LOUISVILLE -- Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin fired anÂother shot at the U.S. Environmental ProÂtection Agency, adding Kentucky to 18 other states calling on the agency's new administrator to "end federal overÂreach."
Indiana Attorney General Curtis T. Hill also signed the letter, along with 16 other attorney generals and the goverÂnor of Mississippi.
"In recent years, many federal enviÂronmental regulations have been the product of political and social ideology," Bevin said in a written statement TuesÂday that did not include examples. "ToÂday, our administration joined with other states in a letter urging EPA AdministraÂtor Scott Pruitt to roll back federal overÂreach and return primary responsibility for the care of our environment to the apÂpropriate state agencies."
Neither the letter nor the news reÂlease commented on the Trump adminiÂstration's proposal to cut by 30 percent grants that states' already use to enforce laws like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. Bevin spokesman Woody Maglinger did not immediately return a request for comment about the funding issue, which the Courier-Journal reported on in reÂcent days. A top state regulator last week told the newspaper that about a third of the Kentucky Department for EnvironÂmental Protection staff is paid for with EPA those funds. Also Tuesday, William D. Ruckelshaus, a Hoosier who was EPA administrator under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan, published a commentary for the New York Times, warning the Trump administration of its own potential overreach.
"Budget cuts that hurt programs that states now have in place to meet those duties run the risk of returning us to a time when some states offered indusÂtries a free lunch, creating havens for polluters," Ruckelshaus wrote. "This could leave states with strong environÂmental programs supported by the pubÂlic at a competitive disadvantage comÂpared to states with weak programs. In other words, it could lead to a race to the bottom."
Reagan discovered the public deÂmanded health and environmental proÂtections, he wrote. The states that joined Kentucky in the letter included Alabama, Arizona, ArÂkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, MisÂsouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South CaroliÂna, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.
"Respectfully, we ask that you considÂer the steps that the Agency may take to restore the principles of cooperative federalism embodied in these important statutes," the letter to Pruitt said.
Bevin recently described the EPA as "Frankenstein" and has called on Trump to "gut" the agency.