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Saturday, March 10, 2018

The world of the worst EPA chief in history

Image result for scott pruitt cone of silenceWhen Scott Pruitt isn’t spending your money on extravagant getaways to Morocco for himself a few dozen friends, or busy dodging the dirty hippies at the back of the plane, he spends the taxpayer dime on an ever increasing stack of ridiculous security measures. 

These include: installing an extra security card system inside the EPA’s existing security system for double-plus good security, hiring at least 30 personal bodyguards because attacks on cabinet officials have happened never, clearing an entire floor of the EPA for his personal use, having his offices swept for bugs, and installing a special “cone of silence” within his office—and yes, that last part is exactly as ridiculous as it was on Get Smart

And then, because as the head of a public agency, Pruit has dedicated himself to never, ever letting the public know what he’s doing, he regularly leaves his office to make phone calls from some random other office. 

Naturally, Pruitt takes these steps because everything he’s doing at the EPA is entirely on the up-and-up. Nothing says “honest and open” like conducting business in a custom $25,000 soundproof booth.

The openness of Pruitt’s EPA is also reflected in just how open they’ve been with the information they collect—an openness that’s led to a record number of Freedom of Information lawsuits against the locked-down agency.

The suits have come from open government groups, environmentalists and even conservative organizations that have run into a wall trying to pry information out of Pruitt’s agency. 

The documents they’re seeking involve a broad swath of decisions, ranging from EPA’s reversals of the Obama administration’s landmark climate change and water rules to pesticide approvals and plans for dealing with the nation’s most polluted toxic waste sites.

Pruitt has spent America’s money hiding this public information from the public, that now he’s spending more to defend his secrecy in court. Already the EPA is facing more lawsuits than it did over the whole eight years of the Obama administration.

Even the Bush administration EPA was only dragged into court 57 times over eight years, a number that Pruitt is set to match in record time.

All told, plaintiffs have filed 55 public records lawsuits against EPA since Trump's inauguration, according to POLITICO's review of a database of cases compiled by The FOIA Project, an initiative run by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

Pruitt’s office has actually closed 79 percent of the FOIA requests to reach Pruitt’s super-secret desk. But “closed” may not be as satisfying as it sounds.

Closed cases include those in which EPA either provided some or all of the requested documents or declined to provide them.

So a request comes in to the EPA, Pruitt denies the request, and … case closed. And there’s one particular area of information that the EPA has guarded most zealously: Information about what the hell Scott Pruitt is up to.

Pruitt's office has closed only about 17 percent of the requests that deal specifically with his activities.

Because all America really needs to know about Scott Pruitt is that he’s on a mission from God.
Pruitt believes God commands us to take care of the environment and that also means to use what 

He has provided. "The biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we've been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind."

What Pruitt means here is that God says mine all the coal and drill all the oil, even though neither mining, drilling or any sort of fossil fuel pops up in the discussion. But maybe Pruitt is getting some new instructions from above that have been denied to the rest of humanity. 

Maybe a Freedom of Information request would help.