EPA does not only stand for Environmental Protection Agency. It stands for science and good judgment. It stands for clean air and clean water. Most importantly, it stands for protecting the health and well-being of all Americans. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt—President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as the next EPA administrator—seems to stand for none of these things.
Pruitt’s history tells the tale of a man who will attack and degrade the EPA, not carry out its mission to keep Americans safe from polluters who place profit above health. Need proof? Pruitt has sued the EPA to stop critical public health protections. Standards for reducing soot and smog pollutions? Pruitt’s challenged them. Protections against mercury, arsenic, acid gases and other toxic pollutants from power plants? Pruitt says not so fast. He’s even fought standards to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas.
Public health is common sense. Americans deserve clean air and clean water so that they can lead long, vibrant lives. Pruitt’s actions put us at risk.
Not surprisingly, Pruitt has questioned the science of climate change. A quick Google search reveals that Pruitt holds degrees in political science, communications, and law. Yet he feels comfortable doubting the 97% of qualified scientists—some who include the brilliant people who would work for him at EPA—and their near-unanimous conclusion that climate change is real and man-made. A man who questions scientific fact leading the EPA is like an infant leading an orchestra—disastrous.
What’s more, Pruitt is the kind of established special-interest insider that Donald Trump has so routinely railed against. He was caught sending letters to President Obama and other federal employees that were written by energy industry lawyers. Since 2002, he’s received more than $314,996 from fossil fuel industries.
Pruitt will pollute the swamp, not drain it.
The EPA was established by a Republican president, and some of its most fundamental efforts—including the Clean Air Act—have come from Republican administrations with bipartisan Congressional support. That’s because clean air and clean water should not be partisan matters—they are American rights. Since the days of unfettered pollution prior to the EPA’s founding, our skies have become clearer and our waters purer. It is an American success story. The EPA—with its determined focus on science and public health—has been an invaluable author of that story.
Past administrations have viewed the EPA as a tool to better the lives of Americans. It is an agency that eschews corporate influence and prioritizes people first and foremost. That is the EPA’s mission and purpose, and we—and future generations—are all better for it.
It is eminently clear that Scott Pruitt does not belong at the head of the EPA. His disregard for science and public safety should automatically disqualify him for the position. Instead, we deserve a leader who will practice good judgment and consider the wishes and well-being of the citizens he or she serves.
After President-elect Trump is sworn into office his nominees—including Pruitt—will face Congressional review. Our elected senators, then, hold the power to approve Pruitt or demand an individual who will uphold the values of the EPA. In electing Donald Trump, the American people did not vote for dirtier air and dirtier waters. Our leaders would be wise to recognize that. Our future is now in their hands.