WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), questioned Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whom President-elect Trump intends to nominate to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt testified at today’s EPW committee hearing.
On Pruitt’s Environmental Philosophy:
“Please describe your environmental philosophy and what you would do to protect our environment?”
Click here for video of Chairman Barrasso questioning Pruitt on his environmental policy.
On Technological Solutions to Address Environmental Problems:
“There still are a number of environmental problems that I see in the country and in my state. Cold War-legacy pollution is a serious problem where chemical compounds are left deep in the soil from our military activity decades ago.
“Often there are not the tools yet available to adequately address this pollution. If confirmed, would you advocate increasing EPA’s focus on innovative technological solutions to address these and other environmental problems?”
Click here for video of Chairman Barrasso questioning Pruitt on technological solutions to address environmental problems.
On Going After Polluters:
“In the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming, it was discovered that trichloroethylene, a chemical that has been used by the military to degrease the engines of rocket motors, was seeping into the city’s drinking water supply.
“The Army Corps of Engineers, which was in charge of a nearby former Atlas nuclear missile site, refused to even admit that their site was the cause of the pollution.
“I fought the Corps on this to do the testing needed to prove what was obvious to everyone that looked at it. The test results showed a large plume coming from the Atlas site directly into the city’s wells.
“The Corps is now addressing the pollution of the city’s water supply is now protected through a state of the art water treatment facility that’s installed by the Corps.
“Can you give me perhaps an example, when you served as Oklahoma state attorney general, where you went after polluters and you held them accountable in that same way?”
Click here for video of Chairman Barrasso questioning Pruitt for an example of going after polluters.
On Transparency at the EPA:
“What was troubling to many of us in the previous administration, was when officials within the Obama administration went to extraordinary lengths to avoid disclosing their official written communications, under the Freedom of Information Act.
“This is the law that allows public access to government records. So for example, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, at the time, used an EPA email account under the name of ‘Richard Windsor,’ as opposed to her own email account.
“So if confirmed, will you refrain from taking any such action that makes it difficult or impossible for the public to access your official written communications, under the Freedom of Information Act?”
Click here for video of Chairman Barrasso questioning Pruitt on transparency at the EPA
On the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act:
“Attorney General Pruitt, you’ve just mentioned the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). You sent a letter to this committee, in April 2015, supporting the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act.
“In fact, the timing of your letter was less than a month after the bill was introduced and you were the first attorney general in the United States to support the bill.
“The bill ultimately received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress. It will be your job to implement the bipartisan reforms and ensure we have consistent regulation throughout the country.
“Would you discuss the plans that you might have to implement this legislation and will you commit to implementing the legislation in a timely manner.”
Click here for video of Chairman Barrasso questioning Pruitt on the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act
On the Gold King Mine Spill:
“You made reference to, and I did in my opening statements as well, to Flint. There was a give-and-take on Flint earlier.
“The other thing I brought up was the Gold King Mine spill, in Colorado. An environmental disaster caused by the EPA.
“Last Friday, the EPA announced that it has denied all claims for the 1.2 billion dollars in lost income, loss of use of property, and damages to the businesses and the property suffered by 73 tribes, by land owners, local businesses, local governments as a result of the spill.
“The EPA’s excuse was its legal interpretation of the Federal Tort Claims Act. According to the EPA, if a federal agency hurts someone through a discretionary action, then the Federal Tort Claims Act does not apply.
“This just doesn’t sound right to me. If confirmed, will you commit that you’ll review that decision and use whatever authority is available to you, under the law, to help the people that have been harmed by the EPA’s negligence.”
Click here for video of Chairman Barrasso questioning Pruitt on the Gold King Mine spill.