There’s a saying from to The Godfather, Part II, sometimes also attributed to Sun Tzu in The Art of War and Machiavelli’s The Prince that says: “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” It wasn’t the EPA’s plan when they were advised that Scott Pruitt would be their next chief, but perhaps it’s a saying EPA staffers should now take to heart.
There’s no doubt that up until this year, Scott Pruitt was a clear enemy. He has sued the agency 14 times, with some suits still active. He is a trained lawyer, and now being inside the agency, it appears he may be suing himself. One could argue, he’s in the right seat to know the best defense against his former self. If that’s too wild a card to swallow, it might be argued he at least best knows potential holes as well as the agency’s strengths.
In the March 30 edition of The Daily, a relatively new podcast by the New York Times, host Michael Barbaro interviews Coral Davenport, energy and environment reporter for the Times, on Why Scott Pruitt Confounds Both Sides. Davenport notes that the far right is none too happy with Pruitt largely because, as a lawyer, he’s refusing to pursue Trump desired cases that he knows are not win-able. That, at least, saves taxpayers some money.
Meanwhile, poor EPA staffers were subjected to Trump bringing coal miners and coal mining executives directly to the EPA to witness and celebrate his executive order to roll back Obama’s Clean Power Plan. As Barbara noted in the March 29 edition of his podcast, the theatre may have been largely just that as Obama’s plan has never really been initiated since it’s been tied up in courts from lawsuits of people like Pruitt. The sad joke may actually be on the out-of-work coal miners who lost their jobs before not after Obama’s announced plan.
The EPA’s mission is to protect the health of both humans and the environment, and regardless of how you feel about the government, it would be hard for almost anyone to argue against the overall cause. It’s neither a Republican, Democratic, Progressive, or Conservative cause. It’s a human cause. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that the EPA began under Richard Nixon in 1970.
All this got us thinking how citizens could send their love to EPA staffers who are likely suffering in silence and fear for their very careers and life missions. At first, we thought it might be great to send Valentines to everyone at the EPA except Scott Pruitt. Wouldn’t it be great to have buttoned up scientists come to their desks one morning to a series of anonymous notes about of how much we, as Americans, appreciate their dedication? Turns, out, it’s not so easy. You have to know a staffer’s name to get a specific address.
Failing this first Little Hinge tinge of an idea, we got to thinking about other ways we might be able to show our love and support of the EPA mission. Here are some suggestions, but we hope you’ll think of more and share more ideas with us:
- Get Social. Like and Follow the EPA on Facebook. Just go to https://www.facebook.com/EPA and click the like button. Do the same on Twitter.
- Read Up. Check out The Atlantic’s civics guide to the EPA.
- March. Attend the Science March in Washington D.C. on April 22 a.k.a Earth Day.
- Celebrate Earth Day. Do it with postcards to Pruitt, Carper, or someone of your choice, calls to your representatives, or some other way to make your voice heard about support for the EPA.
- Know Thine Enemy. While everyone seems focused on Scott Pruitt, the real four horseman of the apocalypse may be Matt Gaetz of Florida, Steen Palazzo of Missippi, Thomas Massie from Kentucky, and Barry Loudermilk of Georgia. They’ve all co-sponsored H.R. 861 to completely abolish the EPA by December 31, 2018.
- Track Congress. Go to GovTrackInsider.com to see laws being proposed that don’t always get news coverage. Here’s the piece that brought our attention to the Republican sponsored House bill to eliminate the EPA.
- Find out if your Senator or Representative is on a committee that oversees the EPA. Both the House and the Senate have 4-5 committees that interact with the EPA in some way from the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Both also have Science committees. Ranking Senate Committee member Tom Carper of Delaware has called for Pruitt to address potential conflicts of interest, particularly regarding the EPA’s Clean Water Rule.
Just as voting alone is no longer enough of participation in the governmental process in order to sustain a democracy, the 3R’s of Environmentalism — Recycle, ReUse and Reduce — are no longer enough either to sustain a clean and healthy environment for years to come. It’s time to find more ways to show our love for Mother Earth.