Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifies during a Senate hearing in Washington on his nomination to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. (Joshua Roberts//Reuters)

The Feb. 7 Power Post article “Current, past EPA employees fight Pruitt” showed how blindly those Environmental Protection Agency employees viewed agency behavior during the years they worked at the EPA and what they fear. In a letter to Congress, they wrote, “However, every EPA Administrator has a fundamental obligation to act in the public’s interest based on current law and the best available science.” And further, “By contrast, there is little or no evidence of [Oklahoma Attorney General Scott] Pruitt taking initiative to protect and advance public health and environmental protection in his state.” Scary.          

The EPA has enforcement power and responsibility for solid-waste cleanup and landfill compliance but has ignored for years filthy, Zika-breeding landfills in Puerto Rico. The EPA handed compliance authority to territorial and local authorities. The EPA has enforcement power but does nothing more than write to ineffectual local authorities.

Similarly, the EPA said authority over the purity of the drinking-water supply of Flint, Mich., belonged to the state. When state and local authorities switched the source of supply without hearings or announcement, people in Flint suddenly found their water was brown, smelly and lead-ridden. An EPA expert performed tests and sent repeated memos up the agency chain of command but was told to ignore the issue, have no meetings or communications on the tests and not respond to public inquiries. Later, the EPA administrator told Flint officials that the problem was theirs. Several state and local officials were charged, and more are under investigation, but the EPA shrugs it off and gets away with it.  

John L. Rafuse, Alexandria