Photo: AP

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who either denies climate change or thinks it might be good, actually depending on how he feels that day, has done his very best to decimate the agency’s ranks at the same time he’s spent hundreds of thousands in taxpayer money on elaborate security measures like 24-hour guards and biometric office locks. Now, per the New Hampshire Union Leader, Pruitt has an explanation for the $90,000-plus he spent flying on largely-first class seats in June 2017.

It’s that people hate him so much he requires extra security, lest randos jump him in coach or whatever.

“Unfortunately ... we’ve had some incidents on travel dating back to when I first started serving in the March-April timeframe,” Pruitt told the Union Leader on Tuesday. “We live in a very toxic environment politically, particularly around issues of the environment.”

“We’ve reached the point where there’s not much civility in the marketplace and it’s created, you know, it’s created some issues and the (security) detail, the level of protection is determined by the level of threat,” Pruitt continued. “I’m not involved in any of those decisions ... Those are all made by the (security) detail, the security assessment in addition to the chief of staff.”

As the Huffington Post noted, the EPA has defended Pruitt’s lavish flight expenditures as legitimate government spending, and CNN reported he’s received numerous death threats:

The EPA defended Pruitt’s travel in an interview with The Washington Post on Sunday, saying ethics officials had approved the expenses. Federal regulations state that government employees must “consider the least expensive class of travel” for their needs, but security concerns do allow for more expensive bookings.

CNN reported in October that Pruitt gets at least “four to five times the number of threats” as his predecessor. He’s also the first person in the role to have a full-time security detail at a cost of about $2 million a year.

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More threats than his predecessors may not exactly be a Code Red situation, though, as prior agency chiefs did not request anywhere near the same level of security as Pruitt. Former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, a vocal Pruitt critic herself controversial from her tenure under President George W. Bush, told CNN that she felt no need to install elaborate security systems in her office and that cleaning staff could enter and exit with no restrictions.

It’s pretty obvious that sending Pruitt death threats is bad, extremely dumb, and absolutely will not do anything to make him think twice about his relentless crusade against the environmental mission of his own agency. But at the same time, something tells me he’s been reading a little too much about “antifa supersoldiers.”

In any case, perhaps the reason the EPA is suddenly attracting so much negative publicity over the course of the past year is things like Pruitt suggesting that it would be “arrogant” for humans to predict what temperatures are ideal for the continued survival of the species at the turn of the century, or his efforts to deregulate major polluters, or raise radiation safety limits, and various stuff of that nature. Not sure it says that in How to Make Friends and Influence People, though hey, there’s a lot of reading Pruitt should probably catch up on.

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[New Hampshire Union Leader]