WASHINGTON – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt plans to stop funding federal prosecutors who hold corporations responsible for polluting communities across the country, according to a report by the New York Times’ Charlie Savage.
According to the documents obtained by the Times, Pruitt is moving to eliminate the $20 million the agency provides each year to the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. These prosecutors force polluters to pay cleanup costs at Superfund sites, and for other contamination spills and releases in violation of federal civil and criminal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, among others.
The EPA funds pay the salaries of 115 full-time DOJ employees in the environmental enforcement division. Between 1986 and 2016, the reimbursements of $810 million to the EPA have accounted for 27 percent of the budget for the division charged with environmental enforcement.
“This is just more evidence EPA Administrator Pruitt doesn’t give a rip about protecting people from pollution,” said Environmental Working Group President and Co-Founder Ken Cook. “Starving prosecutors of the resources needed to hold polluters accountable only underscores Pruitt’s total contempt for safeguarding public health and our natural resources from industrial contamination.”