WASHINGTON – Earlier this month, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) held a confirmation hearing for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When answering questions from EPW Democrats, both at the hearing and in his responses to questions submitted for the record, Mr. Pruitt misrepresented his own environmental record.
During the confirmation hearing, Scott Pruitt was asked to identify instances where he filed lawsuits against private companies in Oklahoma for violations of federal and state pollution laws. The nominee failed to give anything other than alternative facts, citing a consent decree he had filed after his predecessor had completed the investigation that Mr. Pruitt was then compelled to continue after taking office.
Scott Pruitt cites Mahard Egg Farm case in EPW nomination hearing
Attorney General Pruitt failed to do his job time and time again, abdicated his responsibility to protect Oklahomans and hold polluters and bad actors accountable. As Attorney General, Scott Pruitt brought over twenty legal actions against the EPA, the agency which he is nominated to lead. Instead of taking on polluters, Scott Pruitt zeroed out the budget for Oklahoma’s Environmental Protection Unit and focused all of his attention on joining energy companies in lawsuits against the EPA.
Jason B. Aamodt of the Indian and Environmental Law Group rebukes AG Pruitt’s environmental record
“There are many cases in Oklahoma that are ongoing right now, the Mahard Egg Farm case for instance that we talked about, it’s actually an ongoing case. The Attorney General is not involved. He’s claiming to be involved based on a consent decree that he’s failed to enforce,” Oklahoma environmental lawyer Jason Aamodt stated in response to Senator Carper’s questions on Scott Pruitt’s environmental record at a panel discussion last week.
Mr. Aamodt continued, “There’s ongoing litigation against ConocoPhillips in Ponca City. The EPA in 2015 found that the Ponca City refinery, the Phillips 66 refinery in Ponca City is one of the worst polluting refineries in the entire country. There has been no activity to enforce the environmental laws there, certainly not on the list. And you can go across the state. Essentially any major piece of environmental litigation from cases against Halliburton in Duncan, Oklahoma for ground water pollution that have gone on where the ground water has been polluted, to a present case that’s been going on in Bethany, Oklahoma where the city’s water wells have been polluted - a classic case where the Attorney General would step in. The Attorney General is absent. The question that is asked earlier, does he have the authority to act in these cases. Yes. He not only has the authority, he has the duty - that’s why we have the Attorney General’s position - to represent the public interest. And it’s the same public interest that exists at the EPA. You’d get the same result.”