Former Employees Send Letter to Senators Asking for No Vote Because of Pruitt’s Anti-Environmental Record
Washington, D.C. – More than four hundred former EPA officials sent a letter to the U.S. Senate today strongly urging a vote against the Trump Administration’s pick to run the agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
“Pruitt’s record and public statements strongly suggest that he does not agree with the underlying principles of our environmental laws,” the former EPA employees, ranging from regional administrators to scientists, and librarians, wrote in the letter. “Pruitt has shown no interest in enforcing environmental laws, a critically important function for EPA.”
In a roll-call vote last week, the Republicans on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted 11-0 to endorse Pruitt’s nomination as EPA Administrator, sending it to the full Senate.
The Republican action overcame a boycott by Democrats on the committee, who strongly objected to Pruitt’s poor record. As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt sued EPA a dozen times, frequently attacked the idea of federal action to control pollution, and took few if any actions as Oklahoma Attorney General to enforce environmental laws in his own state.
While serving as the Oklahoma’s top law enforcement officer, Pruitt shut down the Attorney General’s Office Environmental Protection Unit. His office issued more than 50 press releases celebrating his lawsuits to overturn EPA standards to limit mercury emissions from power plants, reduce smog levels in cities and regional haze in parks, clean up the Chesapeake Bay and control greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, none of Pruitt’s 714 press releases over six years refer to any action he has ever taken to enforce environmental laws or to actually reduce pollution.
“This track record likely reflects his disturbing decision to close the environmental enforcement unit in his office while establishing a new litigation team to challenge EPA and other federal agencies,” the former EPA employees wrote in the letter, which was sent by the Environmental Integrity Project to all U.S. Senators. More than 90 percent of the signatories were long-term, career EPA employees who worked under multiple administrations.
Democrats in the Senate have objected not only to Pruitt’s poor environmental record, but also his failure to provide information in response to questions. For example, Pruitt’s office has acknowledged 3,000 emails and other documents reflecting communications with certain oil and gas companies, but has yet to make any of these available in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed more than two years ago.
The letter opposing Pruitt was circulated among former EPA employees by the Environmental Integrity Project, a 15-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded by former EPA officials to advocate for the enforcement of environmental laws and protect public health.
Note: Former EPA employees are continuing to sign on in support. As of Feb. 15, 2017, 3:30 pm, 773 have signed on to this letter. View the final version of the letter.
Media contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project (202) 888-2703 or firstname.lastname@example.org