Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scott Pruitt sworn in as EPA Administrator

On Friday Feb. 17, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was confirmed and sworn in as the 14th administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The news comes as a jolt to environmentalists and citizens concerned about his record of fighting the very agency he will be tasked with overseeing.
Back in December, the National Audubon Society along with other environmental groups responded negatively to the nod. NAS CEO and president David Yarnold said at the time:
“Scott Pruitt’s nomination as the anti-EPA Administrator causes us deep concern. The Environmental Protection Agency's work has always been based on science, but Pruitt is a climate change denier who has worked to dismantle well-grounded protections for clean air and clean water. Those protections have benefited birds and kids for decades and the next administration’s EPA needs to base its work on scientific consensus, something Pruitt hasn't shown a willingness to do. We urge the Senate to hold an EPA administrator to those basic standards."
The EPA issued a press release, which says in part:
"Administrator Pruitt believes promoting and protecting a strong and healthy environment is one of the lifeblood priorities of the government, and EPA is a vital part of that mission.
Pruitt became a national leader through a career of advocating to keep power in the hands of hardworking Americans. He has a proven record of working with industry, farmers, ranchers, landowners, small business owners and others to protect our natural resources.
As a dedicated civil servant, Pruitt created policies that serve the people. He strongly believes environmental law, policy, and progress are all based on cooperation among the states, cooperation between the states and EPA, and cooperation between regulators and the public.
As Administrator, Mr. Pruitt will lead EPA in a way that our future generations inherit a better and healthier environment while advancing America’s economic interests. He is committed to working with the thousands of dedicated public servants at EPA who have devoted their careers to helping realize this shared vision, while faithfully administering environmental laws.
Most recently, Administrator Pruitt served as the Attorney General for Oklahoma. He worked with his Democratic counterpart in Arkansas to reach agreement to study the water quality of the Illinois River that crosses between the two states and has been enjoyed by generations of Oklahomans and Arkansans. The Statement of Joint Principles provided for a best science study using EPA-approved methods, with both states agreeing, for the first time, to be bound
by the outcome.
During his tenure as Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Mr. Pruitt led an historic water rights settlement between the State of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations that preserved the ecosystems of scenic lakes and rivers on native lands. The agreement, which required Congressional approval, was signed into law on December 2016.
The Law provides a framework that fosters intergovernmental collaboration on significant water resource concerns while protecting existing water rights and affirming the State’s role in water rights permitting and administration. Water settlement cases can be lengthy, costly, divisive and disruptive, however under Pruitt’s forward thinking leadership the process was hailed by all parties as one of commitment, hard work, perseverance and cooperation.
As Attorney General for Oklahoma, he also led the State’s legal challenges against property rights intrusion while protecting Oklahoma’s natural resources and environment."
In response to the announcement, an environmental attorney, James Rubin of Dorsey & Whitney, said:
"After a bruising confirmation fight, former Oklahoma Attorney Scott Pruitt will be sworn in as EPA’s latest administrator today. Everyone will be watching closely, including industry, environmental groups and EPA employees themselves, as Pruitt pivots from strong critic of EPA regulatory efforts in the Obama Administration to the head of a large agency tasked by multiple statues with protecting water and air quality, chemical and waste management and a myriad of other public health matters. It is not yet clear what his chief goals and initiatives may be, but change is certainly possible on the scope of climate and other energy-related regulation, wetland jurisdiction, and potentially even staffing sizes."
Before going into private practice, Mr. Rubin served for 15 years in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
To see Administrator Pruitt’s biography, visit: Photo: Scott Pruitt, at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2015, by Gage Skidmore, Peoria, AZ, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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