Scott Pruitt is the greatest-ever Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. To be fair, though, the competition was never exactly stiff. The bar was set low right from the start, under the Nixon-era administrator William Ruckelshaus.
Ruckelshaus is best known for his decision to ban the use of the insecticide DDT in the US. This, in turn, led to a near-global ban which deprived the world of its most effective prophylactic against the malarial mosquito, arguably causing millions of unnecessary deaths.
But what was perhaps most shocking about Ruckelshaus’s decision was that it ran roughshod over science and due process. At the time, the EPA had just finished a seven-month hearing under Judge Edmund Sweeney concluding in a 9,000-page document that DDT was essentially harmless to humans and wildlife. Ruckelshaus decided to go with the green activists rather than the scientific evidence and banned it anyway.
This puts into perspective the liberal media’s vendetta against the EPA’s current administrator, Trump-appointed Scott Pruitt. If you believe the New York Times, for example, Pruitt is trying to “muzzle the scientific inquiry that for years has informed sound policy at an agency he seems determined to destroy.”
Perhaps there’s an element of truth in the last part. Since Nixon founded it in 1970, the EPA has grown into a mighty behemoth with more than 17,000 employees – many of them hardcore green activists opposed to the very notion of free markets and industrial civilization.
In the Obama era especially, the EPA was used to advance an anti-market agenda in the guise of environmental correctness. Obama’s various federal clean air regulations, for example, were justified by supposedly expert testimony from the EPA that fine particles of soot in the atmosphere were killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.
But there was no real evidence for this. Essentially the ‘proof’ had been rigged by parti-pris activist scientists at the EPA – who were permitted to keep their data and methodology secret so that they could not be found wanting in independent experiments.
Hence the new rule just introduced by Scott Pruitt that from now on the EPA cannot engage in “secret science”. Whatever side of the political debate you’re on, this ought to be a good thing: Pruitt is just insisting on something which should have been EPA policy from the start – rigorous observation of the scientific method (part of which stipulates that for any experiment to be valid it must, of necessity, be reproducible).
Pruitt is never going to get any credit for this, either from the greens or the left (not that there’s really much difference). That’s because his opponents recognise it as yet another assault by the Trump administration on the “consensus” science of the Climate Industrial Complex. Trump doesn’t believe in man-made global warming; neither does Pruitt, who fully supported Trump’s decision to pull out of the UN Paris Climate Accord.
Perhaps the best measure of Pruitt’s success is how determined his enemies are too destroy him. The Climate Industrial Complex – aka the Green Blob – is a large, powerful, and vengeful beast and includes not just Democrats but also “Swamp” Republicans such as Chris Christie. Christie recently joined in calls for Pruitt to be fired on the basis of a feeble story, heavily touted in the liberal media, about how Pruitt is paying below the market rate to rent a condo on Capitol Hill belonging to an energy industry lobbyist.
If the Green Blob claims Pruitt’s scalp – and really, Christie should be ashamed to have joined in the bully mob – it will be a grievous blow to Trump’s energy and environmental policy. Still, his achievements thus far will speak for themselves. And can hardly do much harm to his next rumoured ambitions: either governor of his home state, Oklahoma – or Attorney General.