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Throwback Thursday: Adam Putnam's Op-Ed in Praise of Disgraced Ex-EPA Chief

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With Scott Pruitt resigning as EPA Administrator today, a reminder that Adam Putnam is one of his biggest supporters in Florida. Putnam — who knows something about running a scandal-plagued government agency — said in January 2017 that Pruitt has the "experience, understanding of the law and courage to get this out-of-control federal agency back on track."

Read Putnam's op-ed supporting Pruitt from January 2017 here:

Orlando Sentinel: Op-Ed: Adam Putnam: Scott Pruitt will unravel mess at EPA

By Adam Putnam
January 4, 2017

Since President Obama took office in 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency has published more than 4,000 new rules and finalized 186 new regulations, a legacy of which no one should be proud.

Collectively, the EPA's new regulations require Americans to spend 33 million additional hours filing paperwork with the federal government and cost Americans more than $344 billion, according to the American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute. For that amount of money, we could buy 300 stealth bombers and 2,000 military tanks and still have plenty left over for a round-trip to the moon.

In reality, though, this EPA's financial blow affects every American, as it negatively impacts our gross domestic product, kills thousands of jobs and increases the cost of living in our country.

Not only do the EPA rules have serious economic consequences, but they are far outside the EPA's scope of authority, violating states' rights and, in many cases, violating the U.S. Constitution. The end of the Obama EPA cannot come soon enough.

Thankfully, appointed EPA Administrator has the experience, understanding of the law and courage to get this out-of-control federal agency back on track.

I joined Oklahoma's Attorney General Pruitt in February 2015 to testify before Congress about one of the EPA's worst rules of the past eight years — the Waters of the United States Rule. This rule was, in no uncertain terms, an expansion of federal jurisdiction, infringement on states' rights and an unscientific approach to improving the quality of lakes, streams and rivers in the United States.

The EPA had made claims this rule was a simple clarification of what bodies of water were subject to the Clean Water Act, and that these clarifications would have little impact on communities. Its actions speak louder than words, however.

In 2014, the EPA threatened to fine a Wyoming man $75,000 a day in noncompliance penalties over a stock pond on his eight-acre farm. Anyone can understand why we could not take the EPA for its word.

During this joint congressional hearing of the House and Senate, I witnessed firsthand Pruitt's balanced approach to regulation, one that conserves our natural resources and protects the environment, while also fostering economic growth and, most important, protecting states' rights. He has a clear understanding where it is appropriate for the EPA to assert a role when it is necessary to protect our natural resources.

The numbers don't lie: 4,000 new rules, 33 million hours of paperwork and $334 billion in damages resulting from the egregious, overstepping regulations rolled out by Obama's EPA over the past eight years.

But this nightmare is almost over. With Scott Pruitt in charge, we can finally unravel the mess of the EPA, and begin developing and implementing thoughtful policies that will make measurable improvements to our natural resources and unleash an energy revolution that will bring jobs and higher wages to Americans.

Adam Putnam, a member of the Florida Cabinet, is commissioner of agriculture.