tv [untitled] January 18, 2017 1:34pm-1:50pm EST
because i want to represent the president elect to the best of my ability and make him proud of the job that my team and i do on his behalf, and i want the american people to be proud of this president and the successes that he will have. >> sean spicer, thank you for your time. >> the confirmation hearing for president elect donald trump's pick to head the environmental protection agency is in a lunch break right now. the hearing will resume around 145 eastern time. committee members will continue asking questions of the nominee. oklahoma attorney general.pruitt will continue with live coverage here on c-span2. while we wait, we will show you the q&a from earlier in the hearing. >> a couple quick questions before we go to the back and
forth. could you please describe your environmental philosophy, what you would do to protect our environment. >> while mr. chairman, as i indicated in my opening statement, i believe the role of a regulator, and this may not sound too exciting, but it is to make things regular. i think the difficult challenges we see with individuals across the country is the inability to predict or know what's expected of them as far as their obligations under our environmental laws. i really believe, mr. chairman, if confirmed as the epa administrator, public participation, cooperative federalism, rule of law being the focus of how we do business at the epa is center to restoring confidence and certainty in those that are regulated. clearly the mission of the epa, as i indicated is to protect our
national resources, protecting our water quality, improving our air, protecting the health and welfare of our citizens is key to the leadership of the epa. when enforcement is necessary, a vigorous enforcement. i have done that as attorney general in oklahoma and have taken steps against those who have violated the law, but we have done so in a very decisive and meaningful way. with that in mind. >> just one other question and then i will reserve the balance of my time for interjection and questioning throughout. there are still environmental problems i see in my country and in my state. chemical compounds are left deep in the swell from our military activity decades ago. often they are not the tools available to adequately address this problem. would you advocate increasing the focus on innovative technological solutions to address these and other environmental problems. >> yes german, and this past congress as you indicated in your statement and senator inhofe recognized, there are priorities this year, new
authority has been given to the epa administrator to order testing on certain chemicals. as i've spent time with some of the members on this committee, yes i believe there are priorities to improving our environment across air quality and we seek to focus and prioritize those efforts. >> thank you. >> we don't often have the kind of disruptions in this room in this building that we are witnessing here today. this is extraordinary. not unprecedented, but extraordinary. people might ask why our folks so concerned. i'll tell you why they are concerned. you don't have to go back to march 3 in detroit detroit michigan where the president-elect candidate trump said these words, we are going to get rid of it, epa, in almost
every form. we will have tidbits left, but we will take a tremendous amount out. that's what he said during the republican primary. but these after the election, november 10, fox news, he said what they do is a disgrace. every day may come out with new regulations. who is going to protect the environment? he said will be fine with the environment. we will be fine with the environment. we are concerned we won't be fine with the environment. sometimes words do matter. one of the concerns i have is you would be his epa administrator, all the things that he sat in the campaign, do they just go away? here he's put somebody in place
was actually defunded or that the defunding of the protection unit within your own agency and yet you joined in a dozen or more lawsuits over the past six years, ever since you've been attorney general in going after the epa. that's why they have the kind of concern you're witnessing here today, not just on the side but on that side as well. you raised your hand to answer the question and one of the question was dealing with your ability to respond to reasonable questions are asked of you. one of the things i asked of you, i submitted a submitted a letter i think you received shortly after christmas may be december 28, the close of business. i asked you a lot of questions and ask you to respond by january 29. you don't respond to one of them. you -- today's hearing i asked if you read responded to any of the lessons i asked three weeks ago and to my knowledge no response has been received. that's why we have a concern. that's why we are concerned. >> mercury. >> i'm sorry? >> i'm going to start off by
talking about mercury. they required 30 pull plans to clean up by issuing an air standards rule. this will reduce the mercury and neurotoxin that contaminates our streams and oceans and pollutes our fish and harms our children's health. as attorney general i believe you been part of at least 14 legal cases against the epa and at least three of these cases against the epa rules to reduce missions from powerplant. is that correct. >> we been involved in litigation -- >> is that correct yes or no. >> as i indicated we been involved. >> it's my understanding that one of these cases is still pending. is that correct, yes or no. >> i believe so. >> in the cases against the mercury rule you state that there are harmful to health and should be regulated. to be clear have you ever supported a case against epa
that claims human exposure to mercury resulting from coal plants is exceedingly small. yes or no. >> that is not a yes or no answer, if i may. >> fair enough. disposition said the agency determined after almost a decade of study that mercury emissions from power plants pose significant hazards to public health and must be reduced. would you say the legal cases you've supported in the past directly challenge this agency finding, yes or no. >> the challenges we have had. >> yes or no. >> if i may, senator. >> just hold your fire. the legal opposition you've taken also seems to call and question the 2003 testimony from the system administrative air and radiation jeff homestead, right where you're sitting today and this is what he said. epa is required to regulate mercury because epa determine that mercury emissions from
power plants pose and otherwise risk of options to reduce this risk are available. it seems contrary to legal argument you supported in the past. is that correct. >> i agree with his position that mercury is something that's very dangerous. >> thank you very much. are you aware that the last three administrators have publicly stated that the epa is required to regulate mercury from powerplant because of the health wrath risk. >> i believe it should be regulated. >> thank you very much. >> according to the epa my time is about to expire. thank you very much mr. chairman. >> thank you senator carper. >> senator in half. >> thank you mr. chairman. i don't think you had adequate time to answer some of the questions that were asked. is there anything you would like to add to elaborate. >> yes, thank you. i do want to say to his concern, with respect to president-elect statement throughout the campaign am i believe there is a
very important role the epa has and we talked about in your office. i believe there are air-quality issues, water quality issues that cross state lines that the jurisdiction of the epa is involved in protecting our air quality, improving quality, improving our nations water is extremely important. the epa is had a very valuable role. this body has passed many bodies of legislation since the 1970s to focus on improving our air and water quality. we have much to celebrate. those six criteria pollutants, under the under the program since 1980 are down 63%. we have made progress as a country, but we have work to do. the epa has a very viable role in partnering with the states to carry out those steps to ensure improving our air quality in protecting our nation water. i am hopeful that in response to your concern about the role of the epa, i think think it's a very valuable role.
