February 16, 2017
When I heard that the President had tapped Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, I organized several of my colleagues to speak in opposition. With the Senate debating his nomination this week, I wanted to remind my fellow Senators, and people across the country, why I consider this to be an environmental emergency.
I don't oppose his nomination because we just have a different view on the EPA, or because he's a Republican, or because he doesn't share my views about clean energy.
Scott Pruitt is a professional climate denier.
Mr. Pruitt has made his political bones trying to shred the EPA's ability to enforce the laws that protect clean air and water.
As Oklahoma Attorney General, he literally copy-and-pasted a letter from a major oil company onto official letterhead and sent it to the EPA as his own. He led opposition to the Clean Power Plan. He's sued the federal government over a dozen times to prevent the implementation of rules that would protect our health and environment.
And, on climate change, the most significant environmental challenge of our generation, he's aggressively wrong. Even though over 97% of climate scientists agree that the climate is changing and humans are responsible, Mr. Pruitt has said that the climate debate is "far from settled" and that "scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connections to the actions of mankind."
I have had many encouraging, rational conversations about climate change with my Republican colleagues, but mostly in private. This vote is the litmus test. You can't dabble in conservation or energy efficiency or vote for a budget amendment recognizing the scientific consensus on climate change, and then support a climate denier to head the EPA.
I know that sometimes politics is complicated and the right thing is not so easy to determine. This is not one of those times.
United States Senator
Yesterday, Senator Schatz spoke at a rally opposing Scott Pruitt's nomination.