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frankieleon / CC BY 2.0

How a Minor Change to EPA Rules Could Slash Environmental Protection

By Joseph Aldy

Since the Reagan administration, federal agencies have been required to produce cost-benefit analyses of their major regulations. These assessments are designed to ensure that regulators are pursuing actions that make society better off.

In my experience working on the White House economic team in the Clinton and Obama administrations, I found cost-benefit analysis provides a solid foundation for understanding the impacts of regulatory proposals. It also generates thoughtful discussion of ways to design rules to maximize net benefits to the public.

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt at the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment on April 26. EPA / YouTube

Chair of Senate Environment Panel to Call Scott Pruitt to Testify on Scandals

The Republican chairman of the Senate committee with oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to call the agency's embattled chief Scott Pruitt to testify, specifically in response to multiple scandals and investigations surrounding the administrator.

Through a spokesperson, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., informed Reuters of his decision to compel Pruitt to come before the Environment and Public Works Committee to answer questions about his alleged abuse of his office.

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Senate Committee Moves to Force Public Disclosure of Drinking Water Contamination

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill Thursday that includes report language requiring the Trump administration to release a key scientific study it buried. The study proposed safe levels for fluorinated, or PFAS, chemicals in drinking water at levels nearly six times lower than those the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends.

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Oahu's rich volcanic soil, ample sunshine, tropical rains and climate make for perfect growing conditions for many crops. Jason Jacobs / CC BY 2.0

Hawaii Bans Use of Toxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

In a win for public health, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed a bill banning the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to increased risk of learning disabilities, lower IQs, developmental delays, and behavior problems in children. "Hawaii is showing the Trump administration that the states will stand up for our kids, even when Washington will not," said Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, a senior scientist at NRDC.

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Scott Pruitt. Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Pruitt Ordered Staff to Delay FOIA Requests, Top House Dem Says

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt directed staff to delay or withhold the release of requested public records relating to his scandal-ridden tenure at the agency, according to the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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A post office closed for asbestos removal; the EPA's new chemical risk analysis policy will not consider the risks of asbestos already in the environment. 293.xx.xxx.xx / CC BY-SA 3.0

EPA to Ignore 68 Million Pounds of Chemical Emissions in Limited Risk Assessment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will limit the criteria it uses to determine the health risks of 10 dangerous chemicals including asbestos, The New York Times reported Thursday.

A 2016 amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 required the EPA to evaluate hundreds of hazardous chemicals to decide if they should face more restrictions or be banned entirely. But documents released by the EPA last week suggest the EPA is kowtowing to the chemical lobby in the narrow criteria it is using the asses the safety of the first 10 chemicals, restricting its analysis to the risks posed by direct exposure to a chemical, and not the risks associated with exposure to contaminated air, soil and water.

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Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

EPA's Running Out of Time to Produce Any Documents That Back Up Pruitt's Climate Denial

By Andrea Germanos

Four weeks.

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaking at a meeting at the USDA headquarters in Washington, DC, on Jan. 7. Lance Cheung / USDA

Scott Pruitt Sought Chick-Fil-A Franchise for His Wife

Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), tasked a taxpayer-funded agency staffer with securing a "business opportunity" for his wife with an executive of the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, the Washington Post reported.

According to emails obtained by the Sierra Club under the Freedom of Information Act, Pruitt's former scheduler, Sydney Hupp, contacted Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy about setting up a meeting on behalf of Pruitt.

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaking in Alabama in July of 2017. Office of Senator Luther Strange / Wikimedia Commons

New Reports Highlight Industry Influence on EPA Head Pruitt

New evidence emerged Friday and Saturday revealing how U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt's close relationships with industry leaders and lobbyists might impact his environmental decisions.

On Friday, the lobbying firm Williams & Jensen disclosed evidence that its former chairman J. Steven Hart, whose wife rented a Washington, DC condo to Pruitt, did in fact lobby the EPA on behalf of three clients during Pruitt's tenure despite his denials, The Hill reported.

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