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Pruitt Press Aide Plays God with EPA’s State Grant Funding

Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

WASHINGTON – A report today by Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post details the enormous power Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has handed to a former Florida political consultant, who is now in charge of blessing or denying grants to states.

John Konkus, who was President Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman in Leon County, Fla., is now a political and press aide to Pruitt in the EPA’s public affairs office. Konkus is “in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually,” wrote Eilperin.

“Administrator Pruitt has given this former political operative a startling level of authority to play god with resources that could be used to clean up contaminated water in Flint or the chemical spill in Houston,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “That is an enormous amount of power for someone who has no apparent expertise in public health or environmental protection, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise: neither does Pruitt.”

On the same day that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and two other Republicans voted against the party’s health care bill, EPA staffers stopped all grants to Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho, the Post reported. Soon after, the hold was narrowed to just Murkowski’s state and it stayed in effect for almost two weeks.

“Payback for defying President Trump could be delivered by Administrator Pruitt and Mr. Konkus, and the people who would suffer are the innocent local leaders struggling to protect their communities from pollution,” Cook added.

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Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

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