What’d I Miss?

Done traveling. Scott Prutt being replaced by an oil industry lobbyist. Not exactly progress.

This time last year, Andrew Wheeler was a registered lobbyist working for the interests of one of the country’s largest coal-mining companies and a major uranium mining company. Starting Monday, he’s expected to become the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, where he’s been deputy administrator since April. …

…But while Pruitt’s ethics problems compounded during his time in office, Wheeler’s potential conflicts of interest are embedded in his résumé. And he’s emblematic of a sort of political dynamic that has come under increased scrutiny in the last decade — a reverse revolving door, through which lobbyists and consultants join the government and regulate the people who used to be their co-workers. …

…Pruitt’s philosophy of narrow EPA powers and state-led environmental regulation was certainly friendly to the oil and gas industry, but he was not formerly employed by it. His lapses have largely come in the form of ethical pratfalls, banana peels that he put on the floor and slipped on in the course of duty. Wheeler’s potential to favor former clients, in contrast, is a part of him. …

…Meanwhile, according to an investigation published in March 2018, the Associated Press tracked 59 EPA administration staffers that had been hired under Trump and found that about a third had been lobbyists or lawyers for fossil fuel producers, chemical companies or other corporate clients. In June 2017, Public Citizen analyzed the backgrounds of 115 Trump nominees to sub-Cabinet roles; 25 were current or former lobbyists or corporate consultants, 26 were corporate lawyers, and 29 were current or former corporate executives. Not all of those people were being hired to regulate the industries they’d recently left, but some were.

Pruitt is profoundly screwy. No halfway intelligent person would have behaved as he did at the EPA who was not pschologically miswired, through and through. Just a couple of days ago reports came out that Pruitt had gone directly to Trump and asked for Jeff Sessions’s attorney general job. That’s more than plain chutzpah.

And then there’s this:

The Trump administration is suppressing an Environmental Protection Agency report that warns that most Americans inhale enough formaldehyde vapor in the course of daily life to put them at risk of developing leukemia and other ailments, a current and a former agency official told POLITICO.

The warnings are contained in a draft health assessment EPA scientists completed just before Donald Trump became president, according to theofficials. They saidtop advisers to departing Administrator Scott Pruittare delaying its release as part of acampaign to undermine the agency’s independent research into the health risks of toxic chemicals.

Andrew Wheeler, the No. 2 official at EPA who will be the agency’s new acting chief as of Monday, also has a history with the chemical. He was staff director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2004, when his boss, then-Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), sought to delay an earlier iteration of the formaldehyde assessment.

Kinda warms your heart, huh? Or maybe that burn you feel is something else.

Also, too, just reported by the Los Angeles Times:

The worst of this week’s heat wave hit Friday, bringing record-breaking temperatures, at least two brush fires and a good bit of misery to Southern California.

Even before noon, several places broke heat records for the day, including downtown Los Angeles, which hit 95 degrees, Burbank and Van Nuys. The San Diego County community of Ramona reached its highest recorded temperature — 112 degrees — by 11 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

It’s expected to get hotter in the afternoon, with the National Weather Service forecasting the high in downtown L.A. to reach 106, shattering the July 6 record of 94 degrees. In Woodland Hills, where the temperature hit 110 before noon, could peak at a scorching 117 degrees. Forecasters expect a record-breaking 115 degrees in Van Nuys and 106 in Long Beach.

See also Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week.

And we’ve got an oil lobbyist in charge of the environment. Grand.