it is something we should focus on and partner with our states. with respect to mercury, the litigation that you referred to, there was no argument no argument that we made from the state. perspective that mercury is not a hazard if air pollution. our argument focused on the cost-benefit analysis that the epa failed to do. the supreme court actually greed in the michigan case. it was more about the process that the epa was forced to go to in regulating mercury, not a statement over whether or not should be regulated. thank you senator inhofe. >> thank you. i'm glad you brought up this thing about the clean air act. the amendments from 1990, 90, i was one of the cosponsors. it's been incredibly successful. we reduce the bulletins by 63% of what you didn't add is in spite of the problem we had 153% increase in our economic activity. that is a major thing. in my introduction, i mentioned
this thing you did that nobody could figure out how you did it involving a 100 year dispute between the state of oklahoma and the city of oklahoma city and others, do you want to share with us how you did that. >> they tried for a hundred years. you came in and did it less than 100 days days. >> less than eight months into my administration we were sued as a state by the chicks saw nation in selfies oklahoma. many of you, if you know about water litigation, it generally takes decades to resolve water litigation. we went from august 2011 until 2016 and came up with historic agreement between those two groups. the state has maintained its position as arbiter of how those permits are allocated.
it was a partnership. it was the way things ought to work when litigation occurs, sitting across the table from individuals and working together to try to solve the problem. we achieve that in record time and i'm very proud of what we did is a state and nation together. >> that's good, i think you also got them all in one room. >> you've been criticized and some of the people are talking about your environmental record. you want to be sure people are aware of a number of people. this is a person who is really been at the forefront of our scenic rivers program. he praises you and said general pruitt has always done right by our rivers and has always done everything he told me he would
do. the same thing comes from the north carolina department. donald wrote he is committed to clean air and clean water and to respect during the epa to the regular mission of enforcing the environmental laws written by congress. jd strong head of the resources board goes on to praise you as well. i like to know why it is you have become such a hero of the scenic river people. >> senator as you know oklahoma has endured many decades of dispute with respect to phosphorus levels in the scenic illinois river. there's been allegation that's been part of that dispute for some time. there is actually a memorandum of understanding that arkansas and oklahoma entered into around 2002 and that expired during my time as attorney general. there are many in government at the time that said we should wait on the epa to come in and address the issue. i chose a different path. i reached out my democratic colleagues and we were able to
negotiate an agreement that had phosphorus levels set at .037 scientifically driven and enforced on both sides of the border for the first time in history. i think he is the head of the scenic illinois river commission. he has been centered on this issue for a number of your and i think his good word relates to the work we did in my office to achieve that good outcome. >> i know my time has expired but i would like to enter into the record at this point the statement by the environmental deq that i referred to. >> without objection. senator whitehouse. >> thank you chairman, welcome to the committee mr. pruitt. as we discussed discussed when you and i met, the oceans off of our ocean state are warming. that is due to fossil fuel driven climate change. it is crashing our fisheries like lobster he and winter flounder and making earning a living harder for our fishermen.
i see nothing to give fishermen any confidence that you will care anyone bit for their well-being and not just the well-being of the fossil fuel industry. in a process that you could replicate in an oklahoma science lab, excess carbon dioxide from fuel emissions is turning our seas more asset. shell fishermen and shellfish growers are concerned and my colleague states they've already had oysters that wiped out businesses by acidified waters. i see nothing in your career that you would care at all about our rhode island shell fishermen. in rhode island we have a bad air days and became his of epa's work, there are fewer and fewer bad air days are days were people driving into work here on the radio thatwe