WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Senator Tom Carper (D. Del.), in his first hearing as the most senior Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, pressed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on his “deeply troubling” record on environmental issues. He also utilized his new leadership role to highlight the unique environmental challenges facing the state of Delaware and asked the nominee how he would help address those issues as Administrator.
Senator Carper questioned Mr. Pruitt on his commitment to dealing with harmful emissions and air pollutants, especially those from power plants that affect air quality in neighboring states. Mr. Pruitt has tried to block current EPA protections that ensure all states do their fair share to clean up the air. Senator Carper reminded Mr. Pruitt that ninety percent of the air pollution in Delaware – from power plants hundreds of miles away in places like Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and across the Midwest.
“As governor of Delaware, even if I had eliminated every source of air pollution within our state by stopping every combustion source and ordering every motor vehicle off of our roads, Delawareans still would have faced deadly doses of air pollution,” Senator Carper noted. “Should children and others in Delaware really be forced to live with the consequences of decisions made by polluters hundreds – or even thousands – of miles from us? I don’t think so.”
Senator Carper also highlighted the importance of tackling climate change in a serious way, especially to coastal states like Delaware. Mr. Pruitt has previously stated that the science behind climate change should continue to be debated. Senator Carper assured the nominee that, in the First State, climate change is not a hypothetical, but a very real part of Delawareans’ daily lives.
“You may not know it, Mr. Pruitt, but Delaware is the lowest lying state in our nation. The highest point in the First State is a bridge. Back home, the reality that our climate is changing is not up for debate. Families and business owners face the stark realities of climate change every single day. Tackling that challenge is not just the right thing to do or what is best for Delaware’s economy. It’s a matter of survival,” Carper said.
Senator Carper’s full opening statement is available here.