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FEMA Director Brock Long Is the Latest Trump Official to Resign Amid Spending Scandals
Brock Long, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director who oversaw the agency's controversial response to Hurricane Maria, announced his resignation Wednesday.
"It has been a great honor to serve our country as @fema Administrator for the past two years. While this has been the opportunity of the lifetime, it is time for me to go home to my family," Long said in a tweet announcing his departure.
His resignation comes as Congressional Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, have repeatedly called for an investigation into FEMA's Hurricane Maria response in Puerto Rico, where nearly 3,000 people died in the wake of the storm, the Huffington Post reported.
A University of Michigan led study released in January found that the federal response to Hurricane Maria was both slower and less generous than the response to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey in Florida and Texas. Long won praise early in his tenure for his response to Hurricane Harvey, The New York Times reported.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration's Maria response, commented on Long's departure on Twitter.
"Brock Long was Trump's hatchet man in the botched Puerto Rican relief effort after hurricanes Irma and María. He should have been fired and held accountable for the loss of live. Thank you for nothing, next," she wrote.
Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello took a softer, but still critical, stance, wishing Long well but calling his departure an "opportunity."
"We hope the battles over the last 18 months, due to unequal treatment can turn into the efficient assistance needed," he wrote.
Long was also under pressure because of a September discovery by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security that he violated rules by using government vehicles to travel back and forth to his home in North Carolina, as well as while on vacation with his family in Hawaii, The New York Times reported.
"The FEMA administrator is supposed to be focused on preparing for disasters like the devastating hurricanes that killed thousands of Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands—not using government vehicles to shuttle his family around Hawaii at taxpayer expense," then top House Oversight Committee Democrat and Maryland Representative Elijah E. Cummings said at the time, according to The New York Times. "Administrator Long's apparent violations of federal law for his own personal benefit are another example of how senior officials in the Trump administration continue to use American taxpayer money."
Long follows former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in resigning after a scandal involving misuse of government resources for personal gain.
Long ran FEMA for two years and oversaw more than 220 declared disasters, according to his departure statement. He said he would depart to return to his wife and two sons. Deputy Administrator Peter Gaynor will step into the position of Acting Administrator following his departure.
Long had a background in emergency management before President Donald Trump nominated him to run FEMA, having directed the Alabama Emergency Management Agency from 2008 to 2011, The New York Times reported.
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Toxic Waste Will Continue to Grow for Decades Even if All U.S. Drilling and Fracking Halts Today, New Report Says
By Jessica Corbett
For more than three decades, the U.S. government has mismanaged toxic oil and gas waste containing carcinogens, heavy metals and radioactive materials, according to a new Earthworks report — and with the country on track to continue drilling and fracking for fossil fuels, the advocacy group warns of growing threats to the planet and public health.
Newly adopted guidelines set forth by the European Commission Tuesday aim to tackle climate change by way of the financial sector. The move comes to bolster the success of the Sustainable Action Plan published last year to reorient capital flows toward sustainable investment and manage financial risks from climate change, environmental degradation and social issues.