At Hearing, Scott Pruitt Shows Why He’s the Worst EPA Administrator Ever
WASHINGTON – In his Senate testimony today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt displayed complete contempt for the mission of the department he leads, as well as its efforts to protect human health and the environment, said EWG President Ken Cook.
“Scott Pruitt showed us all today that he should never hold any position where protecting public health and the environment is part of the job description,” said Cook. “He’s only been administrator for a year, but it will take decades to rebuild EPA’s efforts to protect people, our water and our air from pollution in the wake of Pruitt’s crusade at the behest of polluters.”
“Mr. Pruitt may not remember the 2016 interview in which he expressed fear that as president, Trump would be ‘abusive to the Constitution,’ but Americans can see clearly how he and Trump are a significant risk to American’s health and well-being,” said Cook.
Pruitt testified in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today for the first time since his confirmation hearing roughly one year ago.
Pruitt has repeatedly made decisions favorable to the fossil fuel, chemical and pesticide industries, and has devoted much of his time to dining and meeting with top executives and lobbyists from those industries, as documents obtained by the nonprofit watchdog group, American Oversight show.
In his first year, Pruitt has enacted or set in motion a number of major rollbacks of important policies:
- His first major action was to vacate the planned ban of a neurotoxic agriculture pesticide, chlorpyrifos, which causes brain damage in children.
- Pruitt is rolling back the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to reduce dangerous pollution from coal-fired power plants. The EPA estimates that the rule, if left untouched, would “lead to climate and health benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, including avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.”
- Pruitt is repealing the clean water rule, which could leave the drinking water of roughly 117 million Americans at risk of industrial and agricultural pollution.
- He delayed a ban of methylene chloride, a lethal paint stripper chemical that can kill people on contact, and a ban of the cancer-causing industrial solvent TCE.
- He recently took steps toward lifting minimum age requirements to allow adolescent farmworkers to handle highly toxic pesticides.
- Pruitt personally directed staff to scrub decades of climate change data from the EPA’s website and fired independent scientific advisors.
- And, of course, Pruitt convinced President Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. This makes the U.S. the only nation on earth not part of the global agreement to battle the looming threat of climate change.
Beyond his attacks on human health and environmental protection policies, Pruitt is leading the pack among Trump’s cabinet when it comes to squandering taxpayer dollars on bodyguards, private air travel, foreign trips, secret phone booths and contracts with right-wing opposition research firms.
More than 700 EPA staff members have left the agency since Trump was sworn into office and Pruitt was sworn in as EPA administrator, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The New York Times and ProPublica.