EPA Staff Forced to Work on Energy Industry’s Wish List: Ex-Official

"EPA staffers are spending their days addressing an industry wish list of changes to environmental law, according to Elizabeth Southerland, a former senior agency official who issued a scathing public farewell message when she ended her 30-year career there on Monday.

Southerland, who most recently served as director of science and technology in the EPA’s Office of Water, said that agency staffers were now devoted to regulatory rollback based on the requests from industry. Companies and trade groups have directly asked EPA administrator Scott Pruitt for some changes. Other requests have come in through public comments in response to Executive Order 13777, which the White House issued in February. That executive order directed federal agencies including the EPA to suggest regulations to be changed, repealed, or replaced.

The overwhelming majority of the more than 467,000 public responses to the EPA about the executive order urged the agency not to roll back environmental regulations. “I am a PhD chemist, recently retired after more than 35 years of industrial research in material science and chemistry. I am also old enough to remember life before the EPA,” read a typical comment submitted in May. “Do not take us back to those times!”"

Sharon Lerner reports for The Intercept August 3 2017.

Source: The Intercept, 08/04/2017