Saturday, September 23, 2017

Bristol Bay: EPA's Scott Pruitt met with mining CEO - CNNPolitics


Bristol Bay, a wetland area in southwest Alaska, is home to one of the world's most productive salmon fisheries.

(CNN)Within hours of meeting with a mining company CEO, the new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency directed his staff to withdraw a plan to protect the watershed of Bristol Bay, Alaska, one of the most valuable wild salmon fisheries on Earth, according to interviews and government emails obtained by CNN.
The meeting between EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Tom Collier, CEO of Pebble Limited Partnership, took place on May 1, Collier and his staff confirmed in an interview with CNN. At 10:36 a.m. that same day, the EPA's acting general counsel, Kevin Minoli, sent an email to agency staff saying the administrator had "directed" the agency to withdraw an Obama-era proposal to protect the ecologically valuable wetland in southwest Alaska from certain mining activities. 
In 2014, after three years of peer-reviewed study, the Obama administration's EPA invoked a rarely used provision of the Clean Water Act to try to protect Bristol Bay after finding that a mine "would result in complete loss of fish habitat due to elimination, dewatering, and fragmentation of streams, wetlands, and other aquatic resources" in some areas of the bay. 
"All of these losses would be irreversible," the agency said. 
    The area is regarded as one of the world's most important salmon fisheries, producing nearly half of the world's annual sockeye salmon catch. Its ecological resources also support 4,000-year-old indigenous cultures, as well as about 14,000 full- and part-time jobs, according to the EPA's 2014 report…


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    Sunday, September 17, 2017

    Scott Pruitt is unlike any former EPA chief - Business Insider




    The first months of the Trump administration have brought a rare blizzard of news about the Environmental Protection Agency.
    Scott Pruitt, at the helm, has taken an unusually public role for an EPA chief. He makes news regularly with press appearances and regulatory decisions that sometime seem bizarre for a regulator charged with the safety of America's environment. And he arrived at a moment of apparent turmoil for the EPA.
    There were days of press silence from the agency starting as soon as Trump took office. A former transition official, Myron Ebell, gave interviews in which he suggested the agency's staff and budget would be cut to a third of its size. Rumors flew, including the suggestion that Trump intended to ban science at the agency and scrub climate data from its servers. Trump's transition head emailed employees to tell them he had no idea what the president's plans were.
    Those plans eventually cleared up, to the tune of a proposed 32% budget cut that Pruitt publicly supported. (That proposal never made it in to Congress's budget agreement, however.)
    The public seems to have noticed all the turmoil. Since Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Business Insider readers have shown a renewed interest in environmental coverage. In March, a Gallup poll found that 57% percent of Americans think Trump is doing a "poor" job protecting the environment, a far worse ranking than George W. Bush or Barack Obama received in their first years.
    All of which made us wonder: As he approaches his 100-day mark in late May, how unusual has Pruitt's short tenure at the agency really been?

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