Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that he will vote against Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Udall released the following statement:
“Scott Pruitt’s extreme record on the environment makes him the wrong choice to lead the agency tasked with protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the communities we call home. I strongly oppose his nomination, and I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who are concerned about our kids' future to do the same.
“Climate change poses one of the greatest threats to public health, the environment, and our national security – and New Mexico is right in the bull’s eye, as farmers, ranchers, and anyone who relies on water and weather can tell you. But in his confirmation hearing, Mr. Pruitt infamously said that his ‘personal opinion’ on climate change is ‘immaterial.’ Global warming should not be a matter of ‘personal opinion’ or belief for an EPA chief; it should be a matter of science. Mr. Pruitt should not dodge the question of whether he accepts or rejects that scientific finding when testifying before Congress. Scientific consensus tells us that global warming is happening, and it is caused by human activity and is a threat to our way of life.
"There certainly is room for debate about the best policies, but an EPA administrator must be clear-eyed about the urgent challenge facing our nation and the world. While Mr. Pruitt is tight-lipped about whether he understands the science of climate change, his record on this issue couldn’t be clearer. For years, he has fought on behalf of climate deniers in court, and he has sued the EPA – the agency he now wants to lead – for its rules to combat climate change and protect human health. Too often as Oklahoma state attorney general, Mr. Pruitt worked to help big polluters at the expense of our environment and the American people.
“President Trump and congressional Republicans’ wide-ranging assault on clean water and clean air already is beginning. In fact, one of the first laws passed this Congress allows mining companies to dump more pollution into nearby streams; and more public health rules are on the chopping block. Instead of attacking the common-sense measures that set limits on toxic pollution, we should be fighting for policies that create jobs in new energy technologies and safeguard the health of our planet for future generations. Because he has spent much of his career working to undermine the fundamental goals of the agency he hopes to run, Scott Pruitt is not the right person to lead the EPA.”