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Pruitt Demoted Staffers Who Raised Concerns About His Conduct
Several U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees who raised concerns about Scott Pruitt's leadership tactics, including his spending habits, were reassigned or demoted, according to a New York Times report.
The five officials in question, including one Trump administration political appointee and one member of Pruitt's security detail, were a key part of the approval process for certain requests, and directly raised concerns over demands for items like a $70,000 desk upgrade, expanded security detail and the use of sirens and flashing lights on occasions when Pruitt was running late for dinner.
The Times report capped off another day of Pruitt-related scandals, including a report from the Washington Post that he endorsed raises for his aides despite denying knowledge of the pay changes earlier this week. One of Pruitt's top aides, Samantha Dravis, handed in her resignation Wednesday.
In a scathing op-ed published in The Hill, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said Pruitt "has done more to damage the economy, our environment, public safety and American global competitiveness than any Trump Cabinet member.
"Since taking office, Mr. Pruitt has questioned man-made climate change, scrubbed the EPA website of references to climate change, disputed settled scientific findings, and removed scientific experts from advisory boards, replacing them with industry representatives. He has withdrawn and reversed important environmental protections, including the Clean Power Plan and coal ash disposal requirements. Lest we forget, it was Mr. Pruitt who was the loudest cheerleader for pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. The administrator has even advocated slashing his agency's budget by a third. All of these decisions jeopardize the American public.
Under the Obama administration, we were making investments in the 21st century clean energy economy and leading the global community in taking historic action on climate change. Mr. Pruitt, however, seems hell-bent on reversing that progress, and would rather pretend climate change doesn't exist. Knowing he speaks to an audience of one, he has calculated that pushing these backward policies may be enough to protect his job."
For a deeper dive:
Employees: New York Times, CNN. Traffic: CBS, Raises: Washington Post. Pruitt in crisis: New York Times, Axios, Huffington Post, LA Times, Politico. Dravis: CNN. Commentary: Washington Post, Philip Bump analysis, Washington Post, Aaron Blake analysis, The Hill, Rep. Gerry Connolly op-ed, The Hill, Mike Carr op-ed, GQ, Jack Holmes analysis, Wall Street Journal editorial, Fox, Steve Milloy op-ed
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Study: Native Americans Barely Impacted Landscape for 14,000 Years. Europeans Came and Changed Everything
There's a theory going around that Native Americans actively managed the land the lived on, using controlled burns to clear forests. It turns out that theory is wrong. New research shows that Native Americans barely altered the landscape at all. It was the Europeans who did that, as ZME Science reported.