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tv   EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Testifies at Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  January 26, 2017 10:33pm-1:18am EST

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he did this mussolini thing with his arms and then just said that i didn't give that order. sunday night on q-and-a former cia analys analyst john nixon ts about his book debriefing the president, the interrogation of saddam hussein. >> the use of power in the way political power is exercised in the political power game and i think he saw that when you are playing at his level when you win, you win big but when you lose, you also lose big. >> at the senate confirmation hearing the epa administrator nominee scott privette answered
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questions about climate change and lawsuits filed in his current position as oklahoma attorney general. the senate environment public works committee is chaired by wyoming senator john barrasso. >> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> good morning. i call this hearing to order. i welcome the audience. this is a formal senate hearing and we will maintain decorum by members in the audience the person causing the disruption will be escorted by the capitol police. since this is the first hearing of the session i'd like to welcome the committee. and also welcome senator tom carper and his role as the ranking member of the committee
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you are here even if you have a scratchy throat. you haven't missed a day. thanks for being here. i look forward to working with you. with regards to procedure we will follow the earlybird of rule and members that are here at the start will be placed in the line and it will be added in the order they arrived with respect to today's hearings we will be able to abide b by the five-minute rule that includes not just questions that the nominees answer so i could ask the leave enough time to answer the question. today we will have many rounds of questions as are necessary so the questions are answered. today's hearing is