Tuesday, March 28, 2017

EPA's Pruitt facing challenge from conservatives

Scott Pruitt's first weeks leading the Environmental Protection Agency have been marked by infighting among competing factions, three sources tell CNN, including a group that believes Pruitt may not go far enough to reshape the agency and pare back regulations. Some conservatives both inside and outside the agency are concerned their dream of reigning in Obama-era EPA regulations and gutting the agency in a more wholesale fashion will not come to fruition. Several sources outlined three feuding factions within EPA: firm conservatives who want to see a more aggressive pullback of the agency's regulatory footprint; career employees, many of whom are concerned the new administration is hostile to environmental and climate concerns; and Pruitt's inner circle, who are reluctant to go along with some of the most unpopular rollbacks that are controversial even among moderate Republicans. A source from the more conservative faction described Pruitt as an administrator focused more on optics than reform, causing the source to believe Pruitt is more interested in his post-EPA political career than bringing to fruition the wishes of the most ardent EPA critics. For example, the source said Pruitt has missed a handful of policy briefings, and in some cases decisions have been made by his chief of staff. Policy briefings are normal for an incoming administrator, said a fourth source who is a former career employee and in touch with current EPA employees. Pruitt has not requested further briefings, according to the former employee. The more conservative sources lament Pruitt's current course. "Pruitt shares the ideology that excessive EPA overreach and over regulation does need to be rolled back, but he's resistant to some regulatory action for fear some of the more unpopular actions could harm his future political career," said another source close to the administration who is concerned about Pruitt's first month on the job...more

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