Time for EPA to forget Pruitt's hand lotion and roll up its sleeves

“We’re talking about getting back to the basics,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told us last fall. Contrasting his vision with former President Barack Obama’s dirigiste agency, Pruitt told us, “We want to focus on tangible, beneficial results to American citizens across the country.”

This promise that the agency would get “back to basics” gave hope that Pruitt’s EPA would dedicate its resources to the core functions with which Congress charged it.

Things didn’t quite turn out that way. Instead, Pruitt dedicated taxpayer resources at his control to obtaining the proper perfumed hand lotion, trying to buy a Trump Hotel mattress, trying to help Mrs. Pruitt become a chicken franchisee, getting Pruitt to dinner on time, flying Pruitt around Europe, and in the end, providing information for more than a dozen federal investigations into his conduct.

You could make a compelling case that a $43,000 phone booth damages the economy far less than Obama’s regulatory overreach, but the ethical and political cost of Pruitt’s abuses are real. For one thing, they made him less effective because they undermined his authority and the respect people were prepared to give him.

The EPA employs dozens of lawyers. They should have spent their time unwinding Obama's last-minute regulatory tripwires. That's a time-consuming and intricate process. Reversing a regulation requires the same amount of lawyering as it took to create it. Blunder, and your actions will be reversed in court. Deregulate properly, and the other side will spend months or years flailing in federal court.

 Read more at Washington Examiner

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