Enviros Oddly Silent As Trump Punishes Companies For Polluting

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

The Trump administration on Tuesday announced two major settlements with oil and gas companies for allowing excess amounts of pollution into the air, but major environmentalists were silent on the matter.

Environmentalists have praised similar Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions in the past, including deals to shutter coal-fired power plants and a massive settlement with Volkswagen.

Prominent environmental groups were silent this time around.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club were silent on the settlements to reduce air pollutants. Neither group weighed in through statements, nor did they post anything regarding the EPA settlement on Facebook or Twitter.

The Sierra Club, however, did publish a Facebook post urging supporters to sign a petition to “protect the firing of special counsels without due process,” referring to special counsel Robert Mueller who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In the past, the Sierra Club has weighed in on past EPA settlements, including the $15 billion settlement with Volkswagen that the Obama administration entered into in 2016.

“We commend the regulatory agencies and the Department of Justice for this strong first step in reining in Volkswagen and making sure they appropriately pay for their bad actions,” the Sierra Club said at the time.

The Sierra Club’s political action group spent $349,512 in the 2016 election, 100 percent of which went to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Natural Resources Defense Council’s PAC and employees spent $193,853 in the 2016 election, 97 percent of which went to Democrats.

EPA announced settlements Tuesday with ExxonMobil and PDC Energy to reduce air pollution in Colorado and Gulf Coast states. Exxon agreed to spend $300 million installing air pollution control technology at eight facilities in Texas and Louisiana, and PDC will install $18 million worth of equipment to install equipment to reduce volatile organic compounds.

PDC will also pay a $2.5 million civil penalty, which will be divided between the federal government and Colorado. Up to $1 million of Colorado’s share may be diverted to environmental projects.

Exxon and PDC ultimately agreed to reduce thousands of tons of pollution a year, according to EPA.

“This settlement means cleaner air for communities across Texas and Louisiana, and reinforces EPA’s commitment to enforce the law and hold those who violate it accountable,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

“As this agreement shows, EPA is dedicated to partnering with states to address critical environmental issues and improving compliance in the regulated community to prevent future violations of the law,” Pruitt said.

Neither the Natural Resources Defense Council nor the Sierra Club responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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