EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Testifies at Confirmation Hearing CSPAN January 18, 2017 8:01pm-10:43pm EST
live everyday news and issues that impact you. the economic policy director josh bivens and makeda center program on the economy and globalization codirector griswold will discuss the economic policy of the obama administration. in the impact it has had on job creation, unemployment, wages and federal debt. sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 a.m. eastern thursday morning. join the now oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt hearing. from the senate environment and public works committee. this is about five hours and 45 minutes. good morning. i called his hearing to order.
we have quite a full house it. i welcome the audience. this is a formal senate hearing and in order to allow the committee to conduct its business we will maintain decorum. that means if there are disorders, demonstrations by a member of the audience, person causing the disruption will be escorted from the room by the capitol police. this is the first hearing of the session i would like to welcome our new members senatorsjerry moran and jonie earnst . tammy duckworth and camela harris , thank you very much and congratulations in joining the committee. i would also like to welcome senator tom carper and his new role as a ranking member of the committee. you are here even if you have a scratchy throat. 40 years from when you're treasurer of delaware, member of congress, governor, member of the u.s. senate, has not missed a day, you are cal ripken jr. and the ironman. thank you for being here. thank you. i look forward to working with you. he deserves applause.
with regard to procedure. we will follow the earlybird rule in terms of the order of member questions. members here at the start as you all are will be placed in the line based on your seniority on the committee. members who arrive after the hearing has started will be added to the line in order they arrive. with respect to today's hearings we will be abiding by the committee's five minute rule. the five minutes include just not the questions but the nominees answers. i ask our members to please leave enough time for the nominee to answer your question. today we will have many rounds of questions as are necessary so that members questions are answered. today's hearing is to consider the nomination of attorney general of oklahoma scott pruitt to the administrator of the environmental protection agency. attorney general pruitt has been a distinguished public servant as well and we will
hear from his, the same from his fellow oklahomans today. he served eight years in the oklahoma state senate before being elected attorney general of oklahoma in november 2010 where he still serves. there are numerous statements from his peers and the people he has helped over the years that stand as a testament to his strong qualifications to run the environmental protection agency. 24 state attorneys general wrote to both ranking more member corner anything that as attorney general we understand the need to work collaborative to address threats to our environment that cross state lines. as well as the importance of the federal counterpart in the epa administrator who possesses the knowledge, experience and principles to work with our state to address issues affecting our environment. we believe that no one exemplifies these qualities more than scott pruitt. now, attorney general pruitt has taken on polluters including the oil industry when there was cause. randy ellis and award winning an investigative report with
the oklahoma newspaper praised pruitt for his ability to take on industry. the paper highlighted the work of attorney general pruitt to hold a large oil company accountable. this is what he stated. he said mr. pruitt demonstrated he will take on industry when they overstepped. when he sued oil companies such as bp knowingly double-dip by collecting reimbursements for collective action environmental costs for sites they polluted. this is why i believe president-elect trump nominated him to serve as the administrator of the epa. this is a vital tool that must be used to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the communities where our families live. it is truly a sacred trust. colleagues on both sides of the aisle say attorney general pruitt has the right experience for the position. attorney general pruitt understands the need to both protect the environment while allowing the nation's economy to grow. the agency needs aleut leader who will follow the law created by this committee.
during the last eight years epa administrator is created broad and legally questionable new regulations which have undermined the american people's faith in the agency. these regulations have done great damage to the livelihoods of our nation's hardest working citizens. the regulatory zeal of the last eight years has violated a fundamental principle of environmental stewardship which is due no harm. this failed environmental leadership has contributed to two of the worst government created environmental disasters in decades. the gold came to mind spell and flint michigan water crisis. those disasters hurt people. many from low income and minority communities who could least afford it. i have discussed with attorney general pruitt and my home state of wyoming is an energy producing state. coal, natural gas, crude oil and uranium. these industries provide thousands of good paying jobs for wyoming communities. we are also when my opinion one
of the most beautiful states in the nation. we are home to yellowstone and national parks and numerous national parks. our wildlife is abundant. where rising publishes of grizzly bears, wolves and bison. people traveled from around the world to come to wyoming because i was states natural resources are spectacular. we have managed to strike the balance between our environment and our economy and it shows. for eight years wyoming has suffered under epa that did not believe in the striking a balance.as epa regulations crest energy jobs in my states, state revenue felt that pays for state programs. this includes paying for vital environmental programs. clearly a wholesale change is needed. any new administrator of the environmental protection agency needs to protect the environment in a responsible way that does not ignore the good work that states do to protect their air, land and water as well as their economies. at this time i would like to ask ranking manager senator parker for an opening statement. >> thank you.
thank you for bringing us here and thank you for your kind words as well. we begin by welcoming our nominee and his wife and their children to this very important hearing. mr. pruitt, this past sunday morning, i went for a long run that took me three beautiful state park had reached a park at sunrise. the sun was coming up and it was turning a brilliant blue in the sky. the air was crisp and clear and wildlife was all around. in a word, it was perfect. as i ran i said a prayer of thanks giving for the gift of this moment. later that morning my wife and i went to church and there we joined our congregation singing a hymn that began with these words. for the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies.lord of all to be we raise this our hymn, our grateful praise. those words fill my heart with emotion then ãand they do so again this morning. and a little more than 48 hours
donald trump placed his hand on a bible. and take an oath to defend our country's constitution. the bible reminds us repeatedly to love our neighbors as ourselves and answers the question who is my neighbor? also found in those pages are scores of ãanother obligation that those of us who live on this are there expected to meet. simply meet we are to serve as stewards on this planet. i believe we have a moral obligation to do so. a great many of my colleagues in the senate agree and so do most americans. we will convince to you and embrace it as well.not just with words but with your deeds. much of your record suggests otherwise and today and in the days that follow we need to find out where the truth lies. leaving the environmental protection agency is hard work. that agency created by president richard nixon and a bipartisan congress 46 years ago, the desk was implementing the most important clean air,
clean water and safe chemical laws. the epa is required to use science to protect the environment and public health. by and large the epa has done this successfully for decades while their economy has continued to grow. many in this room today may not remember a time before the epa. a time when states had to work individually to protect citizens in the community in which they live. a time before the clean water act and clean air act which were signed into law. a time when business is operated through the us with a myriad of state and local laws affecting our health and environment. the choking smog, a half-century ago seem unfathomable now. rivers on fire and deadly toxic plumes sound like something from another world. impossible in our united states of america. today we have the luxury of largely forgetting the circumstances thanks to the efforts of the epa, its employees, partnership with state and local agencies and with companies across america. in fact the epa and its many
partners throughout the country have been so successful that it is easy for some of us to forget just why the agency is so critical. for some it is also to presume not much more for the agency to do and that just could not be further from the truth. the environmental threats that we face today are real. they do not respect state boundaries. as we consider nominee to run our nation's foremost environmental agency, it is worth reminding everyone here why the mission of the epa is so critical and just what is at stake. over time my state of delaware has made great strides in cleaning up our own air pollution. but i will work on the go so far. delaware like many states on the east coast is of the what is the end of america's tailpipe.90 percent of air pollution in delaware comes from outside of the state. from power plants hundreds of miles away places like kentucky, ohio, indiana and parts of the midwest. as governor of delaware if i eliminate every source of air
pollution with my state, stop every combustion source and ordered every motor vehicle off of the roads, delaware would still face deadly doses of air pollution. should children and others in delaware really be forced to live with the decisions made by polluters hundreds or thousands of miles away? who gained economically from our disadvantage? i don't think so. fortunately the epa has recently cemented the good neighbor rule. to make sure all states do their fair share to clean up the air. every citizen in this country has the right to breathe clean air. regardless if they are in a downward or upward a. that is why we have the epa. i remember fishing as a boy with my dad along the river near my hometown in virginia. we brought home the fish that we caught to eat. my mom and sister ate them as well. today that quintessential american pastime comes with a warning label. that river along with countless other polluted streams rivers and lakes in all 50 states are subject to public health advisories cautioning citizens
against eating the mercury laden fish found in them. we have nonproductive raids that this comes from air pollution. coming from the dirtiest plants. lesson of mercury is a powerful neurotoxin. it accumulate in the human body over time threatening the health of the environment and this generation and for generations to come. the epa recently issued public health protections to clean up the toxic air pollution from our dirtiest coal plants allowing families in delaware and thousands of other communities to once again eat the fish from the rivers, lakes, streams without concern of mercury poisoning. that is why we have the epa. too often when state and local communities are pinched for cash they tried to save money by shortchanging clean air and clean water protections. and -- often times they are ignored. corners are cut. solutions are adopted and we saved dollars now would inflict costly and unnecessary damage later. as we have seen most recently in the city of flint michigan.
these cuts have a terrible and tragic impact on the health of the most vulnerable in our society. especially the youngest among us. today the citizens of flint still lack clean drinking water. the new generation there which has been exposed to high levels of lead this is an uncertain future. that is why we have the epa. you may not know it but delaware's lowest line stay in our nation. the highest point in delaware is a bridge. back home reality that the climate is changing. it is not up for grabs or debate. families and business owners face the stark reality of climate change every single day. tackling that challenges not just the right thing to do, it is best for the economy and is a matter of survival. take a ride with me sometime, some 30 miles south of dover air force base heading east toward the delaware bay on primer crowed and you will see what i mean. there was a time not long ago and just before he reached the delaware bay, he came to a parking. today it is underwater.
