Friday, October 6, 2017

Pruitt's US EPA looking like WI AG Schimel's operation

If you're draining the swamp, it's good to have a guy on hand who knows how to keep your A/C running full blast:
Trump Nominates a Coal Lobbyist to Be No. 2 at E.P.A.
Smoke stacks from a factory. 
It's also advisable to have allies and aides coordinating to kill federal environmental backstops to state clean air and water rules being gutted in Wisconsin for the heavily-subsidized Foxconn project and other special interests by Trump all, environmental law and wetlands' back-hoe operator GOP Gov. Scott Walker, his GOP legislative allies - - like mining industry bellhop Sen. Tom Tiffany, one among many, here and here - - and GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel.

Schimel-Pruitt are a solid chamber of commerce tag team when it comes to rolling back clean air and water protections:

*   Schimel beat Pruitt to the coal-industry-lobbying-hiring punch by tapping in 2014 a lobbyist for The American Coalition for Clean Coal as the AG's top aide, noted here.

  * Schimel later forced out Tom Dawson, the agency's leading environmental lawyer, created an in-house team in the Attorney General's office that specializes in suing the federal government and installed on the team Dawson's replacement, David Ross, an out-of-state pro-business attorney

*  It has been reported that Pruitt will draft Ross from the team as a senior administrator in the EPA's water office.

* Pruitt wants to kill on behalf of Big Coal President Obama's clean power plan, and Schimel is among the Attorneys General in court carrying the ball: 
“I am incredibly proud of our top-tier team at the Wisconsin Department of Justice that is helping to lead this crucial challenge against the federal government,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel.
*  And Schimel is the leading EPA ally in the courts against the federal clean water rule, as Gary Wilson, a contributor to Detroit Public TV's Great Lakes Bureau, noted recently:
A 25-state coalition led by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel including Michigan, Indiana and Ohio has told EPA and the Army Corps that the rule allowed the agencies to “improperly expand their jurisdiction” over waterways and want the federal government to defer to the states.
*  Could help explain what Pruitt sees in the David Ross selection.

*  And it all strengthens what Walker has been doing to the environment since the beginning, and added to 2016:
 Gov. Scott Walker signed wide-ranging legislation on Tuesday that makes changes in regulations of wetlands and navigable waters that supporters say will benefit waterfront property owners. 
Walker signed Senate Bill459, which designates areas as specialized wetlands, allowing property owners to conduct more building activity in these areas. 
The law will also allow dredging in artificial bodies of water; require disputes over piers to be handled by circuit courts, instead of through administrative hearings; and curb the ability of the Department of Natural Resources to block municipalities from constructing storm-water management ponds.
Then Walker created special wetlands-filling/stream-diverting privileges for Foxconn which neither Team Pruitt or Team Schimel will alter.

For the record, the Pruitt-Schimel approach to industry de-regulation has helped produce these outcomes, among dozens, in the Walker-directed/Schimel-validaated Wisconsin I recently called the model hard-right-corporate state:
Climate change & DNR science positions deleted. Regulated businesses, even with fewer inspections, encouraged to write their own operating permit conditions. CAFO size limits overturned and oversight rolled back, contaminated well water tolerated, groundwater for big users privatized, permanently. Clear Power Act/clean air fought. Multiple US EPA clean water policies slowed, fought. State phosphorous rule implementation weakened by 25 years. Forest land owners allowed tax breaks on increased acreages formerly open to public access.
And no doubt Schimel will run into former WI DNR and long-time DNR foe Cathy Stepp - - no, those are not incompatible in Scott Walker's Wisconsin - - on the campaign or dirty air and water trail, since Pruitt named her to run an EPA multi-state regional office headquartered just outside Kansas City.

There had been a rumor that Pruitt would combine the Kansas City office with the Great Lakes office headquartered in Chicago, thus giving Stepp control over EPA activities in Wisconsin, but that has not happen.


On, Wisconsin. Or something.

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