In a major loss for the planet, the US Senate confirmed climate denier Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency that Pruitt has sued numerous times and has promised to render toothless. With no irony at all, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated about Pruitt: “He’s exceptionally qualified. He’s dedicated to environmental protection.” Unfortunately, that’s anything but true.
Pruitt calls himself “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” and true to his word, he has worked hard to allow mercury pollution into the environment and coal plants to poison the planet, and has attempted to stop the efforts to clean the Chesapeake Bay. He recently called climate change “a religious belief” and has worked to undermine efforts to stop climate change.
“Scott Pruitt is the most unqualified and dangerous nominee in the history of the EPA, and the Senators who voted to confirm him have betrayed the American people,” said Tom Seyer of NextGen Climate. According to the Sierra Club, “Pruitt has a long record of ignoring science, assaulting public health safeguards, and holding the agency he now leads in contempt. His confirmation is an environmental and public health disaster.”
Thousands of activists have fought to delay Pruitt’s confirmation after a judge ruled that the Oklahoma attorney general office must turn over thousands of emails linking Pruitt to oil and gas companies. Despite their efforts, Pruitt was confirmed along a party-line vote. “Scott Pruitt is a dangerous and cynical choice to head the EPA. He’s a wholly-owned representative of polluters and Audubon will be vigilant as Pruitt sets out to dismantle the agency he heads,” said David Yarnold, Audubon’s president and CEO.