I recall talking once with Daniel Oliver about his experience as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Ronaldus Magnus, and especially how his greatest moment of satisfaction came when the Washington Post ran a “news” story about how he had “brought the commission to a standstill.”
“All of my friends in other agencies called me to say, ‘Congratulations—how did you do it?'”
Which brings us to this story today in the Puffington Host:
Shortly after taking office, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt set out to permanently limit the agency’s regulatory power in what he billed as a “Back to Basics” agenda focusing on cleaning up toxic waste and providing safe drinking water ― but not curbing new industrial pollution.
Former administrators warn that it could take anywhere from a few years to three decades for future administrations to restore the EPA to where it was a year ago, before the regulatory rollbacks, mass attrition and budget cuts.
This is what I call winning. And if Scott Pruitt can accomplish this much in Year One, I imagine the EPA will be taken all the way back to the 19th century after Years Two, Three, and Four. I fully expect the Cuyahoga River to burst back into flames at any moment, Love Canal will start oozing again, and rivers in Colorado will run yellow with toxic metals. (Oh, wait, that’s right—that was the EPA itself that did that.)
Here’s The Hill‘s version of the same story:
A former administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) predicted that it could take the agency “20 to 30” years to regain its full capability after the Trump administration cut its budget and repealed many of its regulations.
Carol Browner, who served as EPA administrator from 1993 to 2001, during the Clinton administration, told The Huffington Post that the agency would have to start from the beginning if the Trump administration is able to successfully repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.
Like my late mentor M. Stanton Evans liked to say about stories like this, sometimes you just have to take the sweet with the sweet.