(Emily Larsen, Liberty Headlines) Threats against EPA employees have spiked 50 percent in 2017.
The threats are likely due in part to outrage over Trump’s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and measures he’s taken to roll back environmental regulations, such as this week’s announcement to roll back Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
According to a report from NBC Washington, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General has launched 70 investigations into these threats this year.
“The EPA as an organization is a lightning rod for people on both sides of the political equation for either not enforcing the environmental laws or enforcing the environmental laws too heavily,” EPA Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan told E&E News.
Pruitt is a particularly controversial member of the cabinet. In his previous position as Oklahoma attorney general, he aggressively fought EPA regulations on energy in his state, suing the agency 13 times. He described himself on LinkedIn page as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” and openly questions human causes of climate change.
“How much have you been paid to do this?” shouted one protester. “You’re a monster!”
The EPA’s inspector general opened three investigations into threats specifically against the Administrator. One postcard mailed to Pruitt read, “Get out while you still can, Scott,” and “You are evil incarnate.”
In the months since he took office, Pruitt has already taken several measures to roll back environmental regulations. On Tuesday, he announced the withdrawal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which placed severe regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.
Members of the Western Congressional Caucus applauded the move to end the Clean Power Plan and end the war on coal.
“President Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ threatened to force hundreds of coal-fired power plants to shut their doors, driving up energy costs across America,” said Rep. Adrian Smith in a statement. “Those hurt the most by these misguided, job-killing policies are typically the ones who can afford it least.”
Pruitt has moved to undo or roll back more EPA regulations than any other previous administrator. He also reversed a ban on the use of certain pesticides, and will steer the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.
The EPA’s Office of the Inspector General didn’t investigate any threats made against the EPA Administrator during Obama’s first term, Lisa Jackson, and investigated three threats against Obama’s second term EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy.
Costs for Pruitt’s security detail in his first three months were nearly double that of Jackson or McCarthy. Pruitt and the Trump administration have been criticized for spending so much on security detail, and not enough on EPA agents investigating environmental crimes.
Michael Hubbard, a former EPA special agent, told the Washington Post that some EPA investigators have been tapped to be part of Pruitt’s security detail.
“These guys signed on to work on complex environmental cases, not to be an executive protection detail,” Hubbard said.
The FBI identifies eco-terrorists as a legitimate security threat to government agencies and businesses. In May, two radical environmental activists took responsibility for arson at Dakota Access Pipeline sites.Click here for reuse options!
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