Fact check: EPA chief gets his facts wrong on coal jobs

The President announced the rollback last week, shortly before declaring he was withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement, a landmark global commitment to combat climate change pollution.

When Pruitt dodged the question, explaining instead that if the USA joined the Paris accord, lawsuits would compel the EPA to meet the agreement's regulations, the MSNBC host cut in again.

The coalition of attorney generals bases their legal argument on the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which they say does not give EPA latitude to leave certain tolerances in place without definitively proving their safety.

Pruitt and White House senior strategist Stephen K. Bannon persuaded Trump to make good on his campaign pledge to pull the plug on the Paris Accord over strong objections from the scientific community, many major and influential corporations including Exxon-Mobil, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Pope Francis, and even Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

Also in the world of environmental regulations this week, the Environmental Defense Fund and other health and environmental groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to block Pruitt and the EPA from "stripping away vital air pollution safeguards for thousands of industrial sources in the oil and gas sector".

According to Murray, 30 percent of America's electricity is produced by coal mining plants and any reduction will leave the USA with an unreliable electric grid.

Dow's back-channel campaign to get the agency to abandon a almost four-year effort to protect endangered species from these pesticides is revealed in letters in which Dow urges the Trump administration and Pruitt to withdraw "biological evaluations" that were finalized in January detailing how three highly toxic organophosphate insecticides - chlorpyrifos, malathion and diazinon - harm almost all 1,800 threatened and endangered animals and plants.

That's not true: Pruitt is quoting jobs numbers from the mining industry overall. Many readers asked about this claim, noting that there are only about 50,000 jobs in coal.

The lawsuit was the first court challenge of a Trump administration rollback of a climate change regulation. BLS sometimes lumps under the "mining" shorthand the same way that you might buy food or drinks from a gas station, and have it show up as "gas" on your credit card bill. There were 211,700 support jobs for oil and gas operations in April, according to the BLS.

So, rather than the gain of 47,000 jobs touted by Pruitt, the reality is that 1,000 coal jobs have been added since Trump became president. In an email, Terry Headley, a spokesman for the council, provided us a link to a report by the National Mining Association that showed there were 81,842 coal jobs in 2016.

The charitable might point out that in other interviews that same day, Pruitt used the same talking points but was careful to mention the broader mining industry, so that his statement would not be straight-up false.

But the scientists also concluded that while the industry got better at preventing methane from escaping, increased production of oil and gas in the United States had offset the drop in leaks.

But even when Pruitt is being "technically" correct, he's still not really being completely and totally truthful, which we're sure comes as a shock given that he's probably the first E.P.A. administrator to openly hate the environment.

"What we've done as a country is lead through innovation and technology", said Pruitt.

The President made that explosive claim in this Tweet from 2012.

  • Larry Hoffman