Restoring the EPA: Lessons from the past

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Op Ed from The Hill: No agency of the federal government needs to “build back better” more than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It faces a particularly unhappy legacy from the last four years, but it will need to rebuild itself looking forward — not back.

There is much damage to repair, including dismaying and insidious acts by the Trump administration on its way out the door. Previous Republican and Democratic EPA administrators have described their role as a relay race, where you took the baton from the previous runner, ran as hard as you could and then handed off the baton to the next person to make their own progress. More than any previous administration, the Trump EPA team ran backwards, creating the double burden of making up lost ground while also meeting new challenges.

Some have compared this situation to the restoration of the EPA following the tenure of then-EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch Burford in the first term of the Reagan administration. In that case, following two years of repeated scandal and adverse publicity, Burford resigned and was replaced by Bill Ruckelshaus, the. EPA’s first administrator who earned an unquestioned reputation for integrity during the Watergate scandal.

The Reagan administration, like the Trump administration, came into office intending to undo environmental regulation. But they also had to implement a vast new Superfund law that passed in the last days of the Carter administration.  Read more..

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