James Rowen
Op Ed

Schimel and Pruitt, the Anti-Environmentalists

State attorney general and federal EPA head never met a green policy they liked.

By - Oct 8th, 2017 08:49 am
Brad Schimel and Scott Pruitt.

Brad Schimel and Scott Pruitt.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and federal EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt make quite a team when it comes to rolling back clean air and water protections:

*At the EPA the new number 2 guy is a coal lobbyist nominated by President Trump.

*But Schimel beat Pruitt to the coal-industry-lobbying-hiring punch by tapping (back in 2014) a lobbyist for The American Coalition for Clean Coal as the AG’s top aide, noted here.

* Schimel later forced out Tom Dawson, the agency’s leading environmental lawyer, created an in-house team in the Attorney General’s office that specializes in suing the federal government which includes Dawson’s replacement, David Ross, an out-of-state pro-business attorney. Now it has been reported that Pruitt reportedly will draft Ross from the team as a senior administrator in the EPA’s water office.

* Pruitt wants to kill on behalf of Big Coal President Obama‘s clean power plan, and Schimel is among the Attorneys General in court carrying the ball:

“I am incredibly proud of our top-tier team at the Wisconsin Department of Justice that is helping to lead this crucial challenge against the federal government,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel.

* And Schimel is the leading EPA ally in the courts against the federal clean water rule, as Gary Wilson, a contributor to Detroit Public TV’s Great Lakes Bureau, noted recently:

A 25-state coalition led by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel including Michigan, Indiana and Ohio has told EPA and the Army Corps that the rule allowed the agencies to “improperly expand their jurisdiction” over waterways and want the federal government to defer to the states.

*And back in Wisconsin, Schimel favored an approach overriding the Public Trust Doctrine to give away the state’s waters.

The Pruitt-Schimel approach to industry de-regulation has helped produce these outcomes, among dozens, in the Wisconsin I recently called the model hard-right-corporate state:

Climate change & DNR science positions deleted. Regulated businesses, even with fewer inspections, encouraged to write their own operating permit conditions. CAFO size limits overturned and oversight rolled back, contaminated well water tolerated, groundwater for big users privatized, permanently. Clear Power Act/clean air fought. Multiple US EPA clean water policies slowed, fought. State phosphorous rule implementation weakened by 25 years. Forest land owners allowed tax breaks on increased acreages formerly open to public access.

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment

Categories: Environment, Op-Ed, Politics

2 thoughts on “Op Ed: Schimel and Pruitt, the Anti-Environmentalists”

  1. In retrospect, 2017 may be seen as the year of the most dramatic – and consequential – juxtapositions in recent history, maybe even, not-so-recent history. First, the events of the year: some of the most powerful and destructive storms in recent history devastate the nation’s fourth largest city, do enormous damage on the Gulf Coast and Florida, and destroy much of the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, possibly resulting in the depopulation of the region. In the American West, vast fires burn enormous areas, enveloping two of the nation’s greenest cities, Portland and Seattle, in smoke and ash. Temperatures continue to rise, glaciers and ice shelves continue to retreat at an accelerating pace, permafrost continues to thaw releasing huge amounts of methane, and climate scientists, at least the vast majority of them, increase the urgency of their warnings of an irreversible tipping point.

    At the same time, a mentally ill, cognitively impaired, pathologically lying know-nothing asserts that climate change is a “hoax,” and is inserted into the presidency of the United States. Having declared climate change “a hoax,” he fills his administration with fossil fuel criminals (word chosen carefully), including a Secretary of State who has been a leading funder of climate change denial in order to create doubt and maintain the share value of Exxon Mobil, a head of the EPA who is a shill for the oil industry, a CIA director who was the Congressman from the Koch brothers, and a Secretary of the Interior who seems capable of doing just about anything that he is told. And, as the Schimel appointment demonstrates, the picture at the sub-cabinet level is just as bad or worse.

    The president withdraws the United States from the Paris climate change accords, a “let’s wipe out Obama’s legacy” move that even his fossil fuel fans consider misguided; he champions “clean coal,” something that even his coal company fans know doesn’t exist, and he appoints the the crew above to do all of the dirty work, including the second and third level group who cut their teeth on Scott Walker’s Koch brothers farm team, formerly known as the State of Wisconsin. They proceed to attempt to gut every environmental law in sight, all in the name of “sensible regulation” and “job creation.” Because the media focus is on the president’s mental instability, the calamitous actions of his appointees take place largely out of public view.

    If there is justice, there will be retribution for what this group has done and continues to do. As Herodotus saiid many centuries ago, “All arrogance will reap a harvest rich in tears.” The question is, will those be the tears of the architects of this disaster, along with their willfully ignorant//”liberal” hating followers, or will they be the tears of the people of Houston, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and much of the rest of the world where lives are upended by heat, fire, drought, storms and floods?

  2. will says:

    Schimel has been nothing more then a rubber stamp for Walker (via Koch brothers, Bradley foundation and the heritage foundation) Schimel must raise his hand to go to the john. This is what a corporate take over of Wisconsin looks like and our resources are being sold for pennies on the dollar.

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