A Swing and a Miss on Pruitt
Republicans in the Senate had an opportunity to protect clean water and safeguard public health by rejecting Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator. They didn't take it.
Millions of Americans wrote letters, signed petitions, called, and emailed their Senators, urging them to vote against President Trump's reckless nominee to lead EPA. Their pleas went unanswered and Republicans rubberstamped Pruitt's nomination, despite numerous questions about his conflicts of interest and ties to big oil companies. Scott Pruitt is now in charge of carrying-out Donald Trump's environmental agenda. This should worry anyone who cares about clean water or basic protections for our air and health.
Not only did Senate Republicans confirm someone uniquely unqualified for the position, they even refused to postpone a vote or extend debate until after Tuesday when Scott Pruitt will be forced to release more than 2,000 emails that could expose more information on his cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry.
Scott Pruitt is a strange choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency for a President who has claimed, many times, that he wants "crystal, clean" water. At best Scott Pruitt has proved himself incapable of protecting clean water; at worst he is outright hostile to safeguards for our water. Here are just three examples:
Scott Pruitt joined a lawsuit to stop the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, despite Oklahoma having no connection to the Bay or any part of its watershed. The lawsuit was led by the special interests like the Farm Bureau, the Fertilizer Institute, and other industrial agricultural groups concerned about mandates to reduce pollution in order to protect the health of the Bay. Pruitt's involvement in the lawsuit is part of his long history of putting the concerns of special interests first.
Closer to Oklahoma is another egregious and ongoing example of Scott Pruitt prioritizing polluters. In the mid 2000's Scott Pruitt's predecessor sued poultry producers in Arkansas for dumping chicken waste upstream, which pollutes the river downstream in Oklahoma. Pruitt has let this lawsuit to force Arkansas to abide by Oklahoma's stronger standards and clean up the pollution to linger, with no action, since he took office as AG. His inaction has let these corporate chicken producers to profit at the expense of his constituents.
Finally, Scott Pruitt doesn't believe the federal government should be in the business of protecting clean water. He sued EPA (the agency he is now in charge of) to stop the Clean Water Rule, a long overdue safeguard for streams and wetlands throughout the nation. During his confirmation he promised to withdraw the Rule which protects the drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans. This waste of taxpayer resources will put public health at risk as vital parts of our water infrastructure are left vulnerable to destruction.
Scott Pruitt has no business running the Environmental Protection Agency. He is far out of the mainstream when it comes to the fight to protect clean water and the need to act on climate change, a huge threat to public health. Americans didn't give Republicans and Donald Trump a mandate to trash protections for our environment. In fact, the majority of Americans support EPA and want to see more and stronger safeguards for our water and heath, not fewer and weaker. More than a million Americans spoke out against Scott Pruitt - Republicans in Congress and President Trump can expect to be held accountable for putting the concerns of their corporate campaign donors ahead of the health of all Americans.