Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Trump’s EPA Is Going Easy on Environmental Polluters

December 11, 2017

Take your pick from hazardous waste incinerators, dangerous emissions of lead, mercury toxins floating through the air, or something else equally troubling. They’re the kinds of offenses that the Environmental Protection Agency is currently failing to police, according to a new investigation by the New York Times. Cases relating to such wrongdoing were started under the Obama administration but have not yet been acted upon under Trump.

The newspaper explains that it has carried out an analysis of cases being considered by the EPA under Trump and Scott Pruitt, who heads the agency. Since the president took office, it’s started around 1,900 cases—which is a third fewer than Barack Obama’s EPA and a quarter fewer than George W. Bush’s EPA started over equivalent time periods. It’s also issued penalties of $50.4 million—39 percent of Obama’s EPA and 70 percent of Bush’s EPA.

The wide-ranging analysis of the EPA’s activities also shows that it’s making fewer requests for factories to install technologies that reduce pollution, and has told employees that they can no longer perform some air and water pollution tests without approval from powers in Washington.

Some blame may be laid on the fact that the EPA now has 700 fewer people on staff than when Donald Trump first became president. But there appears to have been a serious shift in mind-set at the agency since Pruitt took over. In a statement issued to the New York Times, the EPA says:

“There is no reduction in EPA’s commitment to ensure compliance with our nation’s environmental laws. EPA and states work together to find violators and bring them back into compliance, and to punish intentional polluters. As​ ​part​ ​of​ ​this​ ​effort,​ ​we​ ​are​ ​collaborating​ ​more​ ​with​ ​states​ ​and​ ​we​ ​are​ ​focusing​ ​more​ ​on​ ​outcomes. Unless​ ​the​ ​activity​ ​is criminal,​ ​we​ ​focus​ ​more​ ​on​ ​bringing​ ​people​ ​back​ ​into​ ​compliance,​ ​than​ ​bean​ ​counting​.”

Earlier this year we asked: “How Much Damage Could Scott Pruitt Really Do at EPA?” Turns out that if things continue in this trajectory, the answer might be: rather a lot.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Our best illustrations of 2022

Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.

How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier

These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.

The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that would house up…

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.