Admin. Scott Pruitt Aims to Accelerate His Efforts to Remake the Environmental Protection AgencyWed, 17 Jan 2018 16:43:24 CST
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt plans to use his second year on the job to accelerate efforts to remake the agency, saying he wants to speed its permitting processes and transform a culture he says is bureaucratic.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Pruitt outlined the changes he is looking to make in year two: repealing and rewriting Obama-era rules for power plant emissions, speeding up the EPA’s permit review process, implementing weekly performance assessments across the agency and fostering a public debate about climate change.
Mr. Pruitt has long questioned the scientific consensus that human activities are a significant factor in rising global temperatures and severe weather, and pose a potential existential threat to life on Earth in decades to come.
Discussing his plans for the year, Mr. Pruitt emphasized the importance of moving quickly. “There’s tremendous opportunity to show really significant results to the American people in a really short time frame,” Mr. Pruitt said.
In his first year on the job, the former Oklahoma attorney general swiftly repealed several of former President Barack Obama’s signature policies and encouraged President Donald Trump to pursue a withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Mr. Trump announced his intention to exit from the agreement in June.
Mr. Pruitt has memorialized the moment in his office with a framed photo of the two of them in the Rose Garden and the president’s autograph on Mr. Pruitt’s prepared remarks, “Scott-Great Job!”
Going forward, Mr. Pruitt wants to use metrics to measure the weekly performance of every EPA office and wants final permit decisions completed within six months. He already has a multicolored pyramid diagram outlining his plan to streamline the agency’s bureaucracy and organizational workflow.
“That’s the thing that’s been so striking to me as I’ve come into this position…is just the lack of focus and lack of energy and lack of commitment to actually get results,” said Mr. Pruitt, speaking during a 30-minute interview in his wood-paneled office this week. “We have permits that literally are sitting on a shelf, and just sitting there because there’s just no attention, no leadership, no direction. It’s that simple.” …
The EPA chief also said he believes the agency exceeded its legal mandate under President Barack Obama in creating new rules for power plants in the name of slowing the pace of climate change. “This agency for years has speculated about harm that may be happening 100 years from now as opposed to what’s right in their own backyard,” said Mr. Pruitt.
In 2018, he said he plans to spend 2018 focusing on cleaning up toxic sites in the Superfund program and with what he calls “the war on lead.”
“I really believe that we can eradicate lead from our drinking supply within a decade. We just have to get serious about it,” Mr. Pruitt said. “We haven’t been focused and urgent about the things that matter and can impact people’s health today, and we need to do that.”
Click here to read the full story from the Wall Street Journal.
Source - Eli Stokols and Timothy Puko, The Wall Street Journal
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