The Mark UP

Pruitt unfit to protect health, environment at EPA

Big polluters want to help pick the next Environmental Protection Agency administrator, and that’s a big problem. This week we learned energy industry executives and at least one secretive group are raising millions of dollars to support the confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to become Donald Trump’s EPA administrator, which pretty much says it all. They’ve got to be ecstatic at the thought that someone with Pruitt’s extensive record of siding with polluting industries could gain control of the EPA and its mission to protect American families.

Pruitt’s nomination is part of Trump’s plan to prioritize the development of dirty energy sources, ignore the promise of the burgeoning clean energy economy, undermine our progress and reverse America’s global leadership on climate change. Pruitt is so close to the oil and gas industry that he was caught copying and pasting a letter written by their lobbyists onto his official state letterhead. And it gets worse; he sent the phony letter on behalf of fossil fuel companies to protest the environmental enforcement activities of…yes, the EPA.

That’s just the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to Pruitt’s record of opposing common sense environmental safeguards. In his current role, and under the guise of states’ rights, he has even opposed the EPA’s efforts to ensure uniform environmental standards across America, as if dirty air and unsafe water somehow stay within state borders. And he’ll be the first EPA administrator in decades to ignore the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity – the burning of fossil fuels – is causing the rapid and dangerous warming of our planet. Could any of this be connected to the fact that he’s received at least $350,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry?

Over the next few weeks the U.S. Senate will hold hearings to question Pruitt and the rest of Donald Trump’s nominees to run key federal agencies – the ones tasked with protecting America’s environment and public health. These posts are far too important to hand over to men who owe their political careers to donors from the fossil fuel industry.

Pruitt is unfit to lead an agency whose mission he has so little regard for. He’s too cozy with the very polluters the EPA has held in check for nearly five decades. (Even the Trump transition team couldn’t find one pro-environment accomplishment to include in his official bio.)

Your senators need to hear from you. They need to know that you expect them to vote to protect you and your family, to defend  America’s waters, lands and air, and to oppose the takeover of the EPA by the fossil fuel industry and its preferred regulators. Tell your senators to vote NO on Pruitt.

Kevin Curtis is executive director of the NRDC Action Fund.