Energy

EPA Cut $1 Billion Worth Of Regs In Pruitt’s Tumultuous First Year

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has repealed up to $1 billion in regulatory costs, according to an agency report.

The agency claims EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt accomplished the feat his first year in office. The report also highlights funding handed out for environmental projects and clean-ups and fines levied on polluters.

Pruitt’s spent the last year refocusing EPA towards “cooperative federalism,” devolving much authority over environmental matters back to the states. Part of that effort is a massive deregulatory effort.

EPA finalized 22 deregulatory actions in 2017, which could save $1 billion in regulatory costs. EPA is working on another 44 deregulatory actions, including the repeal of the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule.

Repealing the Clean Power Plan, which limits carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, could save $33 billion in compliance costs, according to EPA.

“The American people can now trust that states and stakeholders will be treated as partners, and regulations will provide clarity, not confusion,” Pruitt said in a statement.

While EPA is upbeat about the direction it’s headed, Democrats and environmentalists have been critical of the direction Pruitt’s taken the agency.

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Pruitt’s come under fire for rolling back Obama-era global warming regulations and regulations on the coal industry. Environmentalists have filed legal challenges against nearly every agency action.

Beyond that, Democrats have been railing against Pruitt’s air travel and security spending. The two issues came together in recent weeks over reports he regularly flew first class due to security concerns.

Two House Democrats asked investigators to look into EPA’s policy for granting waivers allowing for first class travel.

Pruitt’s security detail recommended he fly first class to provide a buffer between the administrator and unruly passengers. Pruitt’s has received more threats than past EPA administrators.

EPA’s inspector general had already begun an investigation into Pruitt’s air travel. That inquiry was expanded in January to include an official trip Pruitt took to Morocco at the behest of Democrats. Pruitt has since pledged to fly coach.

“There’s a change coming, because look the security threat matters,” Pruitt told CBS News. “What I’ve told them going forward is this: There is a change occurring, you’re going to accommodate the security threats as they exist, you’re going to accommodate those in all ways, alternate ways, up to and including flying coach, and that is what’s going to happen on my very next flight. So those things are happening right away.”

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