57° Good Morning
57° Good Morning
Hello, we've upgraded our systems.

Please log back in to enjoy your subscription. Thank you for being part of the Newsday family.

Forgot your password? We can help go here.

Log in
Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Heads of EPA, HUD, DOE get their own regulatory relief

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, seen here on May

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, seen here on May 16. Credit: Bloomberg / Andrew Harrer

Let’s be realistic: It cannot be all that difficult to run a regulatory agency in a come-as-you-are administration where deregulation is a mantra.

Maybe it is a little like being paid as the interior decorator for a building under demolition.

Consider that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent more than $9,600 to decorate his personal office with such items as Smithsonian artwork and a refurbished desk, The Hill reported.

The Smithsonian doesn’t charge federal agencies to rent items, but the costs for the three valuable paintings were labeled as labor and delivery.

The Government Accountability Office ruled last month that another Pruitt expense, the construction of a $43,000 soundproof booth, violated a price-cap regulation.

Now, it figures the former Oklahoma attorney general would have the time to focus on trappings.

After all, his mission as widely understood seems sort of passive — unburdening his agency of Obama-era environmental rules and letting industry do more of what it wishes.

Sure, environmental activists scream. But they aren’t his preferred constituency. The only stray dissent Pruitt might need to field from big business might be from GM and Ford executives, who actually defend clean-air standards now on the chopping block.

The laissez-faire extends elsewhere.

If you’re Betsy DeVos and you run the Department of Education, you’re under no urgent public pressure from President Donald Trump or his inner circle to help figure out procedures to stop maniacal mass murders in schools.

As Newsday’s Tom Brune reported, a commission she oversees on the topic isn’t due to make recommendations until year’s end.

Physician Ben Carson had no housing experience when confirmed as housing secretary. Apparently not too much seasoning is required for everyone in his upper echelon either.

As Politico reported Monday, Andrew Hughes, 32, catapulted to become Carson’s chief of staff at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Eight months before joining HUD at a lower level, Hughes was a special projects coordinator for the University of Texas system, the website said. His hook came from working in the Carson and Trump presidential campaigns.

Budgets and certain enforcement efforts are getting cut at the agency anyway, per the White House.

Latest Long Island News