From the second that President Trump nominated Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Waterkeeper Alliance warned that he was a disastrous choice. Now, as more details about Pruitt’s self-interested and destructive decision-making are coming to light, Congress should take action to remove him from his position of power.
Our well-founded warnings about what Pruitt’s leadership would mean for the EPA have largely come true. Rather than enforcing environmental laws and advancing our nation towards a cleaner, safer future, EPA has been letting polluters off the hook and attempting to roll back environmental protections. Science has taken a back seat in determining EPA’s actions and Pruitt has eliminated efforts to combat climate change — instead the agency’s actions are geared toward putting more money in the pockets of polluting industries. Even though attempts to weaken environmental protections take time, especially with groups like Waterkeeper Alliance standing in the way, Pruitt’s EPA has shown polluters they have nothing to fear from the EPA.
There is no question as to what Scott Pruitt’s priorities are and where his loyalties lie. During his first seven months as EPA Administrator, he met with representatives from the industries that EPA is supposed to regulate 25 times more than with representatives from environmental groups. Pruitt is under fire for a number of other decisions he made, showing his questionable judgment extends beyond environmental issues. We already knew that Pruitt was catering to the fossil fuel industry — but the news of Pruitt’s discount condo rental from the wife of an energy lobbyist shed light on just how close Pruitt is with powerful polluting industries.
Pruitt has also shown a startling disregard for how he expends taxpayer money including spending over $40,000 for a needless soundproof phone system in his office and possibly using legal loopholes to give his aids massive raises. Pruitt also used taxpayer funds to fly first class and explored hiring a private jet service — claiming it was for security reasons. However, when Pruitt went on trips not paid for by taxpayers, he flew coach. On top of making taxpayers pay for his lavish travel expenses, most of Pruitt’s travel was aimed at meeting with, or promoting, the industries that EPA is supposed to regulate to protect public health and the environment. One of the most expensive trips taken by Pruitt was a trip to Morocco to promote U.S. natural gas exports.
None of this should come as surprise — Pruitt made a career out of claiming to work in the public interest, while actually taking actions that would gut public health protections and line the pockets of his allies in polluting industries.
This week, we are asking you to call your Members of Congress and tell them it is high time that Scott Pruitt left EPA. Here are some points you can make on that call:
Feature image by Gage Skidmore