stand there with me looking to the east and you'll see part of a concrete bunker sticking out of the water. at 1 o'clock, recently someone showed me a photo taken of the bunker in 1947. that was the year i was born. it was on dry land 500 feet west of the water's edge. 500 feet west. our little state alone cannot stand the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that is largely causing the climate to change premises to rise and coastline to retreat. every state must do his fair share, safeguard the climate and the neighbors. that is why we have the epa. examples of air and water pollution produced by one state -- it can still be found in many parts of america. like the runoff in pennsylvania denigrates the waters of the chesapeake bay or the hayes exported from other states often giving degrades visibility of the grand canyon. that is why we have the epa. and some of my colleagues describe me as a governor. for the most part i believe that is the president's fee ãi believe i have given presence of both parties the difference
in most instances. since coming to the senate in 2001 i proposed only one of the nominees for epa administrator supporting two republicans, two democrats. subsequently every ep administrator i have supported demonstrated clearly that they were committing to protect the overall health and environment. i'm also committed to a fair confirmation process. with respect to our nominations with president-elect has offered to. having said that i shared with mr. pruitt and i will share with my colleagues to do too much of what i've seen of his record in the environment and his views about the role of the epa are troubling and in some cases deeply troubling. even former republican administrator whitman with whom i served for seven years as governor in neighboring state recently said that she cannot ã i quote she cannot recall ever having seen an appointment of someone who was so disdainful of the agency and the science behind what the agency does. let me conclude with this. it is hard to imagine a more damning statement.
and from one who served not long ago in that position of trust. mr. pruitt to which you have been vomited. today's your opportunity to show she has got it wrong. to be honest with you i fear she is gotten it right. thank you. >> thank you very much senator carper. in a few moments i like to turn to senator ãand it langford from the home state of oklahoma regarding the nominees distinguished career. before i do that though want to say a few words about senator ã and his distinguished career. first i want to thank my friend jim for his leadership in this committee. the dedication of protecting the environment, rebuilding our nation's infrastructure, strengthening the country's economy and these are clearly evident. he walked across party lines to get things done. this committee held 67 hearings of those, eight were field hearings. 32 bills passed out of the committee that was signed in the law. he understood or oversaw the first long-term highway built in a decade.
this law will improve the nation's roads, bridges, transit systems and rail transportation networks. he also worked on a bipartisan basis with former ranking member barbara boxer to pass badly needed water resources development act legislation. the new larp return prioritizes damn, what do import destruction projects and supports flood control projects to protect millions of people. for the first time in 40 years the toxic substances control act was modernized under his tenure. this law enacted a new uniform revelatory program that will improve public confidence in the state ãsafety of chemicals. and provide manufacturers with certainty regarding regulations. he also worked to keep the administration accountable. he worked to ensure that there was oversight of administration regulations concerning clean power plan, clean water, regulations and many more. i'm glad that he will remain on the committee, i look forward to working closely with him. thank you for your hard work,
your dedication and your leadership. you are now recognized to introduce and talk about attorney general pruitt. >> thank you. thank you very much. i am looking forward to working at a very senior position on your committee and this is the committee that gets things done. as pruitt is fully aware. thank you senator carper for letting me join you for this and i am honored to join my fellow senators langford and introducing not just the attorney general scott pruitt but my good friend. and to offer my support for his nomination to be the next administrator of the epa. though neither of us were born in oklahoma he got here as quickly as possible. in both ended up in tulsa so he is also a neighbor. the attorney general, you will be glad to know he was born in kentucky. and he showed when he was made out of and ended up a great baseball player and was able to get a scholarship and go through the university there. then he came to oklahoma and
went through law school at the university of tulsa and did all kinds of things specialize at that time in constitutional law.in 1998 general pruitt ran and was elected to the oklahoma state senate. he served six years and quickly became a leader. indeed successes followed him throughout his law practice in the state senate to become co-owner and manager and managing general partner of oklahoma city aaa minor league baseball team. and in addition to the thunder that we are all aware of. he is currently oklahoma's of course attorney general. through the course of his career attorney general pruitt has stood out as a champion of state and individual rights and has fought against federal overreach. he has earned a reputation as a defender of the rule of law. he has worked to keep the role of the federal government in check.
as head of the epa, attorney general pruitt will ensure that the agency fulfills the role delegated to it by the laws passed by congress. nothing more and nothing less. oklahoma's energy and agriculture state, we also state that knows what it means to protect the environment. while balancing competing interests. as attorney general scott was instrumental ãoh this is a big deal.we actually have had an ongoing litigation for 100 years. it was the state of oklahoma, the city of oklahoma city. it was the choctaw nation, the chickasaw nation it is over water rights and we were not able to resolve that. this guys comes trotting along and resolved overnight. after 100 years of failures trying to get this done. he is also worked with oklahoma department of environmental quality and water resources in order to protect the rivers. he is kind of a hero of the rivers. they don't know scott that we
in oklahoma actually have more miles of freshwater shoreline ã asked the sedative to please suspend his marks. [inaudible] ã? >> thank you senator. they obviously don't like the rivers but we do in oklahoma. anyway additionally in 2012 oklahoma partnered with three other states, new mexico, colorado, kansas and texas to bring together state officials consideration groups, energy and agricultural industries and further private landowner -- having to do with what might become an endangered species. it was an effort that saw success in its first year. now this is working with four different states. despite endorsing the plan the
fish and wildlife service moved forward with listing the species as threatened. it endangered the cooperation reached between these varying interests. so attorney general scott sued the fish and while like department for ignoring the unique cooperation agreement. and he won. he went these days. as attorney general, scott pruitt has fought the epa, the fish and wildlife service, the oil companies and the academic administration on many fronts. but all of these suits were brought to protect state and local interest from overzealous and activist executive agencies.over the last eight years, the obama administration has advanced a radical environmental agenda. has exhibited a deep distrust of the government and private landowners.and has worked to obstruct the fossil fuel industry and agricultural producers.
protectors of the environment. these are industries and interests that oklahoma relies on.and far from being an enemy of the environment scott has proven himself to be an expert at balancing economic growth with environmental stewardship. it is my belief that attorney general pruitt will return the environmental protection agency to its proper role as a steward for the environment acting within the bounds prescribed by congress. and the constitution. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator. senator langford. >> tim thank you. members of the committee, thank you for allowing me to be able to be here today. i will introduce my fellow oklahoma and for senator and often i to stand with him and to introduce a nominee for the epa. it is an honor to speak in support of attorney general pruitt today. for the past six years scott has been a leader in the state of oklahoma. strongly committed to enforcing
the law and inherent to the constitution. he's a statesman. he is a dedicated public servant. as administrator of the epa i would fully expect scott to leave the agency to follow every environmental law and to partner with states and local authorities and tribes to do what's best for our present and for our future. as attorney general oklahoma he stood shoulder to shoulder with one half of the states to ensure the federal government works within the constitution and the law. c ãthe responsibilities of state governments first. the environment where chevron ã is important is critical that the leader of the agency with such wide latitude to extract possible economy also respect the importance of the federalist foundation in the pocketbooks of hard-working families. in previous congressional testimony, scott has emphasized the importance of laws like the clean air act. stressing that the intention was for states and the epa to
work together under a model of cooperative federalism that protects the environment while considering economic cost. as attorney general, scott pruitt has been a defender of the rule of law for oklahomans. in 2012 he sued british petroleum arguing that they knowingly doubled it through the collection of funds through a cleanup fund despite having insurance coverage for environmental cleanup. he did not hesitate to stand up for his constituents and for his state. mike is the former attorney general for the state of oklahoma and the former chairman of the oklahoma democratic party. he shook out in mid-december when scott was first announced. let me just read a short portion of his very long statement in support of scott pruitt. health. >> former democratic party chairman said, oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt is a good choice to head of the environmental protection agency. i am convinced scott will work to protect our natural habitats, reserves and resources. his vision for a proper
relationship between protection and prosperity makes him a superbly qualified to serve as our next epa administrator. scott is an active member and a deacon at his church. a congregation of almost 2000 people.he is incredibly strong in his faith and he strives to walk in integrity. scott is a serious baseball fan as well. if you run out of environmental or legal question state which i doubt you will, but if you run out what you estimate couple of questions about baseball strategy and spring training which starts in a few weeks. i have to tell you, scott is a friend. i prayed with scott, i have seen scott struggle with hard decisions that affect our state's future, i've seen him listen to people to try to learn all sides of an issue. and i have seen scott take difficult stands on matters of law. i think he will be an excellent administrator for the epa. i think you'll do very well today and getting a chance to bring the competence that he
will work hard for our nations president and the future. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you sorry mary much senator. you are welcome to stay? you cannot stay in that seat. so ãnow i would like to welcome attorney general pruitt to the senate environment and public works committee. welcome. i invite you to first introduce your family and then proceed with your statement. congratulations and welcome. >> good morning i am chairman brosseau. ranking member carper members of the committee, it is an honor and privilege to be before you today to become considered for the epa administrator. i want to say thank you to the senators for their opening
comments. ãhas been a mentor for many many years and has spent a lot of time with me through the process introducing me to many of you and i appreciate his guidance and his help. senator langford was a friend. well before he entered congress. he has already served oklahoma and his country with great distinction. it's a chairman you indicated that as far as my family i'm blessed to have them in attendance with me. my wife of 27 years is in attendance along with my children mckenna and cave. there's a little change going on in their life is looking mckenna is graduating this spring heading to the university of virginia law school. my son will be graduating high school heading to oklahoma university fell in his sister's footsteps the a sooner. so there is lots of change going on in their lives. lots of change going on my family's life. and lots of change going on the country. i think the people of this country are hungry for change. with change comes an opportunity for growth.
