- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Donald Trump has barred staff at the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing any new contracts or grants, and has ordered a media blackout until his nominee to lead the agency, Scott Pruitt, is confirmed by Congress.

According to a report from The Associated Press, “Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday … detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts.”

“The Trump administration has also ordered what it called a temporary suspension of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders were expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide, the AP reported.

What great news for an agency with a history of executive overreach and lawlessness (using the Clean Power Plan to wipe out the coal industry, expanding its authority to lay claim on any pond or waterway, colluding with environmental groups to expand their power through rule-making).

In a Tuesday editorial, The Wall Street Journal suggested Mr. Pruitt, once confirmed, revoke the agency’s Pebble Mine veto, which trounced states’ rights and was completely political in nature.

“In February 2014 the EPA took the unprecedented step of issuing a pre-emptive veto, blocking a proposal to create America’s largest copper and gold mine in southwest Alaska,” the Journal writes. “The veto was a message to every developer that the EPA would stop any project the environmental left opposed — with no hearing and sham science.”

That would be a good start.

But for now, just blocking the agency and its career staff from tweeting, suffices.

For the day will come when Mr. Pruitt takes charge — and the business of regulation through litigation and environmental policy by universal decree will be over.

Glad Mr. Trump is taking the right first steps to ensure this will happen.

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