The EPA may be the agency that best exemplifies the drastic change from the Obama administration to the Trump administration. Administrator Scott Pruitt has focused on advocating for the growth of the fossil fuel sector far more than regulating it, he is working to quickly roll back Obama-era regulations in the air and water sectors, and he’s proposing deep budget cuts across the EPA that, if enacted, would dramatically alter its mission. Mr. Pruitt’s agenda has been met with strong support from some industry sectors and stinging criticism from the environmental community and large segments of the public. It’s hard to imagine a starker contrast between Administrator Pruitt and his predecessor, Gina McCarthy.
But the lesser reported story is that Mr. Pruitt is also attempting to distinguish his leadership from that of his predecessors in an affirmative way—through his stated ‘‘back-to-basics agenda.’’ That means promoting improved timelines on Superfund cleanups, initiating a ‘‘war on lead,’’ and maybe even expanding support for criminal enforcement, which has continued to shrink under his watch. Whether his back-to-basics approach is ultimately successful, or merely an effort at burnishing his reputation, remains an open question.
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Reproduced with permission from Daily Environment Report, 49 DEN 22, 3/13/18. Copyright 2018 by The Bureau
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