Best of the Press

Civics 101:Episode 66: The EPA 
New Hampshire Public Radio/National Public Radio

In the 1960’s, the American public looked around at the environment—polluted rivers, smoggy skies—and decided something needed to be done. By 1970, the blooming environmental movement had an official voice in the government: the Environmental Protection Agency. But what can the agency actually do, and how has its job changed with our changing environmental challenges? Guiding us through the brief, eventful history of EPA is Stan Meiburg, former Acting Deputy Administrator of EPA under President Obama. 

PBS Front Line SEASON 35: EPISODE 16
How Scott Pruitt went from fighting the Environmental Protection Agency to running it and rolling back years of policy.

Emissions from power plant stacks in Newburg, Maryland.

Enough Protection Already? The EPA Under President Trump
1A, WAMU 88.5 (DC)

The Environmental Protection Agency employs more than fifteen thousand workers and spends eight billion dollars a year. The Trump administration thinks the EPA is too big and doing too much.

The agency’s new leader, Scott Pruitt, has been undoing much of President Obama’s legacy on climate change, refocusing the EPA on a more conservative agenda.

We’ll look at what these changes mean for the EPA and the environment it was established to protect.

Portrait of Wendy Cleland-Hamnett

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Toxic Chemicals at the E.P.A.
New York Times podcast

Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, a former Environmental Protection Agency official, fought for years to protect American consumers from toxic chemicals found in everyday products. Nancy B. Beck, a scientist who worked for the chemical industry, saw these efforts as overregulation by the federal government.

This is the story of the E.P.A. under President Trump, as told by the shifting powers of two women.

Discharge from the Weyerhauser Paper Mills and Reynolds Metal Plant along the Columbia River fills the sky on Longview, Washington. April 1973

What the West was like before the EPA
High Country News

The agency’s legacy isn’t perfect, but the region’s air and water are cleaner now than they once were.

Smokestacks emitting fumes at hazardous waste incineration plant.
smokestacks from Heritage Thermal Services in East Liverpool, Ohio. Heritage incinerates hazardous waste at this facility.

Under Trump, E.P.A. Has Slowed Actions Against Polluters, and Put Limits on Enforcement Officers

New York Times

The Times built a database of civil cases filed at the E.P.A. during the Trump, Obama and Bush administrations. During the first nine months under Mr. Pruitt’s leadership, the E.P.A. started about 1,900 cases, about one-third fewer than the number under President Barack Obama’s first E.P.A. director and about one-quarter fewer than under President George W. Bush’s over the same time period.

In addition, the agency sought civil penalties of about $50.4 million from polluters for cases initiated under Mr. Trump. Adjusted for inflation, that is about 39 percent of what the Obama administration sought and about 70 percent of what the Bush administration sought over the same time period.
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