In our view stand up for environment the columbian

That leaves it for states to hold the EPA accountable to citizens. On Thursday, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that Washington is joining 13 other states in filing a suit against Pruitt for violation of the Clean Air Act. This particular action follows the EPA’s refusal to limit emissions of methane and other pollutants from oil and gas facilities, but it could have targeted any one of numerous actions from the federal agency.

Ferguson and other attorneys general must continue to stand up for the people of the United States, driving home the point that clean air and clean water are essential to a high quality of life and our health.


Those points apparently are lost on Pruitt, who has routinely rolled back protections for the benefit of big businesses at the expense of the public.

Recently, Pruitt announced a desire to revoke standards calling for automakers to increase the fleetwide mileage average for cars and light trucks to 50 miles per gallon. The standards were devised by the Obama administration through negotiations with the auto industry, the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and state environmental agencies. The benefits are vehicles that are less costly to operate; improved air quality that helps slow climate change; and a reduction in reliance upon foreign oil. In addition, vehicles with lower fuel costs will make U.S. automakers more competitive in the global market.

Pruitt, however, has long been a champion of big oil companies and big energy companies, placing a desire for corporate profit ahead of the health of citizens and the environment. It is an ethos that long ago was rejected by Americans with the creation of the EPA in the early 1970s, a time when belching smokestacks fouled the air and water — and it should be rejected now.

With the administration appearing intent upon rolling back regulations and returning the United States to an era of environmental degradation, it is imperative that states hold government accountable. There is some irony in that. As attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt joined more than one dozen lawsuits against the federal EPA, most of them unsuccessful.

In anticipation of the EPA’s rollback of fuel standards, Democratic attorneys general last year noted: “There are at least three separate reports by scientists, engineers and other experts analyzing the standards and concluding they are feasible.”

Not only are they feasible, they are the right thing to do. California has led the way in setting its own emission and mileage regulations for vehicles, and several other states have followed suit, recognizing that such a move will have long-term benefits. Polluted air has been cited as a factor in asthma, heart and lung disease, and premature death, and rolling back standards runs counter to the idea of making America great again.

In addition to attention from state governments, the issue depends upon citizens making their voices heard; comments for the EPA can be delivered online (https://tinyurl.com/ycgmmsjc). And for those who question the efficacy of environmental regulations, we refer you to the Documerica project that was undertaken during the 1970s (https://tinyurl.com/y92ruwn8).