Letter was written by the Texas attorney general
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin fired another shot at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, adding Kentucky to 18 other states calling on the agency’s new administrator to “end federal overreach.”
Indiana Attorney General Curtis T. Hill also signed the letter, along with 16 other attorney generals and the governor of Mississippi.
“In recent years, many federal environmental regulations have been the product of political and social ideology,” Bevin said in a written statement that did not include examples. “Today, our administration joined with other states in a letter urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to roll back federal overreach and return primary responsibility for the care of our environment to the appropriate state agencies.”
Neither the letter nor the press release commented on the Trump administration’s proposal to cut by 30 percent grants that states’ already use to enforce laws like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.
Bevin spokesman Woody Maglinger did not immediately return a request for comment about the funding issue, which the Courier-Journal reported on in recent days. A top state regulator last week told the newspaper that about a third of the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection staff is paid for with EPA those funds.
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Also Tuesday, William D. Ruckelshaus, a Hoosier who was EPA administrator under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan, published a commentary for the New York Times, warning the Trump administration of its own potential overreach.
“Budget cuts that hurt programs that states now have in place to meet those duties run the risk of returning us to a time when some states offered industries a free lunch, creating havens for polluters,” Ruckelshaus wrote. “This could leave states with strong environmental programs supported by the public at a competitive disadvantage compared to states with weak programs. In other words, it could lead to a race to the bottom.”
Reagan discovered the public demanded health and environmental protections, he wrote.
The states that joined Kentucky in the letter included Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
“Respectfully, we ask that you consider the steps that the Agency may take to restore the principles of cooperative federalism embodied in these important statutes,” the letter to Pruitt said.
Bevin recently described the EPA as “Frankenstein” and has called on Trump to “gut” the agency.
Reach reporter James Bruggers at 502-582-4645 and at email@example.com.
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President Donald Trump only mentioned the environment in passing during his speech before Congress. He’s said he wants to get rid of the EPA. Rep. Thomas Massie has co-sponsored a bill to do that, effective Dec. 31, 2018. With the EPA under such strong attack, we thought we’d see what Louisville was like before the agency was established in 1970 President Richard Nixon. James Bruggers/Wochit