A more lenient approach

An important part of making the rich richer, of course, is doing away with all those pesky regulations on pollution and the environment and stupid liberal crap like that.

Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, has said the Trump administration’s high-profile regulatory rollback does not mean a free pass for violators of environmental laws. But as the Trump administration moves from one attention-grabbing headline to the next, it has taken a significant but less-noticed turn in the enforcement of federal pollution laws.

An analysis of enforcement data by The New York Times shows that the administration has adopted a more lenient approach than the previous two administrations — Democratic and Republican — toward polluters…

The Times built a database of civil cases filed at the E.P.A. during the Trump, Obama and Bush administrations. During the first nine months under Mr. Pruitt’s leadership, the E.P.A. started about 1,900 cases, about one-third fewer than the number under President Barack Obama’s first E.P.A. director and about one-quarter fewer than under President George W. Bush’s over the same time period.

The fines were significantly smaller too. Making companies fix the problem? Also down.

The E.P.A., turning to one of its most powerful enforcement tools, also can force companies to retrofit their factories to cut pollution. Under Mr. Trump, those demands have dropped sharply. The agency has demanded about $1.2 billion worth of such fixes, known as injunctive relief, in cases initiated during the nine-month period, which, adjusted for inflation, is about 12 percent of what was sought under Mr. Obama and 48 percent under Mr. Bush.

New policies – elections have consequences ya know! Including elections in which the winner actually lost the popular vote by almost 3 million. Great system we have.

Confidential internal E.P.A. documents show that the enforcement slowdown coincides with major policy changes ordered by Mr. Pruitt’s team after pleas from oil and gas industry executives.

The documents, which were reviewed by The Times, indicate that E.P.A. enforcement officers across the country no longer have the authority to order certain air and water pollution tests, known as requests for information, without receiving permission from Washington. The tests are essential to building a case against polluters, the equivalent of the radar gun for state highway troopers.

At at least two of the agency’s most aggressive regional offices, requests for information involving companies suspected of polluting have fallen significantly under Mr. Trump, according to internal E.P.A. data.

In the last two complete fiscal years of the Obama administration, the E.P.A.’s office in Chicago sent requests for testing that covered an average of 50 facilities per year, or about 4.2 each month. By comparison, after the policy changes, one such request for a single facility was made in the subsequent four-month period. There was a similar decline in the Denver regional office, according to the data.

Oh well, who needs clean air or safe drinking water. Let them drink Diet Coke.

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