By Natalia Castro
The left has spent more than a decade trying to expand the influence and oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but the American people voted against this influence when they elected President Trump to prioritize economic advancement. Trump followed through on this promise by appointing Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator. The left is now trying everything to destroy his position and defame his record, but Pruitt must power through, his job is far too important.
Last year, nearly every Republican and two Democrats voted to confirm Pruitt. North Dakota Senate Democrat Heidi Heitkamp explained, “Once Mr. Pruitt is confirmed to lead EPA, I’ll work to make sure EPA focuses on smart regulation and works with states and local communities to address issues like the unworkable Waters of the U.S. rule and the punitive final Clean Power Plan rules.”
And this is exactly what Pruitt has done. Under Pruitt’s leadership in the last year, the EPA has begun receiving public comments to replace the Clean Power Plan and blocked the implementation of the Waters of the U.S. rule . Both of these Obama-era initiatives dramatically expanded the EPA’s influence over local waterways and implemented emissions regulations to “combat climate change,” and as a consequence, close businesses ruled environmentally hazardous.
Pruitt has been integral in implementing the conservative agenda of President Trump, and it terrifies liberals. So the left has resorted to character attacks.
Democrats, such as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), have been quick to blast Pruitt for his expenditures on increased security this year, not realizing, they are the reason for the cost.
Pruitt and his entire family have received an unprecedented number of direct threats to their life.
The EPA’s assistant inspector general for investigations, Patrick Sullivan, told CNN on Nov. 2017, “We have at least four times — four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against [Obama’s EPA Chief] Ms. McCarthy… They run the variety of direct death threats — ‘I’m going to put a bullet in your brain’ — to implied threats — ‘if you don’t classify this particular chemical in this particular way, I’m going to hurt you.’”
Additionally, the Washington Examiner reported on Feb. 2018; the EPA currently has 70 open probes into threats against Pruitt and his family. This has caused the EPA’s Criminal Investigations Division to provide Pruitt with a 24/7 security detail to ensure his and his family’s safety.
Now, the left has cooked up a new conspiracy against Pruitt.
It has recently been revealed that Administrator Pruitt and his family stayed in a Capitol Hill condominium partially owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist several times over the last year. The lease has sparked controversy because of its “unconventional” term, Pruitt paid for the space by the day at a rate of $50 a night. His payments amounted to $6,100 over the course of six months, according to documents shared with Bloomberg News.
Pruitt received approval in advance for the arrangement by the EPA Ethics office, but in spite of this okay, Democrats have been quick to call “corruption!”, claiming that the lobbyist wife’s ownership of the condo makes it a “gift” to Pruitt.
In a March 30 memo, Kevin Minoli, a career attorney, and the EPA’s designated ethics official explained, “Market value for rental apartments is commonly thought of in terms of rental cost per month. Under the terms of the lease, if the space was utilized for one 30-day month, then the rental cost would be $1500, which is a reasonable market value… “The lease authorized use by the administrator and his immediate family, specifically including his spouse and children, and consistent with that provision of the lease his immediate family did stay there when they were in Washington, D.C.”
Minoli continued, “Entering into the lease was consistent with federal ethics regulations regarding gifts, and use of the property in accordance with the lease agreement did not constitute a gift as defined in those regulations.”
Minoli is the second EPA ethics official to come to Pruitt’s defense. Justina Fugh, an ethics lawyer at the EPA for a dozen years, told BuzzFeed News this story was causing “so much drama” for what she believes to be an above board living arrangement.
Scott Pruitt has done his job, and he has done it well. All the left’s continued attacks prove is that it is willing to dismiss facts in favor of pushing an agenda. Pruitt must continue charting the EPA’s path toward a balance between environmental concerns and economic development and security, rather than be distracted by the baseless attacks from political opponents, and President Trump needs to stand behind this stalwart of his administration, who is big part of what is needed to make America great again.
Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.