Accuracy in Media

The narrative on the Trump White House used to be that it was so chaotic, so out of control, so poorly led that nothing was getting done in America.

Frontline, the long-running PBS show, has put together an hour-long documentary on EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and the swift and decisive changes he has brought to the agency.

“War on the EPA” describes in detail the frustration agency staff has had in trying to convince Pruitt not to do what he was hired to do –to upend 30 years of a culture that produced opaque, counterproductive regulation.

With the documentary and accompanying stories, Frontline tries to make the case that the country is in danger because the administrator does not take the advice of his career staff. In one, it interviewed Betsy Southerland, who recently retired from the EPA Water Office, about the exit letter she wrote when she left, which “criticized the agency for moving to repeal regulations backed by years of scientific study.”

“It’s just a mystery as to how you can persuade (Pruitt) not to follow exactly what industry asks him to do and instead be accommodating to the facts of the case,” she told interviewers.

Political appointees don’t communicate with career staffers about upcoming decisions, which leaves staffers “flying blind” in many cases.

“What everyone is trying to do is to hope against hope that their facts will change Scott Pruitt’s mind … that they’ll be special and they’ll be able to convince the administrator not to go with whatever the industry people have asked him to do and to give some deference to the science and engineering behind previous regulations.”

She argued one rule – to reduce toxic waste into water from coal-fired plants – should go forward because only 15 percent of coal plants would incur costs. The Small Business Administration says dozens of plants serving millions of Americans would have to close to comply with the rule as written.

When Trump directed federal agencies to suggest regulations to be replaced, repealed or modified, 470,000 public comments came into the EPA. The electric power industry seized on some of the suggestions, which Southerland was asked to review.

“In every case, I can tell you, we responded, ‘No, the rules should not be repealed because there is no flaw in the process by which that rule was promulgated, and there’s no technical error in that rule that would mean it should be repealed,” she said.

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  • Mike S.

    Whoever threatens the Marxist agenda is himself threatened. Long live Trump!

  • mioahu

    Unelected career staffers, overwhelmingly leftists, who rely on studies funded by the administration, with AGW leftist agenda in mind, There were no studies funded over the last 8 years that show results contradicting the leftist point of view. Science has been corrupted sadly, and the corrupted media reports only the studies that match their narrative, It is very sad, but science, media, state agencies cannot be trusted anymore, DRAIN THE SWAMP!

  • This gal typifies the typical Obama liberal in government – she cares nothing for cost factors, the effect of their regs on businesses, or the will of the people. Unelected bureaucrats sponsored by a left-wing wacko in the White house.

  • Colorado Conservative

    Thank God the EPA is now headed up by someone (Pruitt) with common sense, someone who understands global warming is nothing but a scam used by whack job liberals who want power and control. Betsy Southerland is wetting her pants that the greenies are no longer being given free reign to impose their liberal utopian vision on America. Leave it to taxpayer funded PBS to propagate the baloney.

  • TED

    Trump will cause more damage to this country than every president that came before him combined. He’s a really sick puppy … just like the guy in Germany back in the ’30s … who also convinced his most soft-headed constituents that he was “going to make Germany great again!”

  • votedemout

    You hit the nail directly on the head. The career bureaucrats have chosen carefully which studies to fund, and who to put in charge of said studies. It is exactly like climate change, the so called overwhelming evidence is compiled by those with huge personal monetary or ideology returns, for forwarding a narrative that comports with the liberal agenda. Try to have a fact based conversation with some of these lemmings if you want a real eye opener.

  • Drifter12

    A swamp critter…net and remove to safe location

  • samo war
  • Gz7

    Only in your mind, and others of your ilk, is Trump the devil. Those of you that depend on Media Matters to pay for your drugs are not to be taken seriously. In fact, we laugh at you. Many posters block you for your idiotic posts, but not me. Why deprive myself of humor? Keep those whoppers coming!

  • Oldchopper

    Name calling has become the Progressive talking point. Someone that disagrees is something other than human or normal to them. This sets the stage for the same results as the guy you reference from the 30’s. Fact be known it will be the name calling Progressives that will commit the murderous crimes, not those that peacefully disagree.

  • Warren Bonesteel

    The EPA and the BLM, among others, have been used for the dekulakization of the American heartland.

    They’ve destroyed family farms and ranches and have ruined the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.

  • Light_V_Dark
    ??? TED 3 days ago
    Trump will cause more damage to this country than every president that came before him combined. He’s a really sick puppy … just like the guy in Germany back in the ’30s … who also convinced his most soft-headed constituents that he was “going to make Germany great again.

    I tried 2 block ya, Satan, but, was unable to.