Death of the EPA & the Birth of CONTROL

When you look at what’s going on in the Trump White House, at times it reads like a spy thriller, including foreign locales, exotic women with names to match and an intricate story that, in the end as many espionage plots go, will wind up being about larceny, albeit on a global scale with the theft of security and ideals as much as money.   Except the central character of the Trump White House saga, with its bare-bones staff (still, how many positions to be filled?) is nothing like the serious and capable protagonists of a Clancy or Ludlum piece.  With his quirky and semi-comedic mismanagement style, it’s more a plot-device worthy of Matt Helms or Remo Williams, at least I’d thought originally.  Then along came Scott Pruitt and I got smart.

It explains why he’s hanging on to his job.  What we’re witnessing is the rebirth of CONTROL and Pruitt’s that guy with an office in the basement.  More than likely, it was supposed to go down more discreetly than it has but the man likes flair and obviously doesn’t hold with his subfloor accommodations since he’s been reportedly seeking loftier surroundings.  Pruitt got a hold of that administration Gold card that’s been making the rounds and went on a shopping spree.  Travel, vacations, cars and sirens; now, usually that’s no big deal in this organization, but it immediately became one when he bought the 21st century equivalent of the Cone of Silence for a price of $40,000+. Now, the jig is up; or at least it should be.  But then there’s his mission.

In this case, his mission-and he’s chosen to accept it-is the reversal of Obama administration protection improvements under the rationale that they hindered business growth more than they protected the environment.  In other words, Ka-Ching!  Rules like the one that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into local streams or the one that piqued the building trades by forcing federal agencies to ensure infrastructure projects adhere to new higher flood standards or the order that would’ve curbed the sale of water bottles in national parks; the International Bottled Water Association was not happy.  The words “costly” and “burdensome” are cheers for repeal as an organization created out of concern for the planet and man’s desire to ensure we continue to have a healthy one, succumbs to the powers it was trying to protect us from.

It’s ironic that we’re two weeks out from Earth Day 2018 and now almost fifty years after its creation, the EPA is in the midst of such a massive rollback of regulations.  We’re going backward instead of forward and that will cause us harm.  You can bet it’ll happen because we’re erasing the structures requiring businesses to adhere to safety measures; all for the sake of profit.

A good example is last night’s fire in NYC’s Trump Tower; the second 2018 blaze in a sprinkler-free residential tower.  Built in 1984 before sprinklers were mandated in such residences, then developer Trump lobbied against an order requiring existing buildings to install the life saving measures and only ceased his efforts after the passed-legislation included grandfathering provisions that exempted him and other developers from needing to retrofit their properties. Again, in other words, Ka-Ching!

But even as troubling as such greediness is, and it is upsetting because people will die from the laxity, it’s what it will do to our expectations of government or our perceptions that concerns me just as much.  Do we as private citizens continue to look at our world as something to protect and ourselves as stewards in charge of that lofty and honorable task?  Or do we just say f*#@ it, I’m here and I’m gonna get mine while I’m here and damn anybody who comes after me?

In February of this year, a 60-year old man was accused of stealing about a cup of potassium cyanide from the Merck chemical company where he worked as an analyst.  Claiming to need it for a “coon” problem he had at home, Richard O’Rourke was charged with risking a catastrophe after dumping the chemical down a storm inlet along a Bucks County road once he found out he was under investigation for the theft.  And in January, a Houston company was charged with routinely pouring hazardous materials down a storm drain on company property.  Wright Containers, LLC is due back in court to answer before a judge why they failed to keep disposal records of chemicals corrosive enough to burn skin on contact.

It seems enough have already made up their mind which means that ordinary citizens like you and me will continue to be denied our right to provide input while a few will make decisions affecting us now and into the far future.  And as this new incarnation of CONTROL grows, rather than fighting the KAOS that emerges out of the Trump White House, it will concentrate on bolstering the denial of the president’s proponents.  One last time, Ka-Ching!

Rollback info from 67 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump by NADJA POPOVICHLIVIA ALBECK-RIPKA and KENDRA PIERRE-LOUIS; UPDATED Jan. 31, 2018

Other material from Get Smart Wiki, the CONTROL Files

 

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