Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a full committee hearing: “Oversight Hearing to Receive Testimony from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt.”
Barrasso emphasized the job that Administrator Pruitt had done to protect America’s air, water, and communities, while pursuing policies that have allowed the economy to grow. Barrasso also noted the stark differences between the EPA under Pruitt’s leadership compared to the “regulatory rampage” of the Obama administration. The chairman noted that “Scott Pruitt’s policies, at the helm of EPA, likely have protected more jobs and promoted more job growth, than any other EPA administrator in history.”
For more information on Pruitt’s testimony, click here.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Today’s hearing is to examine EPA’s record to date after this first year of the administration.
“The Environmental Protection Agency, under the leadership of Administrator Pruitt, has been doing the hard work of protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the communities where our families live.
“Administrator Pruitt has led the agency fairly.
“He has balanced the need to prioritize environmental protection with the desires of Americans to have thriving and economically sustainable communities.
“His leadership of EPA is vastly different than that of his last two predecessors.
“Under the Obama administration, the agency had lost its way.
“In some very high profile cases, the EPA harmed the very communities it pledged to protect.
“During the last administration, EPA administrators created broad and legally questionable new regulations that 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 rampage of the previous administration has violated a fundamental principle of environmental stewardship – to 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 people, many from low income and minority communities, who can least afford it.
“Under Administrator Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA has taken a number of bold steps to protect the environment, while not harming local economies.
“Administrator Pruitt is a key leader of the President’s deregulatory agenda, including ending the war on coal.
“Scott Pruitt’s policies at the helm of EPA, likely have protected more jobs and promoted more job growth, than any other EPA administrator in history.
“He has done so while making significant environmental progress.
“The American economy grew 2.4 million jobs since President Trump’s election.
“This job growth happened in critical industries –like manufacturing and mining.
“When the Department of Commerce asked manufacturers at the beginning of 2017 which federal government regulations generated the greatest burdens –the answer was clear – the EPA.
“The top nine identified regulations that impact manufacturing are all EPA regulations.
“At the top of the list were the Waters of the U.S. Rule and Clean Air Act rules.
“Administrator Pruitt is working to address these and other EPA rules.
“His commitment to revisit misguided policies is growing our economy, in manufacturing, in mining, and across the board.
“Two prime examples are proposals to repeal the Clean Power Plan, and the Waters of the United States rule.
“With regard to the Clean Power Plan, the prior administration wanted to put coal out of business.
“27 states challenged the Clean Power Plan because they saw what EPA was doing.
“EPA, under Pruitt’s leadership, is on the right track and getting that rule off the books.
“As he undoes the rule, I appreciate the administrator’s desire to hear from those who would have been hurt the most.
“The administration has already held a listening session in Senator Capito’s home state of West Virginia.
“And I look forward to welcoming EPA to a listening session in Gillette, Wyoming in March.
“Another key way Pruitt has put environmental policy on the right track is EPA’s withdrawal of the Waters of the U.S. rule.
“The Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule would have given EPA almost boundless authority to regulate what Americans can do on their property.
“This would have impacted farmers, ranchers, landowners, and businesses.
“The EPA can and must redefine Waters of the U.S. in a way that makes common sense and respects the limits of EPA’s authority.
“This issue is a priority for my home state of Wyoming as well as many other states.
“The administration’s deregulatory approach is working.
“The White House Council of Economic Advisors reports that the unemployment rate for manufacturing workers is low -‘the lowest rate ever recorded.’
“The facts also show that according to the last Energy Information Agency Quarterly Report, coal production in the West is 19.7% higher than the second quarter of 2016.
“In addition, the stock market is reaching record all-time highs. Administrator Pruitt has also made significant progress in protecting the environment and righting the wrongs of the past administration.
“He has made it a priority to clean up America’s most contaminated sites.
“He has held polluters accountable, even if it was his own agency that was responsible for the pollution.
“Pruitt rightfully called the Obama administration’s response to the EPA-caused Animas Rivers pill ‘wrong’ and he allowed for victims of the spill to re-file their claims that had been denied by the prior administration.
“Administrator Pruitt also allowed the city of Flint, Michigan to have their $20 million loan forgiven, so that money could be better used to protect the health and safety of its citizens.
“Pruitt stated: ‘Forgiving the city's debt will ensure that Flint will not need to resume payments on the loan, allowing progress toward updating Flint's water system to continue.’
“Administrator Pruitt, the reward for good work is often more work, and I don’t need to tell you that we’ve got a lot of work left to do.
“Knowing that on this committee we look forward to supporting your continued efforts.”