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Mr. Pruitt,

It’s been a little over three months since I last wrote and I have yet to receive a response. 

No, no — it’s okay.  You’re a very busy man, and I appreciate that indulging my curiosity as to how the hell you’re able to sleep at night isn’t exactly at the top of your priority list. 

But don’t bother tearing yourself away from that titillating game of footsie at the Petroleum Club to enlighten me.  As the weeks press on, the answer has become self-evident.

Since no dose of Ambien could ever soothe to sleep a scrupled person whose actions jeopardize millions of people and ecosystems across the planet — much less someone whose professional mandate is “to protect human health and the environment” — the only conceivable explanation is that you have absolutely no conscience whatsoever.

Let me put it this way…

You Have Taken Formal Steps to Rescind a Federal Rule That Protects Drinking Water for 117 Million Americans

In 2015, the Obama Administration issued the Clean Water Rule (a.k.a. Waters of the United States, or WOTUS) to clarify which waterways are entitled to protection under the Clean Water Act of 1972. 

Designed to protect drinking water for more than a third of our nation’s population from agricultural chemicals, fertilizers and other industrial contaminants, the rule was supported by a 408-page technical report outlining scientific reasons for both the inclusion and exclusion of various water sources.

On June 27, you made good on your earlier promise by formally setting in motion the process to rescind the Clean Water Rule, effectively shapeshifting drinking water into corporate profits.

And while you made no mention of the exhaustive Obama era report, that’s hardly surprising.  It’s science, after all. 

The Clean Water Rule protects streams like this one to ensure healthy drinking water for millions of Americans. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

You Rejected a Proposed Ban on a Pesticide Proven to Cause Neurotoxicity in Children Just Days After Meeting with the Manufacturer’s CEO

Back in March, you defied the EPA’s own research and rejected a petition to ban chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide manufactured by Dow Chemical that has been proven to damage children’s brains (causing low IQ, poor memory and attention deficit disorders), as well as poison farmworkers, contaminate food and drinking water, and harm 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.

Despite an April statement by your EPA spokesman to the contrary, a series of Freedom of Information Act requests recently revealed that you met with Dow’s CEO Andrew Liveris  — who, incidentally, forked over $1 million for Trump’s inaugural celebration — a mere 20 days before you denied the ban. 

As for that old “the science isn’t settled” argument, just don’t. 

When the American Academy of Pediatrics expresses its alarm due to the “wealth of evidence demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women,” anyone with a molecule of decency would proceed with a ban. 

Also, let’s not sidestep the fact that chlorpyrifos disproportionately impacts farmworkers and their children — poor people of color who are far too often exploited and left without recourse.

Once again, you have placed the profits of a chemical giant over the lives of those you’re supposed to be protecting.  And you call yourself a public servant.

Chlorpyrifos poses the greatest risks to farmworkers and their children. (Photo: National Farm Worker Ministry/Flickr)

You Wildly Misrepresented the Number of New Coal Sector Jobs

A crucial segment of your President’s base is made up of workers across the nation — particularly in coal country — who are desperate for a job.  They have been outspoken supporters of Trump, who campaigned heavily on a promise to bring their jobs back.

But that pledge is disingenuous because global market forces far beyond this administration’s reach ultimately dictate, and these workers are hanging on by a thread of false hope.

So when you go on Meet the Press claiming that the coal sector added “almost 50,000 jobs” since last year but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals an increase of only 1,300, you’re once again preying on the most vulnerable to advance your administration’s agenda.

Effects of coal mining. (Photo: Jennifer Woodard Madera/Flickr)

You Convinced Trump to Withdraw From the Historic Paris Accord

While it was media-obsessed Trump who announced his intent to extract the United States from the Paris climate agreement as if he were a washed-up celebrity delivering a high school commencement speech, your imprint was all over that hideous decision.

Even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of oil giant Exxon, advocated for remaining at the negotiating table.  And with Ivanka and Jared purportedly pushing Trump to abide by the agreement, we can only assume that you took a particularly bullheaded stance against it.

Without delving into the multitude of reasons this move imperils our planet, our communities, and, ironically, our nation’s economy, suffice it to say that “America First” will ultimately prove to “Make America Mediocre.”

But none of this will concern you, as you dine on filet mignon and clink Petroleum Club glasses with industry executives who look just like you.

Ariane Sims is a writer, lawyer and Senior Vice President of Planet Experts.

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