The Future of the EPA

Noah Peizer

The Future of the EPA

            Since the turn of the 21st Century, the issue of climate change has been a controversial topic that has helped win and lose major elections for both major political parties in the United States. But why is it so important? For starters, there is scientifically proven evidence that temperatures are rising on average each year and the ozone layer is depleting. In fact, there is an entire government agency dedicated to the protection of the environment. In recent months, newly elected President Donald Trump appointed former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the head of the EPA. Republicans have given Pruitt great praise while Democrats have consistently berated him with questions regarding his character and ethics.

Attorney General of Oklahoma Pruitt arrives to meet with U.S. President-elect Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City

In an article for The Huffington Post, Edward Vargas, the senior analyst for Latino Decisions, sought out to target the reasoning behind the strong Latino opposition to Scott Pruitt being appointed as head of the EPA. The article, which is titled “Latino Voters Strongly Oppose Scott Pruitt and his Anti-Environmental Record,” clearly falls on the left-leaning side of the political spectrum. I say this due to the wording of the article and the use of statistics such as Latino polls. Throughout the article, Vargas uses language that victimizes and singles out the Latino population. For example, Vargas states, “Of great concern for Latinos is Pruitt’s history of litigation that negatively impact Latinos.” Furthermore, one statistic that really sticks out is that “70 percent of Latinos say it is extremely important that the next President and Congress to take an aggressive stance on global warming or climate change” (Vargas). The use of statistics in this article is important because it shows a clear pattern of displeasure with the newly appointed head of the EPA. There are many concerns that need to be addressed and it seems like many of them will be ignored with the arrival of Scott Pruitt at the EPA.


Al-Jazeera, being an international news network, has an outsiders view on American politics. Because of this, you would think that there would be minimal or no bias at all. However, that is not the case when it comes to Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to head the EPA. In an article titled “Donald Trump’s cabinet bodes ill for the planet,” author Lauren Carasik targets the flaws of not only Scott Pruitt, but all of the other cabinet appointees. The environment is something that affects everyone, no matter where they are from, so it makes sense that someone from a neutral point of view would be somewhat left-center leaning on the matter. Like other left-leaning news outlets, Al-Jazeera questioned Pruitt’s morals, as well as his ignorance to scientific data. Pruitt is quoted by the National Review in the article, stating that “scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.” However, like some right-leaning news outlets, Carasik does her best to remain skeptical by praising the leading skills that Pruitt does have.


In an article for CNN, Dan Merica and Rene Marsh discussed the comments that Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, made in a testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The article, titled “Trump’s EPA pick: Human impact on climate change needs more debate,” is centered around Pruitt breaking with the ideology of Donald Trump, saying that he doesn’t believe that climate change is a hoax. While Pruitt did not say whether or not he has any immediate plan of action, he did say that there is still a debate to be had over environmental issues and how to address them. While CNN does its best to remain neutral on many issues, this article falls on the right-center leaning side of the political spectrum. The article includes quotes from Pruitt that show his recognition of scientific research that tells us that the climate is in fact changing. In addition, there is an entire section of the article dedicated to dramatic Democratic opposition to his appointment, which makes me think that the article is leaning to the right. However, the language used when talking about Pruitt makes me think that CNN is once again trying to remain neutral by not talking down on Pruitt when it would be relatively easy to do so. Instead, the authors quoted Pruitt saying that “rule of law matters” and that as EPA director he would “follow the law.” In an entirely left-leaning article, Pruitt would be quoted as denying the existence of climate change. However, in this article, he is quoted saying that the topic is open to discussion.


Out of all the articles that have been mentioned so far, not a single one of them defended Scott Pruitt’s past actions and speeches. The left-leaning media outlet questioned his character and ethics while the more left-centered media outlet remained skeptical of his ability to succeed, while also refraining from criticizing his past actions. However, in an article for FoxNews titled “Arkansas Attorney General: Why Scott Pruitt is the right choice for the EPA,” General Leslie Rutledge defended Pruitt’s character and legitimized his efforts to restrict EPA regulations over the past 15 years. In the article, Rutledge stated that Pruitt “has only challenged the handful of regulations that he believed were far outside the legal parameters of the agency.” Rutledge also talked down on the EPA, calling it “the most lawless executive agency.” Finally, the way that Rutledge finishes the article is a clear indicator that this is a right-leaning piece. The final sentence of the article is in a paragraph of its own, which states, “Scott Pruitt is the right person at the right time to lead the EPA.”


When looking at this issue across the political spectrum, there is a clear divide in opinion when questioning whether or not Scott Pruitt has the right credentials and morals for the job. The right sees him as someone who knows the law and can run an agency well, whereas the left sees him as a threat to the environment and policies made in the past 10 years. However, whether or not people on both sides of the political spectrum think he has the ability to run the EPA well remains to be seen. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, one thing remains true. The environment and its well-being is of great concern to our nation and the rest of the world. Scott Pruitt has the ability and potential to either make or break strides when it comes to environmental protection and policy.


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