Bernie Sanders Isn't Having Any Of Scott Pruitt's Nonsense

Darin HammondJan 20, 2017

Pruitt has faced similar criticism over his handling of the poultry case initiated by his predecessor that has been languishing in federal court for more than six years. He added that he would seek to give states more authority to regulate their own environmental issues.

Pruitt's hearing is one of a series of sessions to vet Trump's senior appointees since last week.

Regulations, he said, "shouldn't favor any sector of the economy".

Affiliated with the Environmental Defense Fund, the group targeted Pennsylvania because environmental protection is particularly important in a state that is a leading producer of natural gas and coal.

What's more likely, of course, is that Pruitt will be moving to Washington, along with most of the rest of Trump's scientifically challenged Cabinet picks.

Pruitt has been a denier of climate change, though on Wednesday he said he believed it is not a hoax.

He stated a belief in climate change, but did not accept the scientific consensus that the activity of humans has caused the carbon loading responsible for it, saying only that humans have had a part. "The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialog".

"As Oklahoma's Attorney General, Mr. Pruitt led the fight to bring common sense back to environmental regulation and he was an unrivaled defender of private property rights".

Pruitt also has faced sharp criticism from environmentalists for failing to take any action to help curb a dramatic spike in quake activity that scientists have linked to the underground disposal of oil and gas wastewater. "We can simultaneously pursue the mutual goals of environmental protection and economic growth". "I utterly reject that narrative". Jeff Merkley (D-OR) referenced a New York Times investigation published in 2014 that showed Pruitt's office had copied onto its own letterhead a letter written by Devon Energy Corp. questioning EPA over its estimations of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. "You used your office as a direct extension of an oil company rather than a direct extension of the public health of the people of Oklahoma".

Pruitt countered that Devon's concerns over EPA's methods reflected the broader concerns of an industry crucial to Oklahoma. Pruitt criticized the new definition as an overreach that obviously went too far, but he suggested that Congress should clarify the legal definition so the EPA wouldn't have to.

Pruitt has taken tens of thousands of dollars in donations from oil and gas companies. "We urge you to lobby your colleagues on both sides of the aisle to oppose his nomination, to speak out in the media highlighting his egregious environmental record, and use all procedural means at your disposal to block Scott Pruitt from becoming EPA Administrator". When asked if he as EPA administrator would recuse himself from those cases, Pruitt refused to say if he would do so voluntarily.

Meanwhile, Trump himself is a climate change skeptic who has also said he cares deeply about nature and clean air. "We're concerned that we won't be fine with the environment", said Democratic Senator Tom Carper of DE during the hearing.

The Oklahoma attorney general's confirmation hearing proved that he has made a career out of putting the interests of polluters above public health. "Obviously, you have stood up and said you will do everything you can to stop future earthquakes as a result of fracking". "You are going to be the head of the agency to protect the environment, and your personal feelings about whether climate change is caused by human activity and carbon emissions is immaterial?"

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