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Chairman Barrasso’s remarks:
“Today we consider the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Attorney General Pruitt has been a distinguished public servant, as we have heard from his fellow Oklahomans.
“He served eight years in the Oklahoma State Senate before being elected attorney general of Oklahoma in November of 2010, where he still serves.
“There are numerous statements from his peers and the people he has helped over the years that stand as a testament to his strong qualifications to run the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Twenty-four state attorneys general wrote to both Carper and to me, stating that: ‘As attorneys general, we understand the need to work collaboratively to address threats to our environment that cross state lines, as well as the importance of a federal counterpart in the EPA Administrator who possesses the knowledge, experience, and principles to work with our states to address issues affecting our environment. We believe that no one exemplifies these qualities more than Scott Pruitt.’
“Attorney General Pruitt has taken on polluters, including the oil industry, when there is cause.
“This is why I believe President-elect Trump nominated Attorney General Pruitt to serve as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The EPA, under the leadership of a qualified and responsible administrator, is a vital tool that must be used to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the communities where our families live.
“It’s truly a sacred trust.
“Colleagues on both sides of the aisle say that Attorney General Pruitt has the right experience for the position.
“Attorney General Pruitt understands the need to both protect the environment while allowing our nation’s economy to grow.
“The agency needs a leader who will follow the laws created by this committee.
“During the last eight years EPA administrators created broad and legally questionable new regulations which have undermined the American people’s faith in the agency. These regulations have done great damage to the livelihoods of our nation’s hardest-working citizens.
“The regulatory zeal of the last eight years has violated a fundamental principle of environmental stewardship – which is do no harm.
“This failed environmental leadership has contributed to two of the worst government-created environmental disasters in decades – the Gold King Mine spill and Flint, Michigan’s water crisis.
“Those disasters hurt the people, many from low-income and minority communities, who can least afford it.
“So I’ve discussed with Attorney General Pruitt, my home state of Wyoming is a leading energy-producing state.
“We have abundant supplies of coal, natural gas, crude oil, and uranium. These industries provide thousands of good-paying jobs for Wyoming communities.
“We are also, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful states in the nation.
“We are home to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and numerous national forests and pristine lakes and waterways.
“Our wildlife population is diverse and abundant. We have thriving populations of grizzly bears, wolves, elk, and bison.
“People travel from around the world to come to Wyoming because our state’s natural resources are spectacular.
“Wyoming has managed to strike that balance between our environment and our economy, and it shows.
“For eight years Wyoming has suffered under an EPA that didn’t believe in striking a balance.
“As EPA regulations crushed energy jobs in my state, state revenue fell that pays for state programs. This includes paying for our vital environmental programs.
“Clearly a wholesale change is needed. Any new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency needs to protect the environment in a responsible way that doesn’t ignore the good work that states do to protect their air, land and water, as well as their economies.”