an opportunity to assess we can reprioritize. as a nation. and when i pondered leaving the epa, i get excited about the great work to be done and behalf of the nation and protecting the stewards and being a good steward of the national resources we have as a nation be what can be more important than protecting the nation's waters, improving the air and managing the land we have been blessed with as a nation. while protecting the health and welfare of our people. so, if confirmed i would leave the epa with the following principles in mind.first, we must reject the nation the false paradigm that if you are pro-energy, your anti-environment. and if you're proenvironment your anti-energy. i early reject the narrative. and this nation weakens your the economy, harvest resources god has blessed us with while also being good servants of the air, land and water by which we have been favored. it is not a either or proposition. next, we should celebrate the great progress we have made as a nation since the inception of
the epa and the laws that have been passed by the body.and recognize that we have much work to do. third, the rule of law matters. process matters. and ãthe law is that is not transient. regulations are supposed to make things regular. to fairly and enforce the rules and not pick winners and losers. regulators should not be for or against any sector of the economy. instead, the right leaders are to follow laws and set up the rules that those are planned, allocate resources versus operating in a state of uncertainty and digress. fourth, ãmatters because congress said so. because we need to achieve good outcomes as a nation for air and water quality, we need the partnership of the states to achieve that. it is our state regulators often times best understand the local need and the uniqueness of our environmental challenges. plus i was state regulators possess the resources and expertise to enforce the environmental laws.fifth, public participation is key.
we need to hear all voices as you make decisions on behalf of our country with respect to environmental laws.to file things personally. i seem to be a good listener. to listen and to lead.you can't do one without the other. listen to those ? [inaudible] >> listen to those career staff as i have done at the attorney general. and listen to the congress with respect to the states and listen to americans as we seek to carry out the duties under law. and lastly, i think the serviceability often times policymakers deal with contentious issues. i have as attorney general about the home as well. we deal with issues and there is passion on both sides of issues. but we should not succumb to personalizing matters. we should encourage open and civil discourse. once
such issue with civil discourse is absent in climate change, let me tell you signs tell us the climate is changing. and human activity in some manner impacts that change. the ability to measure with
precision the degree and extent
of that and what to do about it are subject to continuing debate and dialogue and well it should be. with these principles in mind i seek to answer your question today and i am honored to be here today to be considered for the position of the epa administrator. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you very much welcome to your family, thank you and congratulations again. attorney general pruitt your answer the committee questionnaire. the united states office of government ethics has stated that you are quote ãin compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest. throughout this hearing with the questions for the record i will committee members will have an opportunity to learn more about your commitment to public service in our nation. i would ask that throughout the hearing you please respond to the questions for the record. with that said i have to ask the following questions that we asked of all nominees on behalf
of the committee. do you agree if confirmed to appear before this committee or designated members of this committee and other appropriate committees of the congress and provide information subject to appropriate and necessary security protection with respect to your responsibilities? yes mr. chairman. >> do you agree to ensure the testimony, briefings, documents and electronic and other forms of information are provided to this committee and its staff and other appropriate committees in a timely manner? >> yes mr. chairman. >> do you know any matters which you may or may not have disclosed that might place you in any conflict of interest if you are confirmed? >> no chairman. >> thank you. >> just a couple of quick questions before we go to the back and forth. just if you could please describe your environmental philosophy. of what you do to protect our environment. >> mr. chairman, as i indicated in my opening statement, i believe the role of a regulator
ãand this may not sound too exciting but it is to make things regular. and i think one of the difficult challenges we see with individuals across the country is the inability to predict or know what is expected of them as part of their obligations and the environmental laws.and i really believe mr. chairman, if confirmed as epa administrator the public participation, cooperative federalism, law being the focus of how we do business at the epa is centered to restoring confidence and certainty and those that are regulated.merely the mission of the epa as i indicated in my opening statement, to protect our national resources, protecting water quality, improving the air, helping protect the health and welfare of our citizens is key to leadership of the epa. and enforcement is necessary, a vigorous enforcement ãi've done as attorney general in oklahoma. i've taken very constructive steps against those that have violated the law. but we have done so i think in
very decisive and meaningful way peer with that in mind ? >> i'm going to reserve the balance of my ãtime. there are things i see, cold war legacy pollution is a serious problem where chemical compounds are left deep in the soil from decades ago. often they are not the tools yet available to adequately address the pollution. if confirmed would you advocate increasingly epa's focus on innovative technological solutions to address these and other environmental problems? >> yes mr. chairman. and this past congress, as you indicated in your statement and as senator inhof recognized there are priorities this year. new authority, actually has been given to the epa administrator to order testing on certain chemicals. as i have spent time at some of the members of this committee. senator gillibrand is an example. -- so yes, mr. chairman, i believe there are priorities, they are the key to improving our environment across the
quality and with seek to focus and prioritize efforts.>> thank you. senator carper. >> mr. pruitt we don't often have this kind of disruption that we are seeing right now not ãthis is extraordinary. not unprecedented but extraordinary. you might ask why folks are so concerned hear it i would say why.in detroit michigan president-elect donald trump said these words, we are going to get rid of the epa in almost every form. then we have little tidbits left that we will take a tremendous amount out. that's when he said during the republican primary.and what did he say after the election? well, november 10, fox news with chris wallace he said, environmental protection, what they do is a disgrace. every week they come out with new regulations. chris wallace asked him who will protect the environment?
he said, we will be fine with the environment. we will be fine with the environment. well we are concerned we will not be fine with the environment. sometimes words do matter. and one of the concerns that i have is, you are the president's nominee in the epa administrator. all of the peasants in the campaign, do they just go away? and you just put something place that is actually defunded the environmental protection unit within your own agency. and yet you joined and a dozen or more lawsuits over the last six years ever since you have been attorney general and going after the epa. that is why you have a kind of concern that we are witnessing here today. not just on the outside but on this side as well. you just took an oath, raise your hand and taken oath and answered questions that the chairman has to be. one was a question dealing with your willingness to respond to reasonable questions that are asked of you.
one of the things i ask of you, i submitted a letter i think you received shortly after christmas. maybe december 28, close of business. and i asked a lot of questions. i asked if you try to respond by january 9. you did not respond to one of them by january 9. you certainly not even one. today's hearing had just asked my staff had responded to any of those questions in writing that i asked almost three weeks ago? to my knowledge, no response has yet been received. that's why we have a concern. that's why we have a concern. mercury. i'm sorry. i'm going to start off by talking about mercury. in 2011 epa required dirty coal power plants to clean up mercury and emissions. by issuing the mercury and air toxic standards rule. this will reduce mercury and neurotoxins contamination in our streams, oceans, that pollute our fish and harm our children's health. as attorney general i believe you been part of these 14 legal cases against the epa in at
least three of these cases against epa's roles to reduce mercury emissions from power plants. is that correct, yes, sir no? >> senator we have been involved in litigation ? >> is that correct, yes, sir no? >> yes we have been part of litigation is my understanding. >> one of them are still pending, is that correct, yes, sir no? >> i believe so. >> in the cases against the mercury will you question epa's determination that mercury emissions from power plants are harmful to health and should be regulated to be clear, have you ever supported the case against the epa that claims quote ã this is a quote, human exposure to mercury resulting from coal-fired power plants is exceedingly small. yes, sir no? asked senator that is not a yes, sir no answer. if i may ? >> fair enough.>> this position seems to question epa decision in 2000 which the agency determined that almost a decade of the study that mercury ãthis is a quote from
them, mercury emissions from five plants posed significant hazards to public health and must be reduced.". -- >> if i may ? >> just hold your fire. the legal position that you take on mercury also seems to call in question the 2003 testimony from the epa administrative error in radiation homestead under george w. bush. right where you are seeing today. this is what he said, epa is required to regulate mercury because epa determined mercury emissions from power plants close and otherwise unaddressed significant risk to health and the environment and because controls, options to reduce this risk are available. this statement on mercury risk seems contrary to the legal arguments you supported in the past. is that correct? yes, sir no? >> i agree on the position that mercury is something dangerous.
