WASHINGTON – Today, Democrats on the Environment and Public Works Committee, led by Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), objected to moving forward with a business meeting to consider the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency until Mr. Pruitt fully responds to requests for information. Committee Democrats called on Pruitt to provide relevant documents on business conducted while serving as Attorney General of Oklahoma and straightforward answers to questions on his environmental record.
“From the outset of this confirmation process, Scott Pruitt has consistently misrepresented his environmental record and denied us the information we require to perform our duty to advise and consent,” Ranking Member Carper said. “It is incumbent upon the nominee to provide answers to the specific, substantive questions that have been asked over the course of the last five weeks. The EPA performs a critical duty that protects Americans and saves lives. If Mr. Pruitt is serious about leading this important agency, he should be more than willing to provide straightforward answers to our fundamental questions.”
Carper continued, “It brings me no joy to boycott today’s markup, but we want and need the truth. Our requests are reasonable. Provide this information so that we can move on.”
On Monday, Senator Carper sent a letter to Chairman Barrasso, urging him to hold Mr. Pruitt accountable and asking for a postponement of today’s business meeting until Mr. Pruitt responded to specific requests from Committee Democrats. The request mirrored that of EPW Republicans back in 2013 when considering Gina McCarthy’s nomination. McCarthy ultimately provided additional information to the committee.
Last month, Mr. Pruitt sent woefully inadequate answers to Committee Democrats’ questions for the record following his Confirmation hearing. Mr. Pruitt refused to provide substantive answers on fundamental policy questions, failing to name one EPA regulation on the books today that he supports and unable to demonstrate basic scientific knowledge regarding the dangers of toxic pollutants like lead and mercury. Additionally, Mr. Pruitt told Committee Democrats 19 separate times to get the information they were requesting from Mr. Pruitt’s own office, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, which has more than a two-year backlog for such requests. Prior to the Committee’s hearing, Mr. Pruitt refused to respond to questions sent by Ranking Member Carper on a broad range of issues relating to the basic mission of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ranking Member Carper added, “My colleagues on the other side have been in our shoes. In 2013, Republican members of this committee, including Senators Barrasso, Inhofe, Sessions, Wicker, Boozman and Fisher, expressed in a letter to then-Chairman Boxer that ‘EPW precedent illustrates that without answers to questions and information requests, it is not appropriate to move forward with the nominee.’ I could not agree more with my colleagues.”