Today, The EPA Launched Their Back-to-Basics Agenda…at a Coal Mine

A coal mine that was fined $3 million for violating the Clean Water Act.

4 SEP 2017

This morning EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, announced the launch of the agency's Back-To-Basics agenda…at a Pennsylvania coal mine.

That's right. Pruitt held a conference about environmental protections at a coal mine that was fined $3 million for violating the federal Clean Water Act. All because the mine dumped contaminated wastewater into tributaries of the Ohio River.


The very location of the announcement speaks volumes about Pruitt's idea of "EPA basics".

The agenda, which is supposed to refocus the EPA on its "intended mission", seems more concerned with protecting jobs than the environment.

"What better way to launch EPA's Back-to-Basics agenda than visiting the hard-working coal miners who help power America. The coal industry was nearly devastated by years of regulatory overreach, but with new direction from President Trump, we are helping to turn things around for these miners and for many other hard working Americans," said Pruitt.

Pruitt is so concerned with balancing environmental protections and job growth that he seems to have forgotten the core mission of the EPA is "to protect human health and the environment."

"Back-to-Basics means returning EPA to its core mission: protecting the environment by engaging with state, local, and tribal partners to create sensible regulations that enhance economic growth," said Pruitt.

Instead of protecting the USA's clean air and water, it seems as though Pruitt is more focused on lifting the unnecessary burdens on coal miners and the coal-fired utilities.


The Back-To-Basics agenda includes a review of the "so-called Clean Power Plan that threatens over 125,000 jobs". It also promises to improve air quality, improve water quality in Flint, clean up toxic waste sites, and reduce fuel standards for cars and trucks.

The agenda does not address how the EPA is going to tackle these issues when Trump is proposing to gut it's budget by 31%.

The budget cut would reduce the EPA's spending from $8.1 billion to $5.7 billion, and would eliminate around 3,000 jobs. It will also drastically reduce the EPA's ability to address any of the points in Pruitt's Back-To-Basics agenda.

The Flint water crisis is certainly not going to be solved if the EPA has to decrease grants that monitor public water systems, from $102 million to $71 million (which is nearly a third of the original budget).

Not to mention the fact that toxic clean up will be made infinitely more difficult when the EPA has to cut the Superfund toxic clean up program by 30%.

But those are just details. Right now, Pruitt is more concerned with job growth than he is with a clean-powered and healthy future.