Pruitt Exploits Federal Drinking Water Law to Boost Salaries, Not for Clean Water—Yet Takes Credit for Fixing Flint’s Crisis on Twitter

One day after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Twitter account took credit for the Obama administration efforts to fix the Flint drinking water crisis, press reports revealed that Pruitt also exploited a provision of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act to evade ethics rules and protect polluters’ agendas.

A statement follows from Erik Olson, the Director of Health at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“We’re not fooled by the smoke and mirrors: Scott Pruitt is protecting polluters, not people or their drinking water. It’s the height of hypocrisy for Pruitt’s EPA to try to take credit it doesn’t deserve for fixing the Flint water crisis, while at the same time using the safe drinking water law to give his favorite aides big salary boosts and apparently to try to evade important legal and ethics requirements. That’s not protecting public health, it’s putting it at grave risk—and insulting Americans' intelligence in the process.”


The Atlantic reported today that Pruitt expanded use of a provision in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act that permits the EPA administrator to hire experts into the agency without White House or Congressional approval. Pruitt used that provision to give unauthorized pay increases to close aides, and to hire Nancy Beck, a former lobbyist for the chemical industry trade group, to run the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

Yesterday, the EPA tweeted “This year we have owned up to the previous administrations mistakes and have awarded rebuilding cities such as Flint Michigan with $100 million for water infrastructure upgrades.”  This is untrue. Funding for Flint was signed by President Obama in December 2016.

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