Following Elizabeth “Betsy” Southerland’s viral resignation letter (pdf), in which the longtime Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official lambasted the Trump administration’s troubling deregulatory agenda, she is now sharing details about how the agency’s staffers spend their days addressing polluters’ demands to rescind environmental regulations.

As Sharon Lerner reported, based on Southerland’s claims that EPA staffers are “now devoted to regulatory rollback based on the requests from industry,” and an agency spreadsheet obtained by The Intercept:

“They pulled out the ones from the industry—the coal, electric power, oil and natural gas areas, just them—and sent them around and asked us to respond within one day about whether we agreed with the request for a repeal,” Southerland told Lerner.

The former official also said agency staffers are rejecting industry demands, because there’s no new scientific evidence or data to support the rollbacks, but she also warned about the Trump and Pruitt’s continued willingness to push for polluters’ proposals.

“There is no question the administration is seriously weakening EPA’s mission by vigorously pursuing an industry deregulation approach and defunding implementation of environmental programs.”
—Betsy Southerland, former EPA official

“There is no question,” Southerland told the Washington Post, “the administration is seriously weakening EPA’s mission by vigorously pursuing an industry deregulation approach and defunding implementation of environmental programs.”

As the Post noted, “Southerland’s resignation came during the same month that a Union of Concerned Scientists report said Trump is creating a ‘hostile environment for scientific staff.'”

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