Clean Water letter to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in opposition to Scott Pruitt

January 17, 2017

Dear Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper, and members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:

Clean Water Action, on behalf of our nearly one million members, urges you to reject Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator. Mr. Pruitt has a long record of siding with industry polluters instead of protecting communities from pollution. This alarming conflict of interest clearly makes him unqualified to head an agency whose very mission is to protect public health and the environment.

Americans expect and deserve an EPA administrator who demonstrates a commitment to protect our health and environment. Scott Pruitt has made a career out of suing EPA to prevent the agency from doing its job to protect our air, land, and water. Many of these lawsuits have been unsuccessful, such as his failed attempt to block EPA requirements for coal-fired power plants in Oklahoma to install air pollution control scrubbers to reduce harmful emissions.

Scott Pruitt does not support commonsense clean water protections. As Oklahoma Attorney General, Mr. Pruitt was one of the first state AGs to sue EPA to overturn long overdue safeguards for vital water resources that feed the drinking water sources for at least one in three people, including 2.3 million people in Oklahoma.

Scott Pruitt has repeatedly brought these types of lawsuits against EPA claiming the agency is trampling on states’ rights, yet his own record reveals that he does not respect the right of citizens in his own state to clean water. Since taking office as AG in 2010, Mr. Pruitt halted a lawsuit to force Arkansas chicken farmers to abide by Oklahoma's water pollution standards for the Illinois River. His inaction has put the profits of out-of-state agribusiness over the health of his own state.

Americans expect and deserve an EPA administrator who will make policy decisions guided by science. Not only does Scott Pruitt deny the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and human-driven, he unsuccessfully tried to block EPA’s endangerment finding that carbon dioxide, methane and other green house gases are harmful. Mr. Pruitt also lacks understanding of basic hydrology. He has said publically that the Clean Water Act should only over cover waterways large enough to float a boat – ignoring the critical role that wetlands and streams play in protecting water quality in larger bodies of water.

Americans expect and deserve an EPA administrator who will stand up to egregious polluters. Mr. Pruitt joined the Farm Bureau, the Fertilizer Institute and other industrial agricultural interests to sue EPA over its enforcement of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits for nutrient and sediment pollution choking the Chesapeake Bay. EPA’s enforcement of these pollution limits is essential to restoring the health of the Bay.

Our country faces numerous complex environmental challenges and we need an EPA administrator who is prepared and committed to following science and law to make meaningful progress toward continuing to clean-up our nation’s air, land, and water. Scott Pruitt has made a career out of handing out free passes to some of the biggest polluting industries in the country – allowing these polluters to cause real, direct harm to public health and the environment - all while raking in huge profits.

Mr. Pruitt as EPA administrator would reverse over forty years of progress of cleaning up our environment and holding industries accountable for their pollution.  We urge you to reject his nomination to head EPA.

Sincerely,

 

Robert Wendelgass

President & CEO

Clean Water Action

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