February 16, 2017

Senators Demand Scott Pruitt Recuse Himself from All Issues Related to Lawsuits He Brought Against the EPA to Overturn or Weaken Clean Air and Water Pollution Rules

Of the 19 cases Pruitt filed against the EPA as Oklahoma Attorney General, eight remain pending before the courts

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, joined 29 other senators in calling on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt to recuse himself from participating in any matter related to litigation that he pursued against the EPA as Oklahoma Attorney General. In the letter, the senators specifically call on Mr. Pruitt to recuse himself from decisions on how the EPA will defend itself against the lawsuits he brought for as long as those cases are active. They also call on Mr. Pruitt to recuse himself from any actions the EPA may make as a result of court action on litigation from which he is recused, as well as recuse himself from directing the revision or elimination of any regulation regarding issues on which he has sued the EPA. During his testimony at his confirmation hearing and in follow-up questions for the record, Mr. Pruitt refused to recuse himself from any of these matters.

“It is also impossible for you – or any action you may take as EPA Administrator – to be viewed as impartial if that action consists of the repeal or weakening of environmental protections through regulation that you originally sought to accomplish through litigation,” write the Senators in the letter to Mr. Pruitt. “The American people must have the utmost confidence that members of the Trump administration are exclusively serving our national interests.  Until you agree to recuse yourself from all matters (including regulation) related to your litigation against the EPA for the duration of your time in office, they will lack that confidence.”

Other senators signing the letter include Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen D-Md.), Jeffery A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Robert P. Casey, Jr (D-Penn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Cory Booker (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found HERE.


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