Reed to Oppose Pruitt for EPA Administrator

In advance of vote on EPA nominee Pruitt, Reed joins with environmental, education,
and conservation leaders to strategize on safeguarding RI’s environment

PROVIDENCE, RI – During a meeting with leading environmental advocates, educators,
conservationists, and state officials, U.S. Senator Jack Reed announced he will
oppose President Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), Scott Pruitt, because he believes Mr. Pruitt will significantly weaken clean
air and clean water standards.

Reed convened the meeting at Save The Bay’s headquarters in Providence to discuss
how local environmental leaders can work together to protect and restore Rhode
Island’s natural lands, resources, wildlife, and watersheds, including Narragansett
Bay. The forum focused on the new Trump Administration’s approach to environmental
policies regarding wetland protection, offshore drilling, and the Clean Power Plan,
and how that approach may impact Rhode Island and the planet.

«Clean air and clean water are so important to our economy, health, and quality of
life. I am concerned that President Trump doesn’t value environmental protection or
the scientific evidence that many policy decisions are based on. He has already
begun an assault on our environmental laws and this could reverse the hard fought
progress we have made,» said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on
Interior & Environment, which oversees federal funding for the EPA. «President
Trump made it clear he wants to eviscerate the EPA. Doing so could jeopardize
public health and the health of our environment. It could also impair the state’s
ability to continue environmental clean-up, conservation initiatives, and clean
water infrastructure projects. Scott Pruitt has a record of undermining clean air
and clean water protections and denying climate science. I will vote no on his
nomination, and I will vigorously oppose the Trump Administration’s misguided
budgetary policies and all other efforts to undo environmental protections.»

Mr. Pruitt, who currently serves as Attorney General of Oklahoma, has strong ties to
the oil and gas industries and has repeatedly sued the EPA to relax regulations on
companies in these fields. Last week, Republican senators on the Environment and
Public Works Committee suspended rules that required at least two Democratic
senators be in attendance and voted 11-0 to approve Pruitt’s nomination without any
Democratic support. The full U.S. Senate is expected to vote on Mr. Pruitt’s
nomination next week.

Reed noted that soon after President Trump was sworn in, all references to climate
change disappeared from the official White House website and were replaced with a
section titled: «An American First Energy Plan» that pledged to eliminate
«burdensome regulations on our energy industry …such as the Climate Action Plan.»
A gag order was also imposed on EPA scientists and other officials to temporarily
prevent them from speaking about climate change or other issues. Reed called these
actions «alarming» and said he is working with his colleagues on legislative
proposals to ensure that federal science research, data integrity, the scientific
process, and the communication of scientific findings will remain free from
political, ideological, or financial influence.

Senator Reed also noted that the point person for the Trump Transition Team’s EPA
group has publicly stated a desire to slash $1 billion from EPA’s annual budget and
reduce EPA staffing levels by about half nationwide. Such cuts would have a
detrimental impact to environmental protection and conservation in Rhode Island.

«Rhode Island is a national leader in terms of environmental protection. But
pollution doesn’t stop at state lines. If the Trump Administration follows through
with its budget cuts, environmental roll backs, and patchwork regulation, the
consequences for our state could be devastating. Rhode Island alone can’t stop
cross-state pollution. Regional environmental protection is the federal
government’s responsibility, and I will do everything I can to ensure the federal
government does its job to protect the environment and public health,» concluded
Reed.