The Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt, has called for a “back-to-basics” or “originalist” approach to the agency. It is unclear what he means, but in a 22 May memo he said he would prioritize the EPA’s program that handles heavily contaminated waste areas, known as “Superfund sites”.
In the memo, Pruitt heralds that under his administration, “Superfund and the EPA’s land and water cleanup efforts will be restored to their rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission”.
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For Pruitt, the primary role of the EPA is janitorial: using taxpayer money to clean up after polluting industries. But that is neither how the EPA was originally envisaged, nor how the Superfund program was conceived.