>> thank you very much. >> are you aware that the stated the epa is required to vacate mercury from power plants because of health rest, yes, sir no? >> i believe it should be read later. >> my time is about to expire. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. >> thank you senator. >> thank you mr. chairman. i don't think you had adequate time to answer some of the questions that were asked. his and he would like to add to elaborate? >> yes center and thank you. want to safe to senator carper's concern, the president-elect statement throughout the campaign, i believe there is a very important role of the epa. in fact you and i talked about that in your office. i believe they were in ãair quality issues that cross state lines and the jurisdiction of the apa's involvement in protecting air quality improving the nation's water is extremely important. the epa is an invaluable role. -- this body has passed many pieces of legislation since the
1970s to focus upon improving the air and the water quality. and we have much to celebrate. actually the six criteria pollutants under the program since 1980 are down 63 percent. we have made progress in the country but we have work to do and epa has a very valuable role in partnering with the state to carry out those steps to ensure improving the qualities in protecting the nation's waters. so senator carper i am hopeful that in response to concern about the role of the epa think it is a very valuable role. and it is something that they we should focus on and partner with the state with respect to mercury.litigation you referred to, there is no argument that we made the mistake ãthat it is not a hazardous air polluted. our argument focused upon the benefit analysis of the epa that they failed to do. and the epa tests the supreme court actually agreed. it was more about the process again at epa was supposed to go through and regularly mercury
to provide certainty to the marketplace, not with respect to whether it should be regulated or not under section 112. press thank you senate inhofe. >> thank you general. i am glad you brought up this thing about the clean air act. the amendments from 1990, i was one of the cosponsors. it has been incredibly successful. you mentioned that we have reduced those pollutants by 53 percent. or 63 percent. but what you did not add was that it was in spite of that we had 153 percent increase in our economic activity. that is a major thing. in my introduction i mentioned this thing that you did that no one can figure out how you did it. involved in 100 year dispute between not just the state of oklahoma and the city of oklahoma city and the choctaws in the chickasaw's, do you want to share with us how you did that? >> well you know they try for 100 years. you came in and did in less than 100 days.>> less than eight months into my
administration as attorney general we were sued in the state by the choctaw and chickasaw nation with respect to water in 17 counties in southeast oklahoma.many of you, if you know anything about water litigation, it generally takes decades to resolve water litigation. we were able to go from august 2011 through 2016 and negotiate and historic water rights agreement with those two nations to provide certainty to those that are regulated, to provide a voice to the tribes with respect to water allocation and water quality. and the state has maintained its position as an arbiter of how those permits are allocated as well. it was a partnership, the way things ought to work when litigation occurs. sitting across the table from individuals working together to try to solve the problem. and senator were able to do that in record time and i'm very proud of what we did as a state and as a chickasaw and choctaw nation together. >> that is good. i think also you had them all
in one room didn't you? >> yes sir. >> that works. you have been criticized and some people talking about your environmental record. i would like to be sure that people are aware of a number of people, i have some here that i will submit the record but a guy named ed ãthe vice president of scenic rivers and water quality. of the g rda, this is the person who has really been at the forefront of our program. he praises you saying i found that general pruitt has always done right by our rivers. he does everything constructive that he told me that he would do. the same thing come from the north carolina department of environmental quality. donald ãhe wrote pruitt is committed to clean air and clean water and to restrain epa to its original mission of enforcing the environmental laws written by congress. jd strong head of the water resources board, he said attorney general pruitt and he goes on crazy. evan snow, why it is you have become such a hero of the scenic river people?
>> well senators, you know oklahoma has endured many decades of dispute with respect to phosphorus levels in the scenic illinois river. in fact there has been litigation that has been a part of that dispute for some time. there was actually a memorandum of understanding that arkansas and oklahoma entered into around 2002, 2003. that memorandum expired during my time as attorney general. there were many in government at the time that that we should just wait on epa to come in and address the issue. and i chose a different path. she reached out to my democrat colleague mcdaniel, the attorney general of the state of arkansas. we were able to negotiate an agreement. -- we were able to negotiate an agreement that had phosphorus levels at that point -- for some of the both sides of the border. for the first time in history. i think he is the head of the rivers commission. he's been sent on the stage --
i have been working with mcdaniel to achieve that outcome. >> i know my time has expired but i would like to enter into the record this statement by the environmental ãthe deq. >> without objection senator whitehouse. >> thank you chairman.welcome to the committee mr. pruitt. as we discussed when you and i met the oceans off of our ocean state or warming. due to fossil fuel driven climate change. it is pressuring our fishery like lobster and winter flounder and making burning a lingering partner for our fishermen. ãmaking a living is harder for our fishermen. these fishermen don't have confidence that you care one bit for their well-being and not just the well-being of the fossil fuel industry. in a process that you could replicate in oklahoma high school science lab, excess carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions is turning our seas more acid. rhode island shall fishermen
and shellfish growers are concerned. my colleague senator merkley date they have already had oysters wiped out for businesses by acidified waters. i see nothing in your career that you would care at all about our rhode island shall fishermen. in rhode island we have bad hair days. and because of epa's work they are fewer and fewer. a bad air day is a day when people driving to work here on the radio that ozone from out-of-state smokestacks have made the air in rhode island dangerous and infinite and elderly and people with recent difficult should stay home on an otherwise beautiful day. because those smokestacks are out-of-state we need epa to protect us and i see nothing in your record that would give a mom taking her child to the hospital for an asthma attack any comfort that you would take the slightest interest in her.
and your passion for the evolving power down to states doesn't help us. because our state regulators can't do anything about any of those problems. they all come from out-of-state sources. in this respect, we are very like delaware.one of the things i would like to ask you about here is the connection between you and some of these fossil fuel companies. this is ãthese are some of the companies that have supported you. these are some of the political organizations that you have raised money for. you have raised money for them for pruitt for attorney general, weight. >> yes sir. i have a camping committee, yes. >> devon industry, exxon mobil, maxed out to that account. >> i am not aware senator but i'm sure they have given to that committee. >> oklahoma strong package is your leadership pack? >> it was. >> similarly they gave money, they maxed out to that
organization as well. >> i am not sure about that senator. >> okay they contributed to it. >> i am even unsure about that as well. i haven't looked at that. >> you closed your super pack. liberty 2.0. that took fossil fuel contributions as well, correct? >> that particular has been closed, yes. >> you helped raise money for the republican attorney general's association while you were a member of its executive committee. they received $530,000 from minus industries. paid $350,000 from murray energy, $160,000 from exxon mobil and $125,000 from devon energy. the company newsletter you transposed onto your letterhead and send as an oklahoma attorney general document. did you solicit in your role at the republican attorney general's association any of that funding week. >> i am unable to confirm if they gave those numbers senator. >> did you solicit funding from
them in your role as a republican attorney general? >> i attended fundraising events as any attorney general. >> and it did you solicit, did you ask them for money? >> as indicated i attended fundraising events.>> that is different attending a fundraiser is different. did you ask them for money?>> specifically certain entities, i don't know. >> those of the entities. exxon mobil, devon energy ? >> i did not ask them ãwhat were they? >> i have not asked them for money. >> and then we have, he said to the chairman that there is nothing that might place you in a conflict of interest that you have not disclosed.yet you founded the rule of law defense fund which is a dark money operation at the support the republican attorney general's association and you have not disclosed any of your solicitations for that entity nor have you disclosed what
money was raised pursuant to those solicitations. this is an organization that appears to have $1 million a year budget. so very substantial funds have been solicited. i believe you are chairman, will you disclose your role in soliciting money and in receiving money for the rule of law defense fund pursuant to your solicitation? >> senator i did not start or initiate the rule of law defense fund. i have been an officer of the organization. there is an executive staff for fundraisers actually carry out the functions of the organization. there are many attorney general that serve an upward. it is not a decision of one. it is a decision of those in power to make this decision. >> we haven't told us anything about that. you haven't told us who asked money ãyou haven't told us what they gave you asked them. it is a complete black hole into which at least $1 million
goes and based on your record of fundraising it appears that a great deal of your fundraising comes from these organizations who are in the energy sector and devote to fighting climate change. >> some of the things i've actually sued as well. ãexxon mobil. >> really? >> my time has expired. rules pursue this in further questioning. >> we are involved as indicated at think in your office we are involved in ãas a senator mentioned -- with respect to spills that have occurred and exxon mobil ãproduct that has nothing to do with the environment. >> we will reserve that for the second round. >> he was coming back to me so i was responding. >> thank you. >> there are two articles i will be introducing into the record. one from the wall street journal in september headlined hillary clinton raises more
than donald trump from oil industry. the second article that i will be introducing for the record his from political from -- and from brian rogers this is a partisan fishing expedition by liberal democrats who combined have taken more than $1.2 million for far left environmentalist groups dead set against any reforms to an out-of-control epa.senator o. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you attorney general pruitt for being here for your willingness to throw your hat in the ring to serve. i would like to put the ranking member when he says it's hard work. because it is. epa's hard work. one of the things he said really struck me and i believe the rule of law does matter. and i am heartened by your passion for that. the regulatory overreach of the epa has contributed to economic devastation in my state of west
virginia and my region. data from the mine safety and health administration shows that 60,000 coal jobs have been lost between 2011 in 2016. thousands are west virginia. we are in a desperate situation in our state right now because of this. whitfield herring and west virginia where our wb you economist said that the coal industry downturn had resulted in six of our southern west virginia counties being in a great depression. for the past eight years the epa has given no indication that it all but cares about the economic impact of the policies. even the congress has said very clearly in the clean air act and other environmental statutes we expect jobs and economic factors to be taken into account. that is part of the law.in october a federal court held that the epa had failed to evaluate the job impact epa clean air act has required by 320 1a.of that act. in order the epa to submit a schedule for conducting these economic as the required jobs
analysis. incredibly, the epa told the court it would take two years, this was just this past ãin the last several weeks. it would take two years just to come up with a plan on how to do the analysis which in my view, if that is part of the law that epa is supposed to be following my should already have the protocol set up to do an effective and accurate job analysis. so the court responded like this. this response is wholly inefficient, unacceptable and unnecessary and evidences the continued hostility on the part of the epa to the acceptance of the mission established by congress. so i would like to ask you to commit to me to ensure the epa will follow the law. it is charge of implementing and do this ongoing evaluation of job losses and economic shifts due to the requirements of the act as required by the law. >> senator as you indicated i believe it is important the
rule of law is adhered to because it inspires confidence in those that are regulated.i think often times those that are regulated don't know what is expected of them. a look at a statute, see the requirements and then those that are regulating act in a way that is not consistent with that framework. so they do not know what is expected of them and causes uncertainty. and i think paralysis to a certain degree. look like something we should take seriously. it has been at the heart of the litigation that we have initiated in the state. a lot of times these cases as we were talking only with senator carper. there is a policy or political candidate tension drawn to it. but really it is about process and making sure that the framework that this body, congress has established is respected and enforced. i appreciate your comments. >> looking for the balance we need to have, we need at least a correct analysis of what implication are of regulations. it is so important to ãand critically important in reinforcing environmental laws.
