FemSTEM has no political affiliation*.
On a controversial means, back in December of 2016, President Donald Trump had nominated Scott Pruitt to be the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Scott Pruitt, if you are unfamiliar, was an Oklahoma State senator, and later the attorney general for the state. Trump putting Pruitt in charge of the EPA caused some dispute. Some people were thrilled by the President’s choice, and others were appalled. Why? Back when he won the election for the Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt had immediately made changes to the environmental program in the state, disregarding it. He had dissolved the Environmental Protection Unit in the General’s Office entirely. On top of that, oil and gas companies had been known for backing Pruitt up monetarily in his political campaigns, as he has been known to be a climate change denier.
Further more, he had actually created lawsuits against the EPA, and called himself: “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” He had sued the government program fourteen different times. It was no wonder it caused some red flags when Trump nominated him to run the very program Pruitt had stated he’d hated.
A lot has happened in less than a year after Pruitt’s appointment. Not everything has been negative, such as the recent plan to clean up Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. Here’s the timeline thus far#. It will be updated as time goes on:
- February 17th, 2017 — Scott Pruitt was confirmed as the head of the EPA.
- March 9th — Pruitt appears on CNBC’s Squawk Box, claiming that he would not agree that carbon dioxide is “a primary contributor to the global warming that we see”.
- March 28th — Trump signed an executive order, telling Pruitt to back away from the Clean Power Plan, echoing how Pruitt doesn’t believe that CO2 is a contributing factor to climate change.
- March 29th — Pruitt denied a petition to ban the pesticide Chlorpyrifos which causes 10,000 human deaths a year. They say they “we continue to examine the science surrounding chlorpyifos, while taking into account USDA’s scientific concerns with methodology used by the previous administration.”
- April 5 — EarthJustice sues the EPA, stating that Chlorpyrifos ought to be banned.
- April 28th — It was announced that the official website of the EPA would be “undergoing changes”, and removed its climate science off the website. This happened the day before the People’s Climate March.
- May 12 — Scientists quit the EPA Advisory Board in protest of the EPA’s new management.
- June 27th — Pruitt announced that he plans to move away from the Clean Water Rule.
- July 3 — A court blocks the EPA effort to suspend the restriction of methane being put into the environment.
- August 2017 — The EPA announced an EJSCREEN update, claiming that the EJSCREEN has “improved our water indicator to show water bodies potentially impacted by toxicity and water pollution”.
- September 15th — CNBC had announced that it’s possible the EPA will be closing a facility they have in Houston, Texas in 2020, despite Hurricane Harvey raising climate change alarms. As of the writing of this article, there’s been no word from the EPA on this matter.
- September 21st — The EPA announced on its website a “Superfund Clean up Completely and Rail Trail Opening” in Connecticut. This will “open an extension to the Rails-to Trails Greenway bike path that runs through the capped area of the site”.
- September 23rd — The EPA pauses relief efforts in Puerto Rico due to hazards.
- September 29th — Concern rises in Florida about the government taking funding away from the EPA, and thus taking funding away from Florida. The EPA “responsible for working with water agencies to test and protect water supplies from sewage and chemical releases, to help secure Superfund and hazardous waste sites from leaking toxic contaminants and to work with communities to monitor air quality as winds and water bring hazards into the air. These steps are particularly vital in low income communities that are all too often most vulnerable to environmental dangers that threaten the health of children and families,” Says the Miami Herald. “The Trump Administration has proposed cutting them by up to almost 40 percent, and the entire EPA budget by nearly a third.”
- October 10th — A four year plan for the EPA was announced, and climate change was not mentioned at all.
- October 11th — Despite budget cuts, the EPA vowed to speed clean up of toxic superfund sites according to NPR. “Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is vowing to speed the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites, part of a shift away from climate change and toward what he calls the “basics” of clean air and water,” Says NPR. “Pruitt says the EPA will soon name a top 10 list of sites to focus on.”
- October 12th — EPA orders clean up in a Texas toxic site.
- October 13th — Farmers were given the OK to use a controversial weedkiller known as Dicamba, and it’s been predicted that the use of this weedkiller will double.
- October 13th — The EPA states that people in Puerto Rico have gained access, and resorted to, contaiminated water in the area out of desperation. They don’t know how many people have drank the water, or how those individual lives will be effected as of yet.
- October 13th — The EPA signed a $46 million plan to clean up the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.
- October 31st and November 1st — The EPA seems to be allowing industry control over the science advisory boards, and the scientists effected by it are not happy.