The core, fundamental responsibility of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to ensure clean air and clean water for all Americans in order to protect our health and keep us safe. So, the agency deserves a leader who will pursue that mission tirelessly and passionately. But President-elect Donald Trump has instead nominated Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney General, who has made a career out of fighting EPA safeguards and putting the priorities of big polluters before the people of his state. In fact, he even went as far as making the absurd statement that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "was never intended to be our nation's foremost environmental regulator."
Pruitt has proven time and time again that he can't be trusted to protect our air and water, and that Trump chose him to follow through on a threat to get rid of the EPA "in almost every form" saying "We are going to have little tidbits." Just how bad is Pruitt's record? Well, it's terrible.
Here are the top five things you need to know about polluting Pruitt:
1. Pruitt is a Tool of Big Oil Who Blatantly Copied an Industry Letter and Sent it to the White House & EPA
- Pruitt made national headlines in 2014 when the New York Times reported on the secret alliance he formed with major oil and gas companies to attack environmental protections. In 2011, one of Oklahoma's biggest oil and gas companies drafted a letter for Scott Pruitt to send to the EPA, the Interior Department and the White House opposing safeguards against the super climate pollutant methane. Pruitt lightly tweaked a few of the more than 1,000 words in the document, printed it on his official state government stationery, and sent it off to the federal government.
- Even worse? While Pruitt was Chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, Devon Energy contributed $125,000 to it. Two days later, Pruitt wrote a letter to the EPA protesting its proposal to study the impact of fracking.
2. Pruitt Sued EPA to Stop them from Protecting Kids against Mercury, a Neurotoxin
- Polluting Pruitt got his nickname by leading the fight against the Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics safeguards, as well as protections against smog designed by the agency to clear the air we all breathe. Instead of recognizing that mercury is one of the most dangerous hazardous air pollutants—a neurotoxin which causes brain damage in children—Pruitt signed a legal brief contending that that the benefits of protections against mercury pollution are "small, uncertain and in most instances unquantifiable."
3. Pruitt Led the Fight to Destroy the Life Saving Clean Power Plan
- The Clean Power Plan is the first national plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants to clean up the air we breath, tackle the climate crisis, and boost the clean energy economy powered by wind and solar. Pruitt's principal credential to lead the Environmental Protection Agency under Donald Trump seems to be his willingness to destroy the life saving Clean Power Plan.
4. Pruitt Created an Organization Designed to Undermine Essential Federal Safeguards Across the Board—His Group Can Take Unlimited Corporate Donations Anonymously
- Pruitt used his position with the Republican Attorney's General Association to create the so-called "Rule of Law Defense Fund," a special interest funded group designed to systematically coordinate opposition to protections and safeguards across the federal government in an effort to undermine them. Worse, the fund was set up so that it could accept unlimited anonymous donations from companies benefiting from the work of Pruitt and other Republican Attorneys General.
5. Pruitt is a Climate Science Denier Who Will Make America the Scorn of the World
- Last but far from least, Pruitt is a climate science denier. Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus recognized by NASA, as recently as last May Pruitt falsely said that "that debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind." No person who denies the overwhelming scientific consensus on the human role in driving the climate crisis is fit to serve as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.