Give me (and Scott Pruitt) a break

Compare the trivial allegations against Scott Pruitt with the actual, serious law-breaking of the Clinton and Obama EPA chiefs.

On her last day as Clinton EPA chief, Comrade Carol Browner illegally erased her hard drive to cover her tracks concerning a host of “midnight regulations” she issued ahead of the incoming Bush administration.

Give me (and Scott Pruitt) a break

By Steve Milloy

Beltway navel gazers and anti-Trump media are all atwitter over Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt’s alleged ethical issues/lapses in judgment concerning his travel and living arrangements, security needs and, now, staff compensation. Yawn.

Where was all the concern when previous EPA administrators ran roughshod over actual laws?

The past three Democrat EPA administrators, for example, all flagrantly violated public records laws, like the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

After issuing a host of “midnight regulations” on her way out the door and despite a court order directing that all records be preserved, Clinton EPA chief Carol Browner ordered that her hard drive be erased on her last full day in office, January 19, 2001.

Obama’s first EPA chief Lisa Jackson was able to foil FOIA requesters until an intrepid one discovered that Jackson was using a false name or alias (i.e., “Richard Windsor”) to send and receive e-mail. Since no one but Jackson’s close associates knew about “Richard Windsor,” FOIA requests coming in for e-mails to/from “Lisa Jackson” produced pretty much nothing

Obama’s second EPA chief, Gina McCarthy, opted for Browner’s means of ducking public records requirements. She simply deleted 5,000 text messages rather than turn them over for public scrutiny. Oh, and did I mention that McCarthy used private email to conduct agency business?

Public records laws were a “progressive” idea – at least until “progressive” EPA administrators had to abide by them.

A 1998 law known as the “Shelby Amendment” requires that if federal agencies are going to rely on scientific data for regulation, that data must be publicly available by FOIA for purposes of replication. Obama EPA administrators Jackson and McCarthy were so uncooperative with that law while issuing their “war on coal” rules that Congress was forced to subpoena EPA for the relevant data in order to conduct its lawful oversight. EPA chief McCarthy completely ignored the subpoena.

Ironically, the progressive media is all up in arms now that Trump EPA chief Pruitt just announced that EPA will no longer rely on such “secret science” for regulatory purposes.

Then there is the Nuremberg Code concerning human scientific experiments and the federal regulations that are supposed to implement its humane principles. Although the law bars treating human subjects in scientific studies like guinea pigs (as the Nazis infamously did), Obama EPA administrators Jackson and McCarthy oversaw an agency that put elderly asthmatics in a gas chamber and made them inhale air pollutants that EPA scientists had labeled as “deadly.” The EPA was actually trying to hurt these people in order to justify their junk science-fueled air quality regulations. EPA admitted as much in federal court with me.

Both Jackson and McCarthy told Congress that there was no safe exposure to these pollutants, but they nevertheless allowed for elderly and sick human guinea pigs to be exposed to concentrated diesel fumes from an idling truck. They really did.

Then there are all sorts of questions surrounding McCarthy’s oversight of the Obama EPA’s global warming rules known as the “Clean Power Plan.” Although under the Administrative Procedures Act, agency rulemaking is supposed to proceed openly and without abuse of discretion, EPA secretly colluded with green activists to write the Clean Power Plan. Don’t take my word for it, read the New York Times report.

So let’s forget all these trivial allegations against Pruitt.

I mean, who cares that that Carol Browner was once an official of Socialist International or that her husband was an energy lobbyist when she returned to the Obama White House to be energy “czar”? Or that Lisa Jackson and staff once spent $151,000 on a single trip to China where the US EPA has no jurisdiction.

That’s all peanuts compared to their far more serious law-breaking.

Steve Milloy publishes, served on the Trump EPA transition team and is the author of “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA” (Bench Press, 2016).