Fox & Friends provided a platform for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to cast President Donald Trump as an “action-oriented leader” who will move to clean up contaminated Superfund sites, despite the fact that Trump has proposed drastic cuts to the Superfund program.
In a May 17 Fox & Friends segment about the more than 1,300 Superfund sites across the country, Pruitt attempted to portray Trump as a leader committed to cleaning up the environment, stating, “This president is a doer. He’s an action-oriented leader. The past administration talked a lot. This administration is actually taking steps to do things to clean up the environment.”
Though Pruitt himself has pushed for funding for environmental cleanup projects and plans to prioritize Superfund cleanups, Trump has actually proposed reducing the Superfund program’s enforcement and remedial components by nearly half. A CNN report in March highlighted how Trump’s budget blueprint would severely hamper efforts to clean up heavily polluted sites across the country. Neither Pruitt nor the Fox & Friends hosts made mention of Trump's drastic proposed budget cuts.
From the May 17 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Alright, let me tell you what’s going on now: President Trump trying his best to drain the swamp, and much of that draining happened at the Environmental Protection Agency after the Obama administration left behind, get this, a huge toxic mess.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): More than 1,300 Superfund sites, which are heavily contaminated, still require clean up.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): And apparently that's still just the beginning. EPA Administrator, Mr. Scott Pruitt, joins us live. Good morning to you.
SCOTT PRUITT: Good morning. Good to be back with you.
DOOCY: The press made President Obama out to be the environmental savior, and yet, when you look at the number of toxic dumps left on your plate, it's a big number.
PRUITT: Absolutely. In fact, Ainsley, you said these sites across the country have some of the uranium and lead, posing great risk to the citizens in those areas. And examples where the EPA just had -- didn't take any steps at all. We have a site just outside of St. Louis called West Lake that's taken the EPA 27 years just to make a decision. Not to clean it up, but just to make a decision on what should be done to clean it up. That's unacceptable.
DOOCY: Well then that crosses Democrat and Republican administrations.
EARHARDT: What does that mean for the folks that are watching? Does this mean you can get cancer if you are exposed to all of this?
PRUITT: Quite possibly, yes. And that's why it's so important to focus the core of the mission on those areas. This president is a doer. He’s an action-oriented leader. The past administration talked a lot. This administration is actually taking steps to do things to clean up the environment. We’re focusing on those areas that you mentioned, Ainsley.
EARHARDT: Mr. Pruitt, we are talking about memos and what's happening in the White House. This is what the American public really needs to be focused on, right? Jobs, putting our personal safety, protecting our kids from cancer.
PRUITT: They want leadership. And this president is providing leadership in so many areas. And it gets lost in Washington, D.C.’s malaise in all these areas.
DOOCY: Okay, provide leadership to do what with the environment?
PRUITT: Clean up these sites. Actually set a goal and to say 1,322 sites is unacceptable. 27 years to make a decision is unacceptable. Let’s get St. Louis cleaned up. Let’s get East Chicago--
DOOCY: How much is that going to cost?
PRUITT: Well we have -- the great thing about this is we have private funding. There are people out there responsible for these sites to clean up. The moneys are there to do so. It's not a matter of money, it’s a matter of leadership, and attitude, and management. And we need to do it much better.