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Trump Watch

Dems Demand Answers From EPA Boss About Luxury Travel on Taxpayer Dime

House Democrats are investigating reports of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repeatedly taking premium flights funded by taxpayers.

"Americans deserve an EPA Administrator more dedicated to first-class protection of human health and the environment than to luxury travel at taxpayer expense," Energy and Commerce Democratic leaders wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to Pruitt.

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Trump Watch

Trump EPA Slammed for Ag Giant's 'Absurdly Low' Pesticide Fine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement this week with Syngenta Seeds, LLC over violations of federal pesticide regulations at its farm in Kauai, Hawaii.

The company, a subsidiary of Swiss biotech giant Syngenta AG, agreed to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and spend another $400,000 on worker protection training sessions.

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Animals
Wil Molenkamp / Flickr

Conservation Groups, House Reps Call for EPA to Respect Science, Take Action on Pollinator-Killing Pesticides

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D.-Ore.), alongside Representative Jim McGovern (D.-Mass.) and conservation, farmworker, farmer and consumer groups, on Wednesday reintroduced the Saving America's Pollinators Act, which aims to suspend the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts a full scientific review.

In addition, 16 environmental and conservation groups have collected more than 100,000 public comments urging the agency to rein in the rampant overuse of neonicotinoid pesticides—a leading cause of pollinator population declines.

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Trump Watch

EPA Head Scott Pruitt Has a 'Blanket Waiver' to Fly First Class

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has a "blanket waiver" to take taxpayer-funded first-class flights due to unspecified security reasons.

"Due to security concerns he has a blanket waiver to fly in first or business class," an EPA spokesman told CBS News. When he travels, the agency follows "the recommendations of security personnel."

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Trump Watch
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The Trump Effect on Climate News

By Jeremy Deaton

All press is good press—except when it isn't.

For those who are happy about President Trump's attacks on climate science and policy, this will come as bad news. By shining a spotlight on the issue, Trump drove media coverage of climate change last year.

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Scott Pruitt. Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Pruitt and Aides Rack Up $90,000 in Taxpayer-Funded Travel in June Alone

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on first or business class flights while his aides generally fly coach, according to the Washington Post. Pruitt has also used military jets to travel back and forth to events.

During a two-week stretch in June—around the same time President Trump announced that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement—the EPA boss and his top aides racked up at least $90,000 in taxpayer-funded travel to help tout Trump's agenda, the newspaper reported, citing EPA receipts obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project through Freedom of Information Act requests.

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Trump Watch
An event for the Energy Independence Executive Order, which calls for a review of the Clean Power Plan. U.S. Department of the Interior

Fines Against Polluters Drop Sharply Under Trump EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Thursday its annual enforcement and compliance report that boasted $1.6 billion in administrative and civil judicial fines against polluters.

"A strong enforcement program is essential to achieving positive health and environmental outcomes," Susan Bodine, head of the agency's enforcement division said in a statement.

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Climate

Scott Pruitt Asks if Global Warming 'Necessarily Is a Bad Thing'

Scott Pruitt, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggested in an interview Tuesday that humans "flourished" during warm periods and climate change might not be so bad.

"We know that humans have most flourished during times of what? Warming trends," Pruitt told Nevada news station News 3. "So I think there's assumptions made that because the climate is warming that that necessarily is a bad thing."

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Trump Watch
"Their plan puts the water used by hundreds of millions of Americans for drinking, bathing, cooking and recreation at risk." Blan Holman, Southern Environmental Law Center

Trump Administration Sued for Suspension of Clean Water Rule

Multiple states and conservation groups are legally challenging the Trump administration's decision to delay the Obama-era Clean Water Rule.

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put a two-year suspension on the rule, also known as Waters of the United States (WOTUS), which protects large water bodies like lakes and rivers but also listed smaller waterways such as streams, ponds and wetlands for federal protection.

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