Controversial Trump pick to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, had a rough day during his confirmation hearing today.
In summary, Mr. Pruitt continues to doubt that humans cause climate change and to make matters worse has apparently received major contributions from polluting industries.
Here are some quick highlights from today’s hearing:
Senator Bernie Sanders to Pruitt: “Why is the climate changing?” “I’m asking your personal opinion.”
Sanders: “Really?” “You are gonna be the head of the agency to protect the environment, and your personal opinions about whether climate change is caused by human activity and carbon emissions is immaterial?”
Pruitt continued by saying that humans only “impacted,” but didn’t “cause” climate change.
Sanders: “If that’s the kind of administer for the EPA administer you would be, you’re not gonna get my vote.”
Another exchange with Senator Booker:
Pruitt has sued the EPA 14 times over the past 6 years and has apparently lost nearly every case. On his LinkedIn page, he refers to himself as a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”
Some of those lawsuits oppose provisions of the Clean Air Act, claiming the law is an example of “regulation overreach.”
Booker tied this issue to the high rate of asthma in children in Oklahoma (Pruitt is the Attorney General of Oklahoma) and wondered why Pruitt hadn’t acted on behalf of the children.
Booker: “Each of these lawsuits… challenge attempts by the EPA to reduce air pollution,” “In all of them except one, you filed those lawsuits joining with polluting companies that were also suing the EPA. It’s clear that you’ve worked very hard on behalf of these industries.”
Pruitt: “The state has to have an interest before it can bring those cases, as you know,” “You can’t just bring lawsuits if you don’t have standing if there’s not been some injury to the state of Oklahoma.”
Booker: “Injury?” “Clearly asthma is triggered and caused by air pollutants. Clearly there’s an air pollution problem. And the fact that you have not brought suits against the industries that are causing the pollution is really problematic when you’re gonna sit in a position that is nationally gonna be affecting this reality.”
In other words, Pruitt claims that it’s true that air pollution causes asthma, but elevated asthma incidence aren’t a result of environmental deregulation or industry wrong doing.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse later held up a sign that showed the close ties between Pruitt and multiple industry polluters.
Overall, Pruitt appeared unquailed to hold the senior EPA position and made matters worse by refusing to answer many questions.
Things aren’t looking good for our environment and the future of the EPA……