and to keep the air clean and get it cleaner and protect our waters.in january 2014 a storage tank in charleston west virginia was corrected and went into the river. it was right by the water flow of the major water source in my community. 300,000 people had to do without water for several weeks. it caused a lot of angst economically to small businesses. imagine a restaurant not being able to use water or you can you know watch her close. he couldn't do anything with the water. but also, and i share this concern about the health and the long-range implication of what's happened. several people, multiple individuals and freedom industries have pled guilty to environmental crimes in federal court which i'm very pleased about.so let's talk about tosca. because i was able to support a provision that would say that if you are storing in close proximity to drinking what he had to take that into consideration when you have potentially hazardous
chemicals. comic-con's on you to work with this to make sure that this reform bill is fully implemented and efficiently and fully? >> absolutely senator.in fact i would commend the work of this committee with the leadership in passing that update to that legislation. for the first time in history as you know, epa has the ability to order testing to address chemicals that are going to be entered into the stream of commerce. and that is a very big substantive change that exists. there are many deadlines.>> i would also add excuse me for a minute i'm running out of time. we actually expanded the epa's reach. so when you are asked if you know, if you're wanting to you know, get rid of the epa or it doesn't have a value, i voted to expand that reach at the epa to make sure that i have clean water and it still happens in a community around the country, what has happened in flint
problems with safe drinking water. let me ask you a preliminary question. do you believe there is a safe level of lead that could be taken into the human body particularly as a young person? >> that's not something i know about. i would be concerned about any level of lead going into the drinking water or human consumption, but i don't do scientific research on us. the clean water act provides federal guidance to the acceptable clean water and forced by the state's. what steps would you take to make sure our children are safe in if a tragedy would occur and where does the government need to strengthen its regulatory roles to make sure our children are safe? >> with flint michigan, it is an
example in response by the epa there should have been more done in the system and as you know in the clean water act if there's athere isan emergency situationa can enter in order to address those kind of concerns and there should be a fast response and a rapid response. i think with respect to water quality, infrastructure is important and the states play a vital role in that process and there needs to be more cooperation to -- >> you have several lawsuits against the epa involvement saying they should have the responsibility if confirmed. the only way we can get
enforcement is at the federal level. >> with air quality, water quality, issues that cross the state line, there's an there isn enforcement mechanism imported and to do so is confirmed by the epa administrator. >> thank you for being here today and accepting the nomination. it's a service and sacrifice not just for you with your family as well to step forward and serve the country so thank you for being willing to do that. for your testimony i do thank you and i would like to first of all let you know that nebraskans have been really effective guide to epa and many instances and i will give you examples of data.
nebraska's utilities are grappling with how they could ever comply with the reduction mandates. the city of omaha is struggling with the expensive mandates and drinking water affordability. nebraska farmers are waiting on the new technology products that are stuck in a broken regulatory process. our biofuel home builders and transportation stakeholders in the local county officials are concerned about the jurisdictional expansion to control the state's water resources. in the economic development and growth in the state as a result of the activist role, the epa
played for the last eight years that families are concerned about the futures of their livelihood. we all want clean air and clean water and that is a point i know every person here agrees on but with the epa tremendous impact on american's lives each and every day it's important that the agency be open, transparent and answerable to its actions. given these concerns, they will continue to be discussed today. what steps will let you take as the administrator to provide relief for american families that are faced with an onslaught of epa rules? >> with respect to the regulation through litigation where the groups initiate against the epa and assess
environmental policies and the process i think we've looked at those kind of issues and when we talk about open transparency there's there is a reason why te procedures act exists. it's intended to provide notice by those impacted by the rules to get the opportunity to offer comments and forum to regulators on the impact and the obligation of the regulator to take those into consideration and finalize the rules otherwise they act in a capricious way so it's important that process be here to give voice to all americans in balancing the objectives we have but also the economic harm that results and the supreme court has spoken about that as of late and i would seek such a way in that openness and transparency. >> a couple weeks ago we held a
crisis that we are seeing agricultural across the nation. you did express your commitment to honor the law and u.s. code the statute itself. for the record can you once again express your commitment to uphold the congressional intent? >> you said it well to offer the intent of the statute as very important. i commit to you to do so. those that are routinely offered by the administrator recently another was offered and it should be used judiciously. there is a reason congress put the statutory objectives of the market exchange that's been provided is important.
i would also ask that you tell us publicly what you told us on the volume levels mandated by congress. the amount of the fugitive methane is getting have been deeply underestimated and in 2011 the epa put out its best estimate based on the information that was being presented, and this is relevant because methane is a global warming gas more important than co2. they didn't like this because it presented a vision of natural gas being more damaging environmentally than the folks had previously understood.
you used your office as a direct extension as an oil company rather then in the interest of the public health of the people of oklahoma. do you acknowledge that you presented to position rather than the position developed by the people of oklahoma? >> with respect, i disagree. >> earlier, excuse me i'm asking the questions you said you listen to everyone in drafting this letter you took the oil companies position, and then without consulting the diverse views how can you say that represent the people of oklahoma when you simply only consulted in the oil company to push its own point of view for its private profit.
it is represented as an interest. >> what other environmental groups or other reps did you consult so you have to focus but before representing the for-profit oil companies using your official office and letterhead. can you provide the committee with information representing the letter because the information that is in the public realm shows they send you letters and you send it without questions. >> there are individuals involved in these issues and we will collect the information and present it to the chairman's direction.
that was protecting the states interest making sure that we made the voices of all on a very important industry tuesday at. >> is there anything that you would like to add in the areas of the questioning? >> the letter was sent to send on behalf of any one company, not particular to chesapeake or other companies in the state. it was to the industry. the state of oklahoma is the only one that is vibrant in the states there was concern expressed by the industry many folks in the industry about what
occurred in the methane rule and not to any one company. >> despite being an injunction against the rule, i am told kansas is in part and they've increased the animal feeding operations unlike many states kansas has a well-established state to permit system for the facilities as well as the delegated authority and the clean water act. rather than coordinating with the state agency, the epa has engaged in its own enforcement on the facilities often conflicting with the state
enforcement process. in these actions they claimed jurisdiction over the waterways and county road unconnected to the feedin feeding observation t situated in or near any body of water. in regards to their actions while the injunction is in pla place. >> they are expressed in different groups to the definition that offered and subject to the challenge that was consolidated as you indicated there's been a stay of enforcement against particular rule. they took up the matter of jurisdiction on that case so that adds complexity to this but i think the role of the epa is to provide clarity on what the
definition is with respect to the united states and as you know there's flexibility and discretion given in the cases that we don't do the decision. the best thing they can do going forward is to raise the clarity so the states and individuals know what is expected of them. >> i don't think i need to remind you in particular about the role the states play but i will take a moment to highlight something forgotten in the water quality is the department of agriculture and the conservation service which the land owners are assisted in water quality and water quantity and a very partnership oriented way and effort that is different than a tremendous reach in washington, d.c. as compared to the local efforts by land owners themselves.
