SPRINGFIELD — KOLR10 heard reaction from a local environmentalist, and Missouri Governor Mike Parson.
The Environmental Protection Agencys’ Top Official, Chief Scott Pruitt resigned Thursday amid being under the microscope for several ethics violations and being the center of multiple investigations.
On a day Governor Parson was in Springfield to sign a number of bills into law, he took time to comment to KOLR10 about the resignation of embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt and what it means for the state of Missouri. For now, Parson is taking the wait and see approach.
“I don’t what impact it will be it depends on what changes are made, what happens in the near future with how quick another appointment is made. Anytime we deal with EPA regulations, we are always concerned with that here in Missouri so we will be watching that very closely,” Parson says.
Retired Environmentalist Joe Pitts served for 24 years for Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources, and has spent time with the Sierra Club and James River Basin Partnership. He says Pruitt unwinding decades worth of old regulations in just a couple of years could become a detriment to public health.
“Just the damage that has been done now to the regulatory frame work will take about 10 years or more to get it back to any semblance of what we would call normalcy,” says Pitts.
Pitts cited rollbacks in regulations on agriculture, coal-power generation, and the Obama-Era Clean Water Act. He says not holding farmers and landowners accountable for dumping into streams is causing polluted runoff.
“There is nothing in the constitution that gives them the right to create profit at the expense of my health and safety. That’s where you get the tension between environmental issues vs. political issues vs. business issues. Scott Pruitt will no longer be misusing federal funds and acting unethically in ways other than the environment,” Pitts says.
Aside from certain disagreements that some had with his environmental views, Pruitt faces many ethical investigations regarding thousands of dollars used on travel and housing, and he also faces 15 different government audits, reviews, and inquiries.
Following Pruitts’ exit, President Trump has appointed an interim EPA chief — Pruitts’ second in command, Andrew Wheeler — a former lobbyist for the coal industry.