA will lose valuable information when faced with pivotal decisions, and risk replacing that information with the motivations of companies with conflicts of interest (like the coal industry). This could lead to more pollution in our air and water, which could increase the number of people who die each year from pollution.
It may be a conspiracy theory to think that Pruitt would listen to the coal industry, especially considering their product goes against everything the EPA stands for. However, it is not unreasonable to rethink this when one evaluates Pruitt’s background.
The reason that Scott Pruitt was a horrible choice to lead the EPA in the first place is because Pruitt had received almost a quarter of a million dollars from the fossil fuel industry when he was Oklahoma’s Attorney General. He has denied the scientific consensus of climate change in the past, and he has also sued the EPA 14 times for doing their job. Why would you hire someone to lead an agency if he wants to see that agency die a horrible death?
What needs to happen
Aside from removing the EPA’s ban on academic advisement and research, and reversing dozens of other horrible decisions, Pruitt needs to be fired immediately. His actions are leading the EPA and America into a potential crisis that could cause American deaths.
Pruitt has made it clear that he is looking after Americans first. But if that is the case, he needs to stop kissing up to the fossil fuel industry, admit that carbon dioxide is the leading contributor to climate change and do his job.
The EPA is responsible for protecting the environment, especially at a time when the Earth is on the brink of environmental catastrophe. If Pruitt will not do those three things, then he has both failed at his job and potentially brought the entire Earth down with him.