by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing back against a New York Times article suggesting the agency was scaling back enforcement efforts at the behest of the oil and gas industry.
NYT reporter Eric Lipton wrote President Donald Trump’s administration “has adopted a more lenient approach than the previous two administrations — Democratic and Republican — toward polluters,” based on data given to him by a former President Barack Obama administration official. …
… Overall, the article takes a negative tone against Pruitt, and overwhelmingly quotes Pruitt critics.
EPA fired back, saying in a press release there “is not only no reduction in EPA’s commitment to ensure compliance with our nation’s environmental laws, but a greater emphasis on compliance in the first place.”
The EPA said Lipton’s account “distorted the facts” on its enforcement efforts.
Pruitt “has not directed EPA staff to decrease their enforcement efforts and no request to gather enforcement information has been denied,” EPA said in its release on Sunday.
Lipton and Pruitt’s EPA have a rocky relationship, to say the least. Lipton has been reporting on Pruitt since at least 2014 when he published an article detailing a supposedly “secret alliance” between Pruitt — a former Oklahoma attorney general who worked with oil and gas companies to defeat EPA regulations.
Things haven’t gotten better since then.