Per Chicago Tonight’s Alex Ruppenthal, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is joining 12 other states in filing lawsuits towards the EPA over recently dismissed director Scott Pruitt’s final order suspending a 2016 regulation limiting the number of highly polluting trucks allowed to be on the road. A few weeks ago in a separate lawsuit, a District Court judge ruled that the EPA violated clean air standards in multiple states, including Illinois. This blog covered the issue here. It has been a deservedly bad last few months for Pruitt. On July 6th he resigned after it became clear that he was failing to enforce conflict of interest laws along with evidence of unethical spending on travel and security. His whole tenure was defined by scandals and lies, like the administration who appointed him. In his creepy resignation letter, it was very clear who Pruitt thought he was there to serve- Donald Trump. This is generally not the way positions like the director of the Environmental Protection Agency are supposed to work. Ideally they would serve the people’s interest in limiting the damages businesses do to the environment, but unfortunately Pruitt was more likely to make the EPA a business partner to polluting industries rather than an actual barrier against them. This is historically how the EPA has operated even before Trump and Pruitt took office. Industries have largely been given free reign in doing damage to the environment wherever and whenever they want, draining valuable resources from the world. The Independent just posted an article today where ecology experts claim that humanity used up a years worth of the earth’s resources in just seven months, 1.7 times faster than the planet’s ecosystem can regenerate according to those experts. America is not the only one contributing to the damage, but they are clearly a very big culprit. The point is that we are in an increasingly dire environmental situation, and it’s only being compounded by men like Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump.
As to the details of this particular lawsuit, the EPA just can’t get out of its own way or maybe it just doesn’t want to. They announced on Pruitt’s final day in office that they wouldn’t even bother enforcing the 2016 Glider rule, a rule the EPA itself created. According to Ruppenthal, the “Glider rule mandates that most engines installed in gliders meet the same emissions standards applicable to newly manufactured engines, which create significantly less pollution. It also caps the number of gliders a company can manufacturer each year at 300. The rule is meant to limit the excessive amounts of smog and lung-damaging particulate matter emitted by outdated truck engines, which have been described as “super polluting.”(Ruppenthal) As the article mentions, this is the not the first time Madigan has sued the EPA, the details of which Ruppenthal helpfully links. Madigan’s office claims that the trucks Pruitt suspended this rule to allow the sale for, will emit up to 55 times as much air pollution as trucks structured with more modern emission standards outlined by the Glider rule. As Ruppenthal notes, this pollution has been tied to various illnesses such as asthma and cancer. On Friday, Madigan declared in a statement that “If left unchallenged, this outrageous special interest giveaway will cause widespread harm to the environment. Allowing these highly polluting trucks to circumvent necessary clean air safeguards is unlawful.” Madigan is a career politician and an extremely skilled one at that so it’s hard to buy that there is much idealism in this decision. But that really doesn’t matter in the current climate, as any politician willing to make the faintest stand for the environment is valuable. It’s also nice to see that these lawsuits are serving as a sort of unifying force for multiples states who have had enough of the EPA’s corruption, and the coalition seems to be gaining strength. We can only hope that politicians like Madigan don’t forget about environmental issues when their political value decreases.