Scandal Surrounds EPA Chief Pruitt as He Rolls Back Auto Emissions
Under Scott Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA reverses Obama era standards for auto emissions all while allegations of corruption surround Pruitt.
Amidst media speculation into Scott Pruitt’s staff salary adjustments and controversial personal accommodations, the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator has announced the reversal of auto emissions standards and carbon limits that were set for the automobile industry by the Obama administration.
Pruitt announced this decision on Tuesday through a midterm report enacted by the EPA. He elaborated that the limits placed on automakers were “overzealous and costly,” and plans to scale back the tailpipe emissions requirements in newer automobile models.
However, the previous administration had made conflicting assessments.
Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy finalized a report in January 2017 electing to maintain the emissions standards in all model year 2022-2025 vehicles.
McCarthy’s determination, which came ahead of schedule and before her replacement, was based on the fact that the benefits of emissions standards were leading to a reduction in greenhouse gases at a lower cost than predicted.
“Obama’s EPA cut the Midterm Evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality, and set the standards too high,” Pruitt countered in his announcement on Tuesday.
Pruitt’s decision is assumed to be received well by American automakers, and aligns with President Trump’s intentions to support the growth and affluence of this industry.
However, the California state government is positioned to oppose the shift. In an additional waiver written into the 1970 Clean Air Act, California was permitted to set stricter laws compared to the national limits for greenhouse gas emissions, with California’s standards being accepted into practice by 12 other states.
Under Pruitt, the EPA appears to be pushing for a federal standard without any exceptions. “It is in America’s best interest to have a national standard, and we look forward to partnering with all states, including California, as we work to finalize that standard,” Pruitt said, addressing the discrepancies to his current analysis.
EPA Chief Pruitt Surrounded by Scandal
While the state of California pressures the EPA for personally-determined auto emissions standards, the media is focused on Pruitt for other reasons.
Pruitt was renting a condominium associated with the wife of a fossil fuels lobbyist when he approved plans for the Canadian-owned Keystone XL pipeline last year. At $50 a night, he was paying less-than-average accommodation costs for the Capitol Hill area.
Additionally, two EPA staffers close to the administrator were given steep salary increases without necessary White House approval.
Fox News anchor Ed Henry drilled Pruitt regarding his apparent unawareness during an interview on Wednesday.
“You don’t know? You run the agency. You don’t know who did it?” Henry prodded.
Pruitt maintained that the corrections were made as soon as he got word of the salary changes. He also has expressed surprise that his Capitol Hill condo rental has led him into media controversy.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that the President is currently reviewing the allegations against Pruitt.