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Pruitt, not policies, the problem at EPA

Wednesday , July 18, 2018 - 12:00 AM1 comment

The Intelligencer (Wheeling, W.Va.) Editorial Board

Bad politicians do not translate automatically to bad policy. Scott Pruitt was not an acceptable administrator of President Donald Trump’s environmental policies — but that does not mean Trump should change them.

It appears the president has no intention of altering course.

Pruitt resigned as Environmental Protection Agency administrator after being under fire for some time over various ethics accusations. If, indeed, he was guilty of lapses, he had to go.

But Trump chose him initially to restore sanity to EPA rules and regulations — not laws, let it be noted, but radical interpretations of them adopted under former President Barack Obama.

In the name of forcing Americans into a prohibitively costly “alternative energy” future, Obama used the EPA in an attempt to wreck the coal, oil and natural gas industries. That already has led to increases in what millions of Americans pay for energy. It will only get worse unless some sanity is restored to environmental policy.

Trump instructed Pruitt to work toward an “all-of-the-above” strategy using renewable energy sources along with coal, gas and oil cleanly — but in recognition that it would be irresponsible to abandon them on the Obama timeline.

Pruitt’s successor, at least for now, is government veteran Andrew Wheeler, who has been named acting head of the EPA. He has pledged to improve air and water quality, while at the same time lessening the regulatory burden.

Liberals rejoiced over Pruitt’s ouster. It is not going too far to suggest some of them saw him as a scalp on their belts. They had driven an EPA reformer out of Washington.

But Pruitt’s behavior needs to be separated from his policy agenda. True enough, high ethical standards should be demanded of anyone in government, especially those at the high level Pruitt enjoyed. He violated those standards -- and that led to his resignation.

But viewing his departure as a reason to alter energy and environmental policy would be both irrational and wrong for the nation.

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