Scott Pruitt, the Trump nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), faces his first hurdle this Wednesday (February 1) when Congress’s Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) votes on his nomination. They will undoubtedly vote to recommend him. Maine’s Senator Susan Collins needs to make her move now.
Pruitt’s record is a laundry list of attacks on the EPA’s efforts to curb the mercury, ozone, and carbon pollution that wreaks havoc for our air and water in Maine. He has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industries he serves. His record suggests that he will happily gut the EPA of staff and funding so that it will stay out of the way of polluting corporations.
He is a terrible choice to head the EPA, and a slap in the face to all of us working so hard to address climate change. Pruitt’s pro-oil and gas energy interests would be a disaster for Maine – throwing us back to an era when there were no protections from power plant emissions bringing mercury pollution to our lakes and smog and carbon pollution to our air.
Senator Collins is in a key leadership position to block this nomination – if she does so before the EPW committee vote on Wednesday. If she breaks rank from her fellow Republicans on this issue, others can more easily follow for the Senate vote next week. If she waits until the Senate votes, even if she votes against his nomination then, she will not be using the power of her potential influence. It would be a lost opportunity.
Her offices in Maine and in DC have been flooded with calls to reject Pruitt. She knows full well that Pruitt is on the opposite side of environmental issues she has supported in recent years. There is a massive and bipartisan resistance to Pruitt sending us backwards on environmental policy. Yet, she has not come forward to formally declare her opposition yet. She did say yesterday, in a Maine Public news story, that she is “concerned, based on the meeting I had with Scott Pruitt, about the number of times he has sued the very agency that he has now been tapped to lead.”
Senator Collins has a strong record of supporting federal climate action and power plant emissions that hurt our public health in Maine. Call her today and demand that she announce her opposition to Scott Pruitt’s nomination before the EPW vote.
–by Lisa Pohlmann, NRCM Executive Director
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