Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Editorials

Pruitt departs. Count the silver.

Just when America had all but given up hope, Scott Pruitt’s appalling reign as Environmental Protection Agency administrator is finally over. Thursday afternoon, Pruitt delivered President Donald Trump his resignation letter, replete with references to "God’s providence" and how "blessed" he was to have had the opportunity to serve not the nation but this president. He sadly noted that "the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us." And so Pruitt heads for the door, leaving behind a dark, oily stain on the office that he has spent the past year and a half vigorously defiling.

For months, Pruitt held on to his job as the embarrassing revelations piled up like so many used mattresses: his profligate spending on posh travel, over-the-top security, and ridiculous, self-aggrandizing office supplies; his directing agency staffers to run his personal errands, including finding him a place to live in Washington and combing hotels for his favorite skin cream; his attempts to score his wife a high-paying job, possibly involving chicken nuggets and waffle fries. Every week seemed to bring fresh examples of Pruitt’s shameless and yet surprisingly petty misuse of his office.

Trump’s willingness to tolerate Pruitt’s chicanery was not surprising. The two men share an environmental philosophy that may be roughly summarized as "industry over science," and, for all his flaws, Pruitt was tireless in the crusade to dismantle environmental protections. His greatest hits include playing a key role in getting Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement; pushing the repeal of numerous Obama-era regulations, including those to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and automobiles; and instituting a policy that barred scientists who receive federal grants from serving on the EPA’s advisory committees, while simultaneously welcoming corporate representatives onto these panels. In June, the Times reported that the EPA had decided for the most part not to consider exposure to chemicals through the air, water or ground when it is evaluating whether they should be regulated or banned under a bipartisan law passed in 2016.

In the end, Pruitt was driven from office for having abused his position so outrageously. But if Trump continues down the same policy paths, as seems likely, Pruitt’s more lasting legacy, along with the president’s, will be an overheated planet and shortened life spans.

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Wednesday’s letters: How home rule can help fight Red Tide

Red Tide on march | Sept. 18How home rule can help fight Red TideAt the end of 2005, as Red Tide ravaged the beaches and intracoastal waterways of Southwest Florida, volunteers from the Suncoast Sierra Club formed a coastal task force to begin de...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Cartoons for Wednesday, Sept. 19

Cartoons for Wednesday, Sept. 19

Editorial cartoons from Times wires
Published: 09/18/18
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/18/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18

Column: We’re measuring the economy all wrong

Ten years after the collapse of Lehman Bros., the official economic statistics — the ones that fill news stories, television shows and presidential tweets — say that the U.S. economy is fully recovered.The unemployment rate is lower tha...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18
Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Gov. Rick Scott has headed down a dangerous path by announcing he has started the process to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court as he heads out the door. But to his credit, the governor indicated his "expectation’’ is that he ...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18