Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt on Thursday hailed a new era of environmental deregulation in a speech that took place in a coal mine recently fined for polluting local waterways.
Pruitt, who earlier that day called for the U.S. to exit the Paris climate deal, said the new EPA would focus on bolstering jobs in the fossil fuel industries, such as coal, oil, and gas, and would gut rules on fighting climate change, protecting water, and keeping a lid on vehicle emissions.
"The coal industry was nearly devastated by years of regulatory overreach, but with new direction from President [Donald] Trump, we are helping to turn things around for these miners and for many other hardworking Americans," he said.
Pruitt delivered the speech from Consol Energy mine in Harvey, Pennsylvania, which in 2016 was fined $3 million for sending millions of pounds of toxic materials into tributaries of the Ohio River from 2006 to 2015. As Environment America's clean water program director John Rumpler noted Thursday, Pruitt's vision for the EPA and the Trump administration's proposed budget would make it harder for the agency to hold polluters like Consol accountable in the future.