02 • 17 • 2017

Environmental community alarmed as Scott Pruitt is confirmed new EPA Administrator

By Mara Dias

Despite urgings from our members and environmental organizations across the country, and a request by Senate Democrats to allow Pruitt’s office to comply with the court order to turn over 2,500 email communications with coal, oil and gas companies by Tuesday, the Senate instead rushed ahead to approve Scott Pruitt as the new Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.  Republican Susan Collins from Maine, and Independents Bernie Sanders (VT) and Angus King (ME) joined Senate Democrats in voting against Pruitt’s nomination, while Democrats Joe Manchin (WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) crossed the aisle to join the majority of Republicans to vote in favor of Pruitt.

Senator Collins told reporters, “His actions leave me with considerable doubts about whether his vision for the EPA is consistent with the agency’s critical mission to protect human health and the environment.”   And Surfrider certainly agrees. 

As former Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt sued the EPA, the very agency he’s set to oversee, 14 times. Many of those lawsuits attacked critical safeguards for water and the health of people who drink it. In addition, his cozy relationships with the energy industry are in a direct conflict to the role of the EPA Administrator.  These industries should not get a free pass to cause real, direct harm to public health and the environment, while raking in huge profits. Unfortunately Scott Pruitt has been handing out free passes to the big polluters for years, and has even expressed doubt over the causes of climate change despite overwhelming (97%) agreement within the scientific community of climate change being driven by human activities.

As a grassroots organization fighting for the protection and enjoyment of our ocean, waves and beaches, the Surfrider Foundation relies heavily on EPA programs and regulations to ensure that the water that flows down to the beach is clean and free from pollution and that beachgoers have the information they need to avoid getting sick at the beach.  EPA-supported research is also critical as our country and planet face the challenges presented by climate change.  We want to ensure EPA’s regulations are kept in place and fully enforced to support resilient coasts and to keep our ocean and beaches clean and safe and we worry about Administrator Pruitt’s dedication to leading the EPA in meeting its mission. 

Surfrider will be calling on Congress to remind them of their responsibility to protect clean air and clean water for all citizens and asking them for their support in keeping agency authority and funding intact.

We will fight against any attempts by the Administration or Congress to rollback environmental regulations or to thwart proper enforcement of environmental laws. We will also oppose any attempts that weaken Federal leadership to advance climate change adaptation measures and the use of science to address climate change threats.  

Learn more about Surfrider’s campaign to Save the EPA here.