let me move to my second question that is the native grassland in the state. the owners of those have thousands of acres of grass. for the purpose of the regeneration of the grass it used to be the method by which it was less so now than the settlement occurred in the country and as a result of that, that is ecologically desirable. there's times in which a city even one of our own is no longer in the attainment in the clean air act and i raised this issue asking if you are confirmed in the state of kansas and the local efforts to manage a way that is advantageous to the wildlife habitat at the same
time it's been appropriate times inappropriate amounts but preserved the air quality but again, not a heavy-handed approach that fits the circumstance. >> i look forward to working with you on that issue. >> i want to highlight a small town in kansas. a perfect name for the taliban in our state. a population of about 700 people and for several decades because of the high nitrates in the water levels the city has provided free bottled water to its citizens. my question now is they are allowing that and requiring the city to spend approximately $2.4 million raise the rat raisf the residents of the community by $80 a month while the
community is satisfied in the solution of the city providing an alternative to the expensive the new water treatment plant. i aske ask the question again an example of where the positio des as compared to the community-based decision that seems to prevail but would give an opportunity to confirm what i hope you would say to work with communities. many of us as members of the committee represents lots of communities in ways the population is insufficient to be able to pay for the cost of water or sewer treatment. we need financial resources to accomplish that but also common sense solutions. >> i look forward to working with you on that issue. there is a saying in the national standards and i think it's important for the epa administrator and those in washington to learn as i indicated in the opening
statement to listen to those with respect to the needs of the community and the state and collaborate with you and local officials to achieve that outcome. >> thank you, senator. >> i have a letter that i read that you sent to the committee last year and up to the general use as i am responsible for protecting the welfare of oklahoma citizens and i assume that is still correct. during the pursuit of that if you look at the record of the wall since you filed against the epa, you joined or filed 14 lawsuits against the epa challenging th clean air and cln water rules. i'm looking at specifically 14, and i would like to put those into the record of what you said to challenge the epa on air quality. let me go through some of those.
you filed the lawsuits challenging the epa standards in the national ambient air quality standards. you filed four lawsuits in the clean power plant. you challenged the standards for carbon dioxide emissions and new power plants and also to challenge the federal implementation plan for oklahoma under the regional rule. you are familiar with those. if you filed a lawsuit challenging something in new jersey we are very concerned with. are you aware that test 4,000 nationally, are you aware of that?
>> let me continue. i don't have much time. each of the lawsuits we analyze all of the challenge of attempts to reduce air pollution. in all of them except one joining with the companies they were also suing the epa. in addition to filing the lawsuits at least one that is mentioned by the two of my colleagues you used a substantial portion of the letters from the company and what was surprising to me when you've been asked about this in the public basically represented that is actually called representative government in my view of the world. with all of these letters like this one written on behalf of
the industries that are causing the pollution, it seems the fact pattern is clear you worked very hard on behalf of these industries that have their profits in the externalities or other pollution. i have a question specifically do you know how many kids in oklahoma have asthma? according to the data by the association morassociation more0 children in oklahoma, which is more than 10%, one in ten of all the kids in oklahoma have asthma. that's one of the highest rates in the united states of america. this is a crisis with similar data and i can tell you
firsthand the devastating impacts it has on children and families and parents but have to watch their children struggled tstruggle tobreathe and miss wog their kids to the hospital. one in ten kids having a disease and missing school is a significant problem so if you've been writing letters on behalf of the industries i want to ask you how many letters to you right to the epa about this crisis and if this is representative government how did you represent those children i want to do the actions you've taken up 111,000 children did you ever let any of them write letters on the letterhead and take you filed one lawsuit on behalf of those kids to reduce air pollution in your state and
help them to live a healthy life? >> with the cpu with respect to the cost of pollution you can't just bring a lawsuit if there isn't and in jury in the state of oklahoma in the cases. >> my time is expired. it is triggered and caused him d the fact that you have not brought suit to any level that you've represented, the industries are problematic when you are going to a position that is nationally supposed to be affecting this reality. >> i submit for the record an article for the world from scott
thompson. the headline is epa will be in good hands. the executive director of the oklahoma department of environmental quality. i would point out before 2004 and 2008 we will submit this for the record of the most important employers of the obama administration officials sued the epa with the lawsuits in the time when george w. bush was in the second terhis second term ia jackson, administrator gina mccarthy and plaintiffs filing suits against the epa and finally an editorial over the
past six years have shown difference in the department of environmental quality and this is written by the director so i cannot recall an instance where they did not allow us to pursue legal action when deemed necessary. finally, from the chairman of the democratic party come it is the mission of guaranteeing clean air and water he's never compromised the critical components of the healthy population with any actions he's taken. >> thank you mr. chairman and welcome, attorney general. i noticed you didn't have the opportunity in the time allotted for the senators question. would you care to finish the response with the role of the states have in the ability to participate in whether or not they have standing?
>> as i indicated when we spend time together, the enforcement role is different than other states in the department of environmental quality we have the department o department of e that ha has front-line enforcemt authority with the environmental law. the role that we play largely as a general counsel role and there are many cases we have in conjunction with the tab but mainly they enforce actions at the level many of those agencies have dozens of attorneys to bring those enforcement actions. i believe that it is a very important statute that the epa should enforce and when the states contribute but there
should be responsibility for the states. we have that issue in texas sometimes. so it wasn't questioning the authority of the epa to regulate under the pollution rule. it was more that they were trying to assess damages in certain states in excess of their allocated chair. so each of the cases i would ask you to remember i'm an advocate in oklahoma there is an interest that was indicated that has to be in play to say that the case is about anyone or company. >> thank you for your complete response. also, as the chair man of the protection agency i've had the opportunity to look at the basis
for the way they make the decisions known and the logic they use getting to the decisions we had a chance to talk about it. we have received comments from the small business administration office of advocacy and i would like to have it put into the record. this was a letter that was sent in october of 2014 requesting the epa withdraw and reevaluate the impact the rule would have on the american small business. would you if you are approved to become the next administrator of
the epa would you take a second look at whether or not they have a valid reason for having the waters of the u.s. rule considered again? >> dot response to the litigation they definitely have been needethe need to address te basis as you know in the united states it was equal navigable waters and we know from a couple pieces that led up to the most recent case bucklin ten water act is more navigable in fact but they had to be determined and assess. the most important thing is to provide certainty to make sure that the act helps the state level to know what the boundaries are and if they have jurisdiction to have regulations that are fair.
>> on behalf of the state of oklahoma, would it be fair to say that a number of those are based upon the environmental protection agency failing to follow its own rules? >> whether it is the power case, the court agreed that the epa exceeded its authority and hasn't acted in the framework established and performing in the role that it's supposed to perform. the process matters and the rule of law matters, those issues matter because the congress said so. congress gives authority to the epa that's an administrative agency and so it's important for that agency to act in the framework congress provided in doing its job and leaving the epa. if i do that effectively it will provide confidence to know what is expected of them.
>> thank you mr. chairman. this morning nasa declared the 2016 the hottest year in the 137-year-old on record that's been kept. donald trump called it a hoax by the chinese. do you agree global warming is a hoax? so donald trump is wrong? that's important for the president to hear. you have made a career working on behalf of the fossil fuel industry for regulations designed to protect public health and the environment. you have sued the epa 19 times to stop clean air and water protections. eight of the cases are still ongoing including the litigation
that challenges critical rules to reduce the levels of hazardous smog and carbon pollution. as the epa administrator you would be in the position to serve as plaintiff, defendant, judge and jury on these ongoing lawsuits and that would be wrong. in the agreement, you said you would not participate in any manner that is ongoing within one year. but isn't it correct these lawsuits may continue for much longer than one year? >> in the one-year time period it is to address the entities that i served him as the chairmanship in that capacity so that seminary, the windows ministry, those are covered entities so if there is a matter that arises in a one-year period, there's a case in the entities the refusal would be in order but that is the focus.
>> would you agree to wreak use your self. not just the one year of the entirety of the time you are the administrator will you commit to doing that? >> i think it's important to note that again it's for those covered entities that were highlighted. it would give counsel at the plate to determine the steps thatobe taken to avoid. >> are you saying that he wouldn't wreak use your soul from the actual matters that you are suing the epa on right now as the attorney general for the time that you are the head of the epa? would you recuse yourself quit
>> it would require the council and the particular matter in the party then the refusal would be in order and i would follow the guidance and counsel. >> are these the lines of the record from oklahoma suing the epa on all of these matters but if you do not agree to wreak use your self you become acquainted dependent on the cases that you are bringing right now as the attorney general of oklahoma against the epa not just the fossil fuel industry in oklahoma, so you are not committing and that is a big mistake to wreak use your self from those cases. moreover, there is regulations that could overturn smog protections, carbon pollution
protections that are right now on the books that you are suing as the attorney general to overturn. would you commit to not regulating any of the areas that right now you are suing the epa. >> we talked about this in your office and enjoyed the conversation in addition to this area that we talked about. i have every willingness as directed by the epa council as directed to do so i will to wreak use those cases. there is a difference as you know between pending litigation and specific parties with the above rulemaking that is in the process. >> what the american people are expecting is the epa doesn't turn into every polluters allied. the only way to do that is to
reduce your salt from the cases that you've brought because most of them have the smog regulations set to create the appearance of independence at this critical, otherwise honestly people are going to think that it is not just guiding the henhouse but destroying the henhouse because you haven't distanced yourself from the actual litigation that you have initiated on the key issues that you are now going to have responsibility for protecting in terms of the public health of the entire country. >> i can say to you i would wreak use the council. >> and i'm saying to you you should start by saying i'm going to wreak use myself from anything i have initiated as the attorney general in oklahoma that questions the clean air,
clean water, climate change, mercury protections which are right now on the books the epa is honored to protect and if you don't do that then we are going to have a fundamental conflict of interest that is presented by your presence as the administrator of the epa. it's getting down to the matter as simple as that. >> will you follow the advice of the epa ethics council? regarding the conflict of interest i noticed a letter to the committee on january fourth and then submitting this is the office of government ethics we believe this nominee is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and then there was a letter yesterday from thee
director of government ethics responding to a letter from senator carper and other democrats regarding the attorney general and conflicts of interest and they say if the office has transmitted a certified financial disclosure report and ethics agreement to the senate, which they have, it means the office of government ethics is satisfied that all conflicts of interest have been identified and resolved. >> thank you attorney general for appearing in front of us today. i've enjoyed the conversation both one-on-one and in the setting. i would like to read this. as you know iowa is home to 43 ethanol refineries, we are the largest producer west or east of the missouri river.
