by Countable | 3.20.17
It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:
"EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt worked closely with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and political groups to roll back numerous environmental regulations during his time as Oklahoma’s attorney general, new records reveal."
"An Oklahoma judge ordered the release of thousands of emails between Pruitt and fossil fuel companies like Koch Industries and Devon Energy last week -- after he and the state AG's office were accused of ignoring multiple records requests. The group that sought the emails, the Center for Media and Democracy, pointed to the messages to accuse Pruitt of being too close to the industries he'll now regulate."
Read more at Fox News.
"The most divisive issue for Senate Republicans when it comes to repealing and replacing ObamaCare is what to do with Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act gave states the option of accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor and disabled. Millions of people gained health insurance after 31 states — including many with Republican governors — decided to accept the deal. Repealing ObamaCare would end the Medicaid expansion, cutting federal funds to all of those states."
"Some Republicans want to save the expansion at least through a transition period during which states would continue to get additional federal funds. Others, including lawmakers from states that didn’t take the expansion, say all of ObamaCare has to go, with no long, costly transition period for Medicaid. The fact that some states took the expansion and others didn’t provides a dividing line that will pit Republicans against one another."
Read more at The Hill.
"Working from an office suite behind a Burger King in southern Virginia, operatives used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account. They weren’t known smugglers, but rather agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives."
"The operation, not authorized under Justice Department rules, gave agents an off-the-books way to finance undercover investigations and pay informants without the usual cumbersome paperwork and close oversight, according to court records and people close to the operation."
Read more at the New York Times.
"The White House’s deep involvement in hiring decisions across the government is frustrating some of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet secretaries, spurring early tussles between the president’s advisers and leaders of federal agencies."
"White House officials have sometimes rejected candidates who have previously criticized the president — even if they boast sterling credentials or have the endorsement of top Republicans. And they’ve often imposed their choices on agencies, according to more than a dozen people inside and close to the administration."
Read more at Politico.
"Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Wednesday that Mexico "will not accept" the imposition of new U.S. immigration rules, according to media reports. The foreign minister also said he would not hesitate to take the issue to the United Nations to defend what he called the rights of immigrants, Reuters reported."
"His comments followed the release of new directives by the Department of Homeland Security aimed at increasing deportations among the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States."
Read more at USA Today.
— Erin Wright
(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr / Creative Commons)
Written by Countable
I am extremely disappointed in your support of Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator. Mr. Pruitt's long anti-environmental record makes it clear that he is the wrong person for this job. But in the coming weeks, you will have another chance to do what is right for the environment. I'm writing today to ask you to seize that opportunity by voting against any efforts to undermine the Bureau of Land Management's limits on methane pollution. Eliminating these common sense safeguards puts the interests of the oil and gas industry above the interests of American taxpayers and their families. Nationwide, an estimated $330 million worth of natural gas from taxpayer and tribal lands is being wasted through leaks and the inefficient practice of venting and flaring every year. That's enough natural gas to supply all of the homes in a city the size of Chicago for a year. This pollution also contains methane, a harmful climate pollutant, as well as toxic and ozone-forming chemicals which increase smog and can cause cancer and respiratory diseases. There is a growing industry in the U.S. providing cost-effective services to oil and gas companies to find and fix methane gas leaks across their operations. Over 75 companies across 45 states stand ready to provide these services. It is time to put them into action, and create real job growth across the country. Please protect American taxpayers by protecting these crucial pollution limits. Our communities and families are counting on your leadership.
The wolf guarding the hen house! Why can't we realize that we have an obligation to our earth and future generations to protect out environment! Money is not everything!!!
It was known previously that Pruitt had conflicts of interest, this just reinforces what we knew all along, he needs to be removed from the EPA. For the sake of our environment, we made strides in the last eight years and we need to keep moving forward.
Not my president nor should he be yours. Do something! IMPEACH!
Would you please remove this person from office?
I'm horrified that Scott Pruitt is now heading up the EPA. I fear years of environmental strides forward are going to be reversed. I also fear that scientists and dissenters will be fired or otherwise silenced. This man should NOT have been confirmed; the emails prove he should be removed for conflicts of interest.
Now that we know that prove it broke the law by not complying with the records requests, and that he was cooperating with corporationsin an improper way, is there anyway that he can be taken out of this position? I for one want to have clean air and water.
Pruitt as the head of the EPA poses yet another catastrophic risk from this administration. We are in the pockets of big oil and our very well being is at stake. Pruitt needs to be replaced he has too many ties to the oils industry and does not have our interests in mind.
This is horrific!
Mark Twain- "It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare" -this perfectly sums up Pat Toomey and everyone who voted yes on Pruitt's nomination. You are greedy and selfish and don't care about the people or animals who live on this planet. You should be ashamed. I am embarrassed that you represent Pennsylvania.
This man doesn't just have his hand in the cookie jar, he's in the cookie jar eating all the cookies as fast as he can!!!!!
He needs to go. Conflict of interest and old values. Climate change is real
Unacceptable. This is a disgusting and blatant support of big oil and corporate greed. Pruitt needs to go!!!!
It's time to put this corrupt official in his place...
Scott Pruitt at the EPA, is like putting Satan in-charge of Heaven. Exact same thing.
Dirty Colorado rivers, Denver more smoggy than it already is, barely any snow! The people will blame this on those at fault, the republicans being paid by big oil. You deregulate like idiots and it will come back to hurt this state and the people who love the outdoors, clean air and water. Listen to the people!
This man as EPA chief is a horrible disrespect to the American citizenry. He is clearly and publicly biased towards the interests of the oil and gas industry and, while I know there was nothing to be done that could have stopped his confirmation, you must clearly articulate the connection between him and those interests. Connect the dots between the industry's stated policy agenda and the actions & opinions of the new head of the EPA. You must spell it out for people.
It is called the Environmental PROTECTION Agency and was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment. "Born in the wake of elevated concern about environmental pollution, EPA was established on December 2, 1970 to consolidate in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection." Pruitt is a lawyer and a politician with no education or training related to the environment. As Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitts office sued the EPA to block its Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule. Pruitt has also sued the EPA on behalf of Oklahoma utilities unwilling to take on the burdens of additional regulation of their coal-fired plants, and criticized the agency in a congressional hearing. As of June 2014, all of Pruitt's lawsuits against the EPA had failed.By January 2017, Pruitt had sued the EPA 13 times. So, of course he should be opposed. His objectives are in direct conflict of drinkable water, clean air and a sustainable environment.