(Washington, D.C. – December 6, 2016) If press reports are accurate, President-elect Donald Trump today nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a decision that EDF president Fred Krupp called “deeply troubling.”
“President-elect Trump’s choice for EPA Administrator has a record of attacking the environmental protections that EPA is charged with enforcing,” said Krupp. “Every President-elect has a right to assemble his team, and many nominations are approved by a simple voice vote in the Senate. Scott Pruitt has built his political career by trying to undermine EPA’s mission of environmental protection. He is a deeply troubling choice to head the agency that protects the clean air all Americans breathe and the clean water we drink. Our country needs – and deserves – an EPA Administrator who is guided by science, who respects America’s environmental laws, and who values protecting the health and safety of all Americans ahead of the lobbying agenda of special interests.”
Since becoming Oklahoma’s top legal officer in 2011, Scott Pruitt has sued EPA to stop vital protections for public health – including standards for reducing the soot and smog pollution that crosses state lines; protections against emissions of mercury, arsenic, acid gases and other toxic pollutants from power plants; and standards to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas. These common-sense efforts to cut pollution will save lives, prevent brain damage in children, and reduce asthma attacks. In all, the Clean Air Act has saved more than a hundred thousand lives each year, and reduced heart disease and other serious conditions. The benefits have outweighed costs by more than 30 to 1. Since the Clean Air Act was passed, we’ve decreased emissions of common pollutants by 70 percent while our national Gross Domestic Product tripled and private sector jobs almost doubled.
Mr. Pruitt has also questioned “the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.” He claims, falsely, that the climate “debate is far from settled.”
The New York Times reported in 2014 that Mr. Pruitt led an “unprecedented, secretive alliance” with large energy companies to attack clean air rules. According to the newspaper, Mr. Pruitt sent letters to senior federal officials that had been written by industry lawyers. He also received more than three hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions from those industries.
“This is not the leadership America needs. Mr. Pruitt’s confirmation would ensure we are left behind as we move toward a global clean energy economy,” said Krupp. “A majority of Americans of both parties support the vital safeguards that keep our air and water clean. We at EDF will continue fighting for America’s environmental protections, because they improve all our lives.”
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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.