More Than 400 Former EPA Officials Urge Senate To Vote No On Scott Pruitt

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator-designate, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

More than 400 former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the Senate on Monday questioning the qualifications of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the agency.

“Every EPA Administrator has a fundamental obligation to act in the public’s
interest based on current law and the best available science,” the letter reads. “Mr. Pruitt’s record raises serious questions about whose interests he has served to date and whether he agrees with the longstanding tenets of U.S. environmental law.”

The letter highlighted Pruitt’s “record and public statements,” which it said “strongly suggest” that he does not agree with the agency’s guiding principles or vision.

The Environmental Integrity Project, the group behind the letter, said in a press release that the former employees are “strongly urging a vote against the Trump Administration’s pick to run the agency.”

When Trump announced his nomination of Pruitt to lead the EPA, the attorney general was in the midst of suing the Obama administration’s EPA Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing power plant carbon emissions. He also previously challenged new regulations on the oil and gas industry.

Less than a week after Pruitt’s nomination, a spokesman for Trump’s transition team repeatedly dodged questions about whether he believes in climate change.

Pruitt also has ties to the energy industry. In 2014, the New York Times discovered that a 2011 letter Pruitt sent to the EPA had “only a few word changes” from a letter that was actually written by lawyers for an energy company in Oklahoma.

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Pruitt would not commit to recusing himself from issues related to the lawsuits he brought against the EPA as state attorney general.

Republicans on the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee on Thursday suspended committee rules to move Pruitt’s nomination forward even though Democrats boycotted the committee meeting.

Read the letter below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK