On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate will hold confirmation hearings for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA was created in 1970 by a Republican administration with bipartisan ratification to provide a fair and balanced approach toward environmental issues.
However, a check on Pruitt’s record is cause for great concern. Pruitt has directly received approximately $350,000 in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, and in 2014 he signed a letter drafted by industry lobbyists protesting the EPA’s plan to study the environmental impacts of fracking for oil and natural gas. Now I would think that the very purpose of the EPA would be to at least study the impacts of fracking.
Also, in April 2016, Pruitt authored an op-ed in defense of Exxon, publicly attacking the ongoing investigation into whether Exxon deliberately misled the public (and the world) by quashing its own internal research on climate change. Just one month earlier, Exxon had donated $50,000 to the Pruitt-led Republican Attorneys General Association.
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In fact, Pruitt has filed 13 lawsuits challenging federal environmental regulations where the co-parties included companies that had contributed money to Pruitt or to Pruitt-affiliated political campaign committees.
The last thing America needs is an EPA director who will have an industry-biased and one-sided approach to conservation and environmental issues. Confirming Pruitt as the leader of the EPA would be equivalent to placing the “fox in charge of the hen house.”
John A. Corr, State College