Energy

EPA Employee Claims ‘Forces’ Murdering Eco-Activists Abroad Will Get Stronger Under Trump

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

A unnamed EPA official published a lengthy screed online against the Trump administration, claiming the “same forces” allegedly behind the deaths of environmentalists abroad are “working against us in the US today.”

Environmental journalist Eric Holthaus published an essay by an EPA employee “who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution by the administration,” criticizing the Trump administration for wanting to roll back regulations and devolve more authority to the states.

The EPA employee wrote the essay shortly after the Senate confirmed Administrator Scott Pruitt last week. The employee not only vowed to resist President Donald Trump’s agenda, but also claimed the “forces” behind the deaths of environmental activists abroad are “poised to grow even stronger.”

“2015 was the deadliest year on record for people working to defend and protect the environment. Let that sink in,” the employee wrote. “One hundred and eighty-five human beings were killed around the world… because they dedicated their lives to protecting human health from pollution and preserving the beautiful planet we all cherish.”

“Here in the US, those of us who work to protect the environment and human health from corporate pollution are lucky enough that we do not live under the specter of murder,” the unnamed employee wrote.

“We are, however, acutely aware that the forces behind these heinous crimes against environmental activists abroad are the same forces that are working against us in the US today,” the employee wrote. “And make no mistake: These forces are poised to grow even stronger.”

The employee specifically referred to Berta Cáceres, a Honduran environmental activist who was murdered in 2015, allegedly “because she was brave enough to challenge mining and dam-building corporations.” Earlier in the essay, the employee attacked the Trump administration for signing a bill “that makes it EASIER for mining companies to pollute local waterways.”

Holthaus published the employee’s essay the day after Pruitt gave his first speech to EPA employees, thanking them for their years of service and laying out the broad principles he wants the agency to uphold.

“I seek to listen, learn, and lead with you to address the issues we face as a nation. You can’t lead unless you listen,” Pruitt said in his Tuesday address. “We ought to be able to get together and wrestle through some very difficult issues and do so in a civil manner.”

Some EPA employees have already expressed their concerns about Pruitt taking over an agency he sued 14 times while Oklahoma attorney general.

Environmentalists also claim Pruitt colluded with fossil fuel companies to block agency rules.

An Oklahoma judge forced Pruitt’s old office to release thousands of emails supposedly tying him to fossil fuel interests. The emails were released as part of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of liberal groups, but the “emails do not appear to include any request for his intervention explicitly in exchange for campaign contribution,” The New York Times reported.

Holthaus is also one of the main agitators behind a movement to download government climate data based on the fear Trump could delete it. Holthaus admitted to attending therapy sessions to help him cope with Trump’s election victory.

The unnamed EPA official Holthaus corresponded with pledged to “never stop working to protect every person’s right to have a healthy place to live, work, and play.”

“And if the new administrator casts me out of the job I love, I will not stop working toward the principles that have always animated my life,” the employee wrote. “This is who I am, and that will never change.”

“I stand in solidarity with brothers and sisters that work to protect human rights, human health, and the environment here in the US and all over the world. The struggle continues,” the employee wrote.

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