president-elect trump reiterated his support for biofuels while he was campaigning across iowa and the midwest into those areas of the country overwhelmingly supported his candidacy and led to his victory. thank you for stating once again that you would honor his commitment by carrying out as intended by congress. policy certainty is key for economic growth and this is something we discussed in my office. as a result of the volume targets in 2014, 2015 and 2016, second generation investment decreased and proposed projects moved overseas. fortunately, the epa changed its course and released the targets. the level prescribed by congress
if confirmed as administrator what would you do to continue to provide certainty so the investment can continue to happen at home and in the united states? >> the importance that has occurred in the reliance upon the wall that was passed and updated in 2007, the latitude discretion that have been given to the administrator with respect to the statutory target should be judiciously used. it should be something that they seek to comply with and adhere to so i think obviously those are in order. we have less consumption today, more vehicles and they've changed since 2005 despite that, they shouldn't use that to undermine or put into question the commitment made by the body in the standard statute.
i want to touch on an issue that you mentioned in the testimony which is the level of fear and distrust many folks have. when i'm in iowa, i goes to town halls all across the state and i just want to hear what is going on in their community and what my ear without fail if folks are frustrated with the epa and the mentality. it tells me they epa is out to get them rather than work with them and there is a lack of trust between my constituents and to epa. if we take a look specifically, they feel they ignored their comments and concerns, threw them under the rug and moved
forward. we know they relied on the e-mails and social media to prop up the message then to insinuate anyone that had reasonable concerns about the rule are somehow in favor of dirty water which is absolutely ridiculous. this culture that was created under the obama administration has no place. so, what do you plan to do in your first day as the administrator to improve the relationship? >> as i indicated in my statement the paradigm that we live in today if you're anti-environment where pro- energy and i think it is a false narrative. we can do better than that. the country has shown for decades we can grow the economy and be a good steward of the land, air and water and we need
to get back to that. cooperative federalism is at the heart of the statutes passed by this body and the reason for that is the states many times that o have the resources, expertise and understanding it would create a problem and that is not what i'm advocating and i think that in the marketplace we need a partnership between the epa will have better water quality as a result. >> thank you mr. chair. >> i want to clarify your response to the senators on the congressional intent.
we are a great producer and need to know where you stand. argued the attorneargue the attd with big oil. it was a flawed program. it's the states by repeating nice-sounding but ultimately a hollow mantra that if confirmed he would enforce the law as you and i are quite a well aware of it dodges the issue because under the law, there is
considerable discussion on the obligation in a manner that you would argue is contrary to the congressional intent but with the explosive letter of the statute so you could still be compliant with congress with the law but be working against it and your answers today haven't clarified that. my question to you which specific actions have been taken since 2007 while administering what you are not consistent with congressional intent? >> and they routinely miss the targets. >> let me ask you this, yes or no do you believe congress
intended to increase the amount of renewable fuel blended in a transportation fuel supply yes or no plaque's >> do you believe congress intended to be a stable policy that drives private investment in the renewable energy industry? >> yes. >> would you commit to any and all proposaladultproposals to tn under the program from the refiners to blenders? >> the epa is involved in a period on that issue and i think that would be many aspects to the program to the trading program and the monitoring of god in the system they need to be better administered by the epa. these are the administration issues and they've created an uncertainty.
it's going to be in force with the desires of congress. >> if you were to do that, you would have to answer yes to cost to the program is one of those ways you can actually undermine the standards as intended by congress. here in front of congress and meetings with senators you are given rights when it comes to open all sorts of back doors for you to oppose the renewable fuel standards and tha that is troublesome because all across the midwest for those of us that fought to strengthen the security by lessening the dangerous dependence on foreign
oil, it is an incredible concern about the future in the biofuels under the epa and i'm also concerned about what you are going to do in terms of protecting the environment. and your answer about what the role of the epa is, one of the first questions you got to spend five minutes talking before you said protect the environment. i don't intend to allow us to do that which is why it is so critical not just for their jobs
in illinois dot the national security when it comes to where we are going to get our energy supply. >> thing you, senator. >> is to enforce and administer the program to carry out the objectives of the statute. the targets that have been put in the statute by this body need to be respected. it needs to be judiciously used to address the concerns we talked about so i don't want you to have any concern about the intent, objective or the will of the mandate. >> i would like to suck it from the american farm bureau federation of strongly suppressed the nomination of scott pruett.
second is for the attorney general of the state of arkansas from a former democrat attorney general has this to say about the attorney general's work on the phosphorus levels in the watershed he said recent press accounts regarding peac regardis unfairly characterized the work that was done by general pruitt and his team. he was a staunch defender of the policy into the appropriate tools to protect the environment in the states i saw firsthand how he was able to bridge the political divide and manage multiple agency agenda is to reach an outcome heralded by a most credible observers as both positive and historical.
>> to manage the delegated discharge in the system. >> the rulemaking actions since the epa to review and it's far more restrictive. additional data collection as required. they have a new opportunity to correct federalism and instead restore the cooperative federalism as it is intended. this dates of the expertise and knowledge necessary to administer environmental programs. the epa has the opportunity to play a significant role in the federalism. can you explain how you plan to change the epa stated dynamic?
the ranking member of the senate is the epa attitude is they are with you unless you come up with a finding that is contrary and then we are going to do it our way. >> the rule of law and making sure that the authority granted to states under state implementation plans and obligation under clean water provisions is respected. but also, the epa needs to provide more assistance to states anthestates and work in p to be proactive. those that we have across the country need to be seen as partners and not adversaries is a restoring ththe restoring thed a relationship and seeking to do so is very important.
epa acted as a political bom administration not based on sound science but on political ideology. the private sector and congress had trouble getting the epa to show the signs that help develop the rules. only under the leadership can we expect the epa to be transparent in how the rules are being developed and the science behind them. and you continued on this and i think it is so important as the administrator we cannot fac plee all of the decisions on the rule of law but only on the administrators or even your own political ideology. ..
fashion. >> yes says i indicated in my opening statement statement, listening is an important role of leadership and listening to those in congress i have already met which many of us view n those issues to your state and if confirmed will be very active i was the congressmen in the district. >> i appreciate you doing a very good job. on the other hand the idea that you are soft or that the agreement was reached will probably be have one of
the most restricted watersheds. >> in that process with the scientific study of what that level should be it was determined and that is the first time in history. >> kindest and. >> that you come up with say deal that is too soft or maybe this one is too harsh but do appreciate that process with the former attorney general this is gang going on in for decades >>.
>> i have fiber six additional questions coming in. >> i have the consent for unanimous request to submit for the of record the legal brief against the mercury rule which is supported or stated in the brief coal-fired electric generated utilities also unanimous consent for the article that quotes from the "new york times" that has these words as advocated with the energy industry and other polluters at the expense of people think it
is only fair to go who has somebody with witnesses. >> as an attorney general that we his attorneys general have several duties would you agree with that but. >>. >> have you never exercised your independent capacity as attorney general to bring legal action. >> that is more specifics of what you are referring to in response to your question.
