Monday, September 25, 2017

First came meetings, then Pruitt decisions for coal, utilities, Alaska mine and rural truck 'glider' firm

Scott Pruitt (AP file photo)
It's not surprising that corporate interests have found a friend in Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, but when a story lays out several possible cases of cause and effect, the concept gets more real.

Pruitt, former Oklahoma attorney general and Kentucky native, "has met regularly with corporate executives from the automobile, mining and fossil fuel industries — in several instances shortly before making decisions favorable to those interest groups, according to a copy of his schedule," report Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post. "There were, by comparison, only two environmental groups and one public health group on the schedule, which covers the months of April through early September."

After meeting with "the executive committee of the National Mining Association, and the next day with representatives of rural [electric] cooperatives, whose rural and suburban customers rely largely on aging coal plants . . . Pruitt granted an industry coalition’s request to revisit a 2015 EPA rule to tighten federal requirements for how companies contain coal ash, the toxic waste produced from burning coal in power plants. A range of the groups he met with this spring, including several of the nation’s largest coal-fired utilities, had sought the regulatory change," the Post reports.

After meeting with "a Canadian firm that had been blocked by the agency in 2014 from building a massive gold, copper and molybdenum mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed" and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, "the two sides struck a legal settlement that cleared the way for the firm to apply for federal permits for the operation," the Post reports.

Google map
After meeting "with Fitzgerald Truck Sales, the nation’s largest manufacturer of commercial truck 'gliders,' which are truck bodies without an engine or transmission . . . Pruitt announced that he would revisit an October 2016 decision to apply greenhouse-gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks to gliders and trailers, saying he was making the decision following 'the significant issues' raised by those in the industry," the Post reports. Fitzgerald is based in Byrdstown, Tenn., in one of the nation's most rural areas.

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