By Jennifer Mitchell
Maine Public news story
As parts of Maine woke up to a second day of air quality warnings Thursday, the Natural Resources Council of Maine plan to send a letter to President Trump asking that he remove Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt.
“It’s one of those days where pollution is bombarding our state from other places and, like thousands of Mainers, I have asthma, and I’m having a hard time breathing today, I had a hard time breathing yesterday,” says Emmie Theberge, with NRCM. “Scott Pruitt is doing nothing to help clean up our air, in fact his positions are making our air more dirty and harder for Mainers to breathe and that’s just one of the many reasons why he should go.”
Bob Holmberg is a pediatrician, and he is also hoping for Pruitt’s departure. He says he has been treating children for almost 40 years. With five grandchildren of his own now, he worries more than ever about climate change, life-shortening pollution, and side effects to global warming such as more mosquito and tick-borne diseases.
“Environmental protection is our greatest opportunity to avert further disaster,” Holmberg says.
He also calls Pruitt himself a “major threat to public health.”
“I would like to see him leave – either fired by the president or go on his own. We need some responsible leadership in the EPA, because decisions made there affect us here,” said Maine Representative Bob Duchesne of Hudson.
Duchesne says it is not just about Pruitt’s part in regressive environmental rollbacks – such as a weakening of clean air and water rules – but also for a pattern of questionable management decisions.
“He’s been in the news an awful lot lately for a lot of misjudgments, from his ‘cone of silence’ phone booth, to lavish travel at taxpayer expense, redecorating his office lavishly,” said Duchesne. “All of these things are showing a pattern of mismanaging money.”
Tuesday, the EPA Superfund manager Albert Kelly resigned amid the investigations into Pruitt’s conduct.
1,038 Maine residents signed the letter, which alleges, among other things, Pruitt’s apparent lack of concern over climate change, as well as his ties with the fossil fuel industry, “reckless rollbacks” of clean air and water rules, and his “contempt for science.”
Copies of the letter were also sent to Maine’s Congressional delegation.