The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Teacher Confronts Scott Pruitt at Restaurant, Asks Him to Resign
Kristin Mink, a schoolteacher and mother of a 2-year-old, confronted Scott Pruitt, the embattled administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., on Monday and urged him to resign.
"This is my son. He loves animals. He loves clean air. He loves clean water. He loves clean water," Mink told Pruitt. "Meanwhile, you're slashing strong fuel standards for cars and trucks for the benefit of big corporations."
Pruitt, who was dining with a companion, is silent during the exchange.
Mink continues, "We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, somebody who believes in climate change and takes it seriously for the benefit of all of us, including our children. I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out."
Mink's Facebook profile shows she's a teacher at Sidwell Friends School. Pruitt, his companion and two security guards "fled" the restaurant after the exchange, according to Mink.
"EPA head Scott Pruitt was 3 tables away as I ate lunch with my child," she wrote in a caption accompanying the video footage. "I had to say something. This man is directly and significantly harming my child's—and every child's—health and future with decisions to roll back environmental regulations for the benefit of big corporations, while he uses taxpayer money to fund a lavish lifestyle."
She added, "He's corrupt, he's a liar, he's a climate change denier, and as a public servant, he should not be able to go out in public without hearing from the citizens he's hurting."
President Trump's EPA administrator, who infamously said carbon dioxide is "not a primary contributor" to climate change, has delayed, weakened or done away with critical EPA standards that protect our air, water and land.
Pruitt is also facing more than a dozen federal inquiries over his cozy relationships with industry leaders. Among his numerous controversies, he rented a Capitol Hill condo for $50 a night—well below market value—from the wife of a fossil fuel lobbyist. He also has a penchant of flying first class on the taxpayer dime.
EPA spokesman Lincoln Ferguson said Pruitt thanked Mink for her comments.
"Administrator Pruitt always welcomes input from Americans, whether they agree or disagree with the decisions being made at EPA," Ferguson said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. "This is evident by him listening to her comments and going on to thank her, which is not shown in the video. His leaving had nothing to do with the confrontation, he had simply finished his meal and needed to get back to EPA for a briefing."
Mink told HuffPost: "He had no defense. He had no explanation. He had no apology. He had nothing to say. When you are a government official ... you are supposed to be directly working for the citizens that you're serving. He's a public servant. When you're in that position, you should want to hear from the people who you are supposed to be taking care of."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Cutting out coal-burning and other sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy industry, electricity production and traffic will reduce the size of the world's dead zones along coasts where all fish life is vanishing because of a lack of oxygen.
Methane levels in the atmosphere experienced a dramatic rise in 2019, preliminary data released Sunday shows.
In some states like West Virginia, coal mines have been classified as essential services and are staying open during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though the close quarters miners work in and the known risks to respiratory health put miners in harm's way during the spread of the coronavirus.
Renewable energy made up almost three quarters of all new energy capacity added in 2019, data released Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows.