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Mink writes: "His scandals, I told him, would ultimately push him out, but his real crime was the one he was committing against children like my son, who I held in my arms."

Scott Pruitt. (photo: WP)
Scott Pruitt. (photo: WP)

I Confronted Scott Pruitt Not for His Corruption but for His Environmental Crimes

By Kristin Mink, Guardian UK

09 July 18

His scandals, I told him, would ultimately push him out, but his real crime was the one he was committing against children like my son, who I held in my arms

ast Monday, I was suddenly and unexpectedly given the opportunity to express my frustration with the Trump administration directly to one of its cabinet members. I saw then EPA administrator Scott Pruitt eating lunch, three tables away.

I have long been sick of this administration’s favor for big business and its wealthy friends over the health and wellbeing of everyday people. Under Trump’s direction, Pruitt rolled back health and safety regulations hard won over decades and put in place to protect our air, water, food, climate, national parks and more. He also made a name for himself by accumulating a truly amazing list of scandals, including paying heavily discounted rent to stay in a condo linked to an energy lobbyist whose clients were supposed to be monitored by the EPA.

The extent of Pruitt’s corruption was remarkable and Trump’s continued support for him indefensible. But what really drove me to approach Pruitt was his crimes against humanity.

The rest of the world largely agrees that climate change is an urgent problem that needs to be addressed immediately, or our children and our children’s children will pay a steep price. This reality is very inconvenient for industry tycoons who can make money right now with factories that pollute our air and water. Pruitt resolved this conflict by flat-out denying accepted science about climate change. He even sought to prevent scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying the environment from sharing their research on how to protect it.

To name just a few bullet points on his laundry list of destructive deregulation, Pruitt revoked emissions requirements for oil and gas companies, refused to ban a pesticide (chlorpyrifos) known to severely harm children and ordered the EPA to rescind the Clear Water Rule, which was put in place to protect the streams that feed our drinking water.

When I saw Pruitt just a few yards away, I knew I had to tell him I knew exactly what he was doing, that America knew, and that he needed to resign.

His scandals, I told him, would ultimately push him out, but his real crime was the one he was committing against children like my son, who I held in my arms: poisoning their water and their air, hastening our fragile environment toward the point of no return, all for short-term gain for himself and his rich and powerful industry buddies.

Pruitt had no defense. Three days later, as public pressure mounted and more corruption charges were levied, he resigned.

Trump declared that Pruitt had done an “outstanding job” and appointed a former coal lobbyist to replace him who will continue with the exact same special-interests agenda. Washington insider Andrew Wheeler doesn’t come with cartoonish, media-ready scandals. He may well hope to fly under the radar while carrying out the same atrocious mission within the EPA, on behalf of his powerful friends.

That is why each of us needs to stand up and speak out for ourselves, our children and future generations, before it’s too late. Now is the time for us to individually and collectively have our voices heard.

Last year, 50 Republicans and two Democrats voted to approve Scott Pruitt, a man who sued the EPA for its efforts to protect the environment, to head the agency. They need to know that come the November midterms, we will vote out every one who does not have the backbone to stand up for us and our children.

I have heard from hundreds of people who have told me that they could not have done what I did. They could not approach a public servant and speak their mind. To them I say, I didn’t know I could do it either.

I was afraid I’d lose my nerve. I came with notes I’d scribbled on the back of my receipt because I was afraid my mind would go blank. But my desperate need to do what I can to protect my child, the next generation, our future, made me march up to Pruitt despite my fear.

There comes a time when “I can’t” needs to be replaced with “I must”. We have reached that time. your social media marketing partner


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+9 # BetaTheta 2018-07-09 19:06
Bravo! You make the case for public shaming of corrupt public officials, and I hope your words were instrumental in his leaving the scene. I think people like Pruitt live in bubbles of their own devising, surrounded by lobbyists who cheer them on. A cold dose of reality from real people is exactly what they need.
+12 # jimallyn 2018-07-09 23:30
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Kristin Mink! You did what needs to be done with ALL the Trumpites: call them out on their misdeeds. Also, you are the first person besides myself I have seen refer to climate change denial and indeed, actively promoting climate change, as "crimes against humanity." I looked up the Rome Statute of the international Criminal Court and other legal documents to confirm, and there is no doubt about it: Those who take actions that will make climate change worse are guilty of crimes against humanity. That means Pruitt, Trump, McConnell, Ryan, the fossil fuel execs - the entire lot of them - are guilty of crimes against humanity, and should spend the rest of their lives in prison. I wish international courts would issue arrest warrants for them all. Not that I think anybody in the U.S. is likely to arrest them, but it would at least put a crimp in their style by preventing them from ever leaving the United States.
+7 # economagic 2018-07-10 05:56
Perhaps your experience will "wake" the people of this country to the bleak reality of the future they have chosen or allowed. Like most tyrants, our misleaders are psychopaths who thrive on the suffering of others. But many tyrants of the past have had a clear understanding of the world they were living in and used that knowledge to subdue it for a time. The tyrants of today are reminiscent of the "Know Nothing" party of the mid-19th century, which was virulently anti-immigrant and also anti-Catholic. It was made up of local secret societies and acquired its name by the practice of its members of denying knowledge of their actions when confronted. But unlike them, our tyrants today really DO know nothing and take pride in their ignorance.

An article on RSN yesterday (9 July) sheds some light on what we are up against:
+1 # Wise woman 2018-07-10 08:04
Hopefully, there will be a special place in hell for Pruitt and his fellow minions in Washington. In the meantime, all of us must resist and repeal at every level until our long national nightmare is over.
+1 # lfeuille 2018-07-10 18:11
They are related. His corruption feeds his enviromental crimes. He gets paid for them.

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