On Wednesday John O'Grady, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, the union that represents more than half of EPA employees, announced that the council would join the nation-wide campaign to #BootPruitt, Bloomberg reported.
In an interview reported by Bloomberg, O'Grady explained the council's decision to call for Pruitt's ouster. "Every step of the way it seems like he is doing what he can to keep the EPA from doing its job," O'Grady said. "He's creating a real mess and I'm not sure he cares."
This isn't the first time that EPA employees have expressed frustration with Pruitt's priorities and policies. O'Grady is also the spokesperson for Save the U.S. EPA, a joint campaign formed by his union and the American Federation of Government Employees to stop Pruitt and the Trump administration from passing a budget that would decimate jobs and programs.
Liz Gorman / Bellvisuals.com
In an interview about that campaign with The Revelator, O'Grady explained why Pruitt's effort to rollback environmental regulations really is a labor issue for the agency's staff.
"Imagine if you're a great football player and you were brought on by the team to win Super Bowls, and then you're told, no, you have to play soccer. It's kind of similar. These people come on board EPA because they're dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. And then they're basically not allowed to do their jobs, and that's creating a lot of frustration."
But by signing on to the Boot Pruitt campaign, the union is coming out against Pruitt specifically and not just his policies.
The Boot Pruitt campaign was launched on March 28 by the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Hip Hop Caucus, Green for All, Green Latinos, Center for American Progress Action and Defend Our Future.
"[H]e's treating the health and safety of our nation and federal tax dollars just as carelessly as he treated the health and safety and taxpayers of Oklahoma. It's time for Pruitt to resign or be thrown out of office," director of the Oklahoma Sierra Club chapter Johnson Bridgewater said in a Sierra Club press release explaining the campaign.
Environmental activists haven't been the only ones calling for Pruitt to resign since news broke that Pruitt had rented a Washington, DC condo for $50 a night from an energy lobbyist and his wife.. Three Republican members of Congress have called for his resignation as of April 5, The Daily Beast reported.
There was speculation last week that President Trump might give Pruitt the boot himself after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said he was "not" OK with the condo arrangement.
But Trump doubled-down on his support for Pruitt via Twitter on Saturday, saying Pruitt was "doing a great job!"
This Coal Lobbyist Could Head the EPA, and He May Be Worse Than Pruitt https://t.co/EWD97OP0vP @ClimateReality… https://t.co/E9LuVi6k1B— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1523462909.0
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By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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By Gloria Oladipo
In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.