NJ’s Whitman Blasts Trump’s EPA

Former Jersey governor says EPA director Scott Pruitt is pursuing a “shameful” path on climate change.

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Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and a Republican, slams the Trump administration’s environmental policies in a powerful commentary in the Friday edition of the New York Times.

In the piece, Whitman, a fiscal conservative who served as governor from 1994-2001 and as head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency from 2001-2003, is highly critical of Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s appointee to oversee the agency.

The EPA, notes Whitman, was created 47 years ago by a fellow Republican, President Richard M. Nixon, “to protect the environment and public health.” Under Pruitt’s direction, says Whitman, it “may end up doing neither.”

Since taking the reins of the EPA in February, Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, has repealed numerous EPA regulations. His actions, says Whitman, “pose real and lasting threats to the nation’s land, air, water and public health.”

Whitman currently runs the Whitman Strategy Group, which advises on environmental policy. She is particularly incensed by Pruitt’s plan to create a so-called “red team” of scientists—a panel, she says, conceived with the goal of challenging “the conclusions reached by thousands of scientists over decades of research on climate change.” The red team, she adds, “will serve only to confuse the public and sets a deeply troubling precedent for policy-making at the EPA.”

In support of her views, Whitman notes her own credentials as a Republican who embraces “the promise of the free market” and understands the “perils of overregulation.” But, she adds, policy decisions at the EPA “must be based on reliable science”—as opposed to the conclusions of a panel motivated by politics.

“Mr. Pruitt,” says Whitman, “seeks to use the power of the EPA to elevate those who have already lost the argument.” That’s “shameful,” she says, and “a waste of the government’s time, energy and resources.” What’s more, it’s “a slap in the face to fiscal responsibility and responsible governance.”

Ultimately, says Whitman, in an obvious swipe at President Trump: “The EPA is too important to treat like a reality TV show. People’s lives and our country’s resources are at stake.”

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