January 18, 2016
Contact: Amy Kober, American Rivers, 503-708-1145
Heads of 19 Environmental, Conservation Groups Come Out Against Pruitt’s Nomination
Washington, DC – The CEOs from 19 leading environmental and conservation organizations together came out today to oppose the nomination of Scott Pruitt for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and agree that someone who denies the effects of climate change and actively fights against clean air and water regulations is not fit for the job.
The Oklahoma Attorney General has repeatedly sued the EPA to block clean air and clean water standards in place to protect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. Mr. Pruitt’s actions against the EPA have put drinking water and clean air at risk, endangering communities, wildlife, national parks, forests and other public lands and waters across the country. He sued the EPA to overturn clean water safeguards for more than half the nation’s waterways, including streams that feed into the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans. Mr. Pruitt’s anti-environmental work extends beyond Oklahoma’s borders, as he fought against important water pollution controls for the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest and most productive tidal estuary.
Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly denied climate science, calling it “speculative.” Such an ill-conceived and dangerous perspective could jeopardize national parks, which are seen as being on the front lines for impacts from climate change.
Ethical concerns have also been raised, questioning Mr. Pruitt’s relationships with fossil fuel industry leaders. More than $340,000 in campaign contributions were given to Mr. Pruitt during his political career and nearly $3.5 million to the Republican Attorneys General Association during the time he was at the helm of that organization.
The statement comes from the CEOs of National Parks Conservation Association, Center for International Environmental Law, American Rivers, The Wilderness Society, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Ocean Conservancy, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, Alaska Wilderness League, Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, Greenpeace, Green for All, League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Defense Fund, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Collectively, these organizations represent the interests of millions of Americans, from national parks to wildlife refuges, and call on the Senate to reject Mr. Pruitt’s nomination. Many CEOs have offered specific statements below.
“There is no denying that we are at a crossroads, and our actions now will impact the quality of the air and water in our national parks for generations to come,” said National Parks Conservation Association President and CEO Theresa Pierno. “Glacier National Park will eventually have no glaciers. Joshua trees will recede from their namesake Joshua Tree National Park. These are very real threats, where the science is conclusive. We cannot entrust the air and water quality of our national parks to someone who turns a blind eye to science. If Congress is committed to the lasting legacy of our national parks, it must confirm a nominee who will protect them.”
“As Oklahoma AG, Scott Pruitt Scott Pruitt consistently undermined people’s right to a healthy environment by fighting against vital regulations,” said Carroll Muffett, President of the Center for International Environmental Law. “He opposed investigations into Exxon’s climate denial by other state attorneys general. He passed off oil industry lobby documents as official comments by his state. And he consistently favored industry interests over the needs of his citizens, the protection of the environment or the dictates of science. His nomination would put EPA in the hands and under control of industry to the detriment of the climate, the environment and the American people.”
“Clean water is essential for every American. As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Scott Pruitt has consistently worked to undermine clean water safeguards,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers. “From fighting to overturn protections for streams that provide drinking water for millions of Americans, to siding with polluters at the expense of ordinary citizens, his record makes him the wrong choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. The Senate should reject his nomination.”
“Americans deserve a leader at the EPA who will fight to protect human health and the environment–air, water and land,” said Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society. “It’s frightening to think the nation may get the exact opposite. We expect Senators will shed light on Attorney General Pruitt’s agenda. We will not let corporate interests sell out our natural heritage when they think no one is looking.”
“We have never encountered a Presidential nominee like Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whose record indicates an open hostility towards the essential purpose and functions of the Environmental Protection Agency—the very agency he seeks to lead,” said Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen. “As Oklahoma’s attorney general, he has repeatedly attacked bedrock laws that protect our air and water and put our health and communities in jeopardy. Under his leadership, the Oklahoma Office of Attorney General filed more than 20 lawsuits against the EPA attacking life-saving public health protections, like the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard — a safeguard that would protect children against toxic mercury pollution and prevent 11,000 premature deaths each year across the country. He has also questioned the scientific basis of climate change, even though the Environmental Protection Agency is the most important agency positioned to curb the most harmful effects of our warming planet. Putting Scott Pruitt in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency is an open invitation to Big Oil and other polluters that would destroy our clean air, clean water, and our people’s health and well-being.”
“Ensuring clean air and clean water for all Americans and protecting our families’ health is the core mission of the EPA and its administrator,” said Margie Alt, Executive Director of Environment America. “Attorney General Pruitt’s track record show him to be singularly unqualified for this job.”
“An Environmental Protection Agency led by Scott Pruitt would be a disaster for America’s drinking water,” said Robert Wendelgass, President of Clean Water Action. “His activism on behalf of big water polluters in the oil and agriculture industry has already put the sources of drinking water for millions of Americans at risk. The Senate must reject him.”
“Attorney General Pruitt’s has sided with polluters over people his entire career,” said Vien Truong, Director, Green for All. “We should be under no illusion that his priorities would change as EPA Administrator. For the frontline communities that are most impacted by pollution — which are disproportionately low-income and communities of color — the EPA’s readiness to enforce our nation’s environmental laws can be literally a matter of life or death. For their sake, we urge the U.S Senate to reject this nominee.”
“Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA is like the fox in charge of the hen house,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. He has led the charge against the EPA to roll back protections for clean air and water and to stabilize the climate. His actions would put all Americans – and our climate, air, wildlife and waterways – at risk. We don’t need another Flint, Michigan or the Cuyahoga River fire on our hands. Healthy water and air benefit people and wildlife. We need a leader for the EPA who upholds our nation’s strong environmental laws, follows science and the letter of the law, accepts that climate change is real and fights to protect our air, water and wildlife.”
“LCV strongly opposes Scott Pruitt, a climate denier who has sued the EPA a whopping 14 times over commonsense, science-based public health protections,” said League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski. “There is a clear and very disturbing pattern of Pruitt taking action on behalf of polluting companies in very close proximity to those companies making large financial contributions. Scott Pruitt is the opposite of draining the swamp. He’s a radical extremist who sides with polluters and their profits at the expense of our air and water at every opportunity.”
“Pruitt has spent his entire career attempting to dismantle environmental protections,” said Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund. That’s why Mr. Pruitt is the first E.P.A. nominee from either party that the Environmental Defense Fund has opposed in our 50-year history.”
“Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is the worst nominee ever tapped to lead the U.S Environmental Protection Agency,” said Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “He doesn’t have a single environmental achievement to his name, doesn’t believe in the agency’s mission, and has made a career out of suing the EPA to try to block it from doing its job as the guardian of our environment and health. Even now, secretive industry-backed groups are raising millions of dollars to try to pressure the Senate into approving Pruitt’s nomination. The Senate must reject this unfit candidate so he can’t block needed progress as the agency’s head.”
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American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 250,000 members, supporters and volunteers.