CLEARING THE PR POLLUTION THAT CLOUDS CLIMATE SCIENCE
By Ashley Braun • Thursday, February 15, 2018 – 12:29
The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency has seen a measurable difference in the way the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been holding polluters accountable compared to the past 25 years. Under Scott Pruitt, the EPA has collected, on average, 49 percent less in civil penalties against violators of federal environmental laws than in the first year of the previous three administrations, according to a new report from the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project.
“President Trump’s dismantling of the EPA means violators are less likely to be caught, making illegal pollution cheaper,” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project and former director of EPA’s Office of Civil Enforcement. “The president’s ‘law and order’ agenda apparently wasn’t intended for fossil fuel companies and other big polluters.”
Between January 20, 2017 and January 20, 2018, Trump’s EPA lodged 48 civil cases and fined polluters $30 million, excluding Superfund and criminal cases. When the numbers for previous administrations are adjusted for inflation, the difference becomes even more stark. Under Trump, polluters paid fines 57 to 68 percent lower than those under previous administrations.