President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency is Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The nomination, which must be approved by the Senate, brings real concerns about the future of the nation’s public health protection laws, including those in place to reduce pollution in Americans’ air, land and water.
“It’s a safe assumption that Pruitt could be the most hostile EPA administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history.”
Why should we be concerned? Here are six reasons:
- Pruitt’s LinkedIn profile boasts that he “is a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”
- Politico reported that for Pruitt’s 2014 reelection campaign, in which he ran unopposed, he raised $114,000 from energy company PACs and executives, including donations from ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and oil and coal industry interests.
- As attorney general, in 2014 Pruitt sent a letter to the EPA claiming the agency had overestimated the amount of air pollution caused by drilling for natural gas. A New York Times investigation found that the letter was not actually written by Pruitt, but by lawyers for one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies.
- In 2014, he sued the EPA over the agency’s cross-state pollution rule that seeks to curb the drift of industrial pollutants such as arsenic, mercury and other environmental toxins.
- In 2015, he sued the EPA again over the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants. The EPA estimates that the plan would avoid 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma cases by 2030.
- Earlier this year, Pruitt co-authored a National Review op-ed questioning the “degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
“During the campaign, Mr. Trump regularly threatened to dismantle the EPA and roll back many of the gains made to reduce Americans’ exposures to industrial pollution, and with Pruitt, the President-elect would make good on those threats,” Cook said.
EWG, our allies, and all Americans concerned for the health of their families and of the planet will be on guard against efforts by Pruitt to roll back common-sense public health protections.