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Editorial: EPA leader focuses on outcomes, not punishment

Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt is off to a good start.

Published on March 1, 2018 8:47AM

Scott Pruitt, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Scott Pruitt, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


In an interview last week with the Daily Signal, a conservative website operated by the Heritage Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt said the “weaponization” of the agency is over.

That’s perhaps the best thing we’ve heard from an EPA director.

Pruitt has been in the forefront of the Trump administration’s effort to reduce regulation. Under Pruitt the EPA has backed off of 22 regulations that the Heritage Foundation says has saved $1 billion.

The agency has suspended the Waters of the United States regulations written under the Obama administration. The language of that rule would have extended regulation to isolated bodies of water that have a “significant nexus” with navigable waters of the United States. The rule was overly broad, and expanded the already considerable reach of the EPA and the Corps of Engineers.

Pruitt has ended the agency’s practice of settling lawsuits filed by environmental groups by agreeing to consent decrees that impose new rules on Americans and businesses while bypassing the formal rulemaking process.

We have often thought that outcomes were less important at the EPA than saddling individuals and businesses with crippling regulations and levying huge fines.

Pruitt wants a partnership between the agency and stakeholders — both in the environmental community and in industry. He wants solutions, not confrontations.

“We shouldn’t start from the premise that those folks are adversaries or don’t care about clean air or clean water,” he told the Daily Signal. “We should start from the premise that they do, and work with them to achieve good outcomes.”

Bravo.

Pruitt is off to a good start. We look forward to further progress as his term progresses.



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