>> the of litigation of consultation with agencies. >> so you have? >> i don't know. >> you don't know blacks to have been attorney-general almost seven years. >> you have 40 lawsuits in your independent capacity of the oklahoma six of those cases you have lost i fear that you are a lover of baseball but what is your batting average greg. >> 300. >> my calculation is 142. would you agreed at as the attorney who has irresponsibility of the attorney-general that we make decisions based on what
is not the actual conflict but the appearance of conflict greg. >> that is important. >> so on the issue if you would be recused to be nominated that you said to lead recuse yourself but do you have uh discretion quick estimate that rules of professional conduct. >> do you have the discretion to recuse yourself quick. >> i have an obligation as they indicated earlier. >> independent of any direction? >> i do believe it is important to maintain do you have the discretion. >> there is the discretion
>> i will review as each industry raspy for me. >> reviewing and upholding or two different things. >> to have the review process is to the dead of night without going to that process. and would not want to presume the outcome. day so as a party? >> can you name those instances with that independent capacity against corporate entities for violating state or federal pollution laws? >> name them. >> the first is the farm in
the cleanup estimate defile a lawsuit in that case? >> beat it name of the entity quick. >> the eight farm. >> any of the cases that you filed of lawsuits against a corporate entity for federal pollution laws question meg that was in in conjunction with the epa with capacity. or as an extension for this state level. >> diane standout role as a former attorney general that you are representing your client i masking is your independent capacity. >> i was a justice senators time is expired. >> a letter by j.d. strong
lead the oklahoma apartment of a wildlife conservation with the submission recently to the ranking member makes reference to the former employee and is currently serving as the oklahoma chapter from someone who is a long dress state employee but he talks about the efforts by the attorney-general and has never asked me to compromise regulatory efforts to benefit industry. on the contrary to have staff support at the highest level with more stringent
environmental protection a strong ally to defend our ability for the great progress to protect oklahomas and firemen. >> asking for unanimous consent on behalf of the senator white house with the claim of the topline points with the fraud cases that were brought by the predecessor the case was filed and left dormant also fighting against the participation of whistleblowers referenced to further action. >> mr. chairman good to see you again thank you for your willingness to serve the
team effort want to thank them as well. with your written statement went to emphasize. with up pristine environment one but the emphasis to do both with the responses it is very important i appreciate the focus epa needs the serious course correction there is so light of the anchor for or fear and i believe you are the right person to provide that course correction in do something to read gain the trust of the american people that has spent lost a lot of places in america because of
the overreach. there is discussion about cooperative federalism is that your term or did you come up with that? and was that directed by congress? >> so with the clean air act to the clean water act what entity was given the primary responsibility over clean air or clean water in the united states quick. >> there is called the state implementation plan that they refused to gather. >> is that in villi as a primary responsibility under the clean air act? who directed that? >> congress if. >> so that just isn't
>> if you think of the relationship of the epa and states to carry on as federal dictates from washington d.c. ready e authority or jurisdiction granted under statutes what is not expected spawns litigation that is referenced here today. it does matter the way it has been directed in have been unable to do so the number of years. >> so the will of congress. >> the resources and knowledge of the environmental awareness. >> so i am a former attorney general myself suing the epa and my colleagues on the
other side of the aisle i think they tried to a kuwait the epa not caring for oklahoma children. >> without question a have a couple sitting behind me 14 lawsuits what is the primary focus quick. >> i care very much about the environment to restore the relationship as the role of the state's. there is this the idea that those who don't care about the water we drink or the air that reprieve to be very committed to that we will take enforcement action against them. >> allied us my colleagues
spend some time to vilify the oil and gas industry according to the american petroleum is to to to what those of local color is it is at work in the oil and gas industry or the related service sectors are in day bad actors or polluters? talk about the good people in your written statement and are you representing them bringing these types of actions? are they evil? >> no sir. they want to comply with the law they care about the air that they breed in the water that they drink they want to make sure they partner with the state industries to be sure that it occurs. >> rna part of that industry quick spirit 25% is a state concern we have oversight
over these issues the corporation commission and others with the air we breathe in the water that we drink it is clear who. >> thank you for willing to serve the administration also to talk about the constituents of the very real challenges. millions of people and parents who lost children who drowned one of the low water coming into their home the end devastation is unparalleled something we have never seen before and we are looking to you we
know with global climate change is very different and he told the folks that it has been classified so do you believe that sea levels are rising? >> i believe the epa has an obligation to this issue so when it is important to do both. >> you do realize they are rising that is why they were so high a? so i need you to be vigilant because you have the purview to do that. >> i appreciate your passion
on this issue. >> one issues talked-about about asthma rates eyelet to your record most of your lawsuits were related to businesses specifically what was important for your state was to enforce our far between the head of the epa i want to talk about mercury if you believe that is the threat to public health then reduce mercury air pollution from the power plants so what do think should be done to address of pollution.
>> it is a cancerous - - hazardous pollutant it should do so within the framework established that the supreme court said they did not follow the cost benefit obligations that is they simply did not engage. so that goes back to the process to matter to be committed to the rule of law to make sure that the rules could be upheld and court. >> i understand there is a cost the when you talk about lives in children eire have been to the emergency room with a child who cannot breed is -- a breed. it is horrible. is a huge problem.
so the cost is far higher than the cost of the polluter to clean up the air. any shift feel that is if your children aren't in the emergency room. >> either certain instances of that criteria of pollutants because human health is the focus. >> talk about that. and with the groundwater that is polluted with the of largest site they keep the fish then they get sick the contaminants are meal him pervasiveness and destroying lives.
if you have contaminants he cannot sell your house or the industries that are relying on tourism. they rely on a chemical that need to be tested what many scientists have said it is smack in has spent granted by this authority. >> i'd like to submit for the record raised by senator harris for the response to the question this for violating state and federal
was initiated. >> without objection. >> that they are not open to the finding of science especially open to climate change is not so. called the attention to the alliance for the stewardship of creation with policy experts and religious leaders and other citizens urging the attorney general confirmation. a ph.d. of climatology and geography it in the university of the lull -- delaware that he has demonstrated the understanding of the open mindedness toward scientific
insights crucial to the formulation and a petition of environmental regulation. to say the of following some are determined to painting as a science or climate change denier. he is a solid common sense attorney general that will be submitted for the of record. senator? >> that is reassuring to the american people. so to list political contributions so my dear
525,000 and presumably based on that argument in to be nominated for the position so mr. attorney general i enjoyed your exchange about the chesapeake bay. hugh actually applied that program in the way the epa works. >> i absolutely applied by the state and with the illinois river? so the ever that they engaged with something that day came and providing
assistance whiff regard to that agreement. >> so with the waters of the united states rules where those regulations go wrong in your respect? >> in the cases the supreme court he issued a stay like the clean power plant because of the merits it did not reflect the 30 of congress to regulate co2 with respect to raise significant finding to public health and welfare. and with those facilities.
>> i have not dealt into this as an attorney with that environmental quality told me emphatically it would put this out of business because we would not have had an alternative to the coal that we use. i hope we could continue to make progress on this issue. pdf key where is the tree farm system but the epa lacks the program called the
of forest stewardship council. so with this certification program excludes 90% of the of lumber grown in the united states of america. we had a lot of activity of bull's-eye of the aisle to challenge this and i object to this so-called interim recommendation by the epa in this regard. ended his under review. but with that imposed on an entire industry?
late. but nominee price was the nominee nodded great idea we received a great deal of commons that takes projections seriously. one but he is a nomination designed to protect the fossil fuel industry and not the environment. into state over andover climate change is that the case? >> so let me ask you this
for 97% of scientists who have written articles for peer review journals it is caused by human activity with those devastating problems in our country and around the world is that caused by carbon emissions quick. >> as i indicated in the was contribute to that in some manner. >> of those that wrote articles in the peer review journals that human one activity is a fundamental reason for climate change do you disagree? >> with precision is subject
to more debate if that activity contributes to that. >> if you are not certain the scientists are telling us if we do not get our act together to transform the energy system away from fossil fuels there is a question of supplanted we're leaving our children and grandchildren? if you are applying for a job as the administrator of the epa you are telling me there needs to be more debate:this issue? >> as i have indicated the climate is changing. >> fish and wildfire service told a why you think. the job of the administrator is to carry out that statute
. in response to this issue. >> but i am asking you a personal opinion. >> it is a material. >> gil will be head of the agency to protect the environment interpersonal feelings if climate changes caused by human activity and card in the mission is is a material. >> i acknowledge human activity impacts. >> it doesn't not tell us that the impacts of ford's climate change we have to transform the energy system to believe we have to transform the energy system? >> there is an important role to regulate that remission. >> to deliver the scientific community to make sure the planet is healthy for children and grandchildren
quick. >> there is a rule regulating co2. >> all of us know it has objected to a record-breaking number of earthquakes scientist in oklahoma say those have heightened risks in the cause is racking it with any opinion taking against of companies? >> i am very concerned about the connection. >> therefore you must have taken action.
>> the corporation commission with the jurisdiction and they have acted on that. >> you have statements expressing your deep concern >> they are seeing a record-breaking number for god is the u.s. stood up to say you'll do everything that you can cut has a result of tracking quick. >> he will acknowledge that you are concerned? if that is the administrator authority epa that is the administrator that you will be will not get my vote. >> if we show the op-ed piece written by two outstanding scientists call
the myth of the climate change 97%. >> without objection. >> i want to talk about the concerns of overregulation. and the jobs and go with them. >> their mobile is that the economic thibet the -- disadvantage. >> with an op-ed on cnn saying that he is ready to turnaround the epa far the cannot think of anyone more
suited for as he has acknowledged human impact on what the government should ensure not do and then submitting for the i.r.a. record and a red tape making america sec -- sec with long-term unemployment with illnesses sampras richard f. -- with the deaths and family well-being with the employee rate is so well-established risk factor for the mortality rates and additionally influencing the of mental disorders alcoholism and suicide and spousal abuse.
and those that cut into employment that contributes to the deterioration. >>. >> we have seen similar issues with drug oberth -- drug abuse that occurs with the presentation we will go to a second round we will take a one-hour break then come back to resume second round of questioning of 1:45 p.m.. the committee is an resources, negative recess. [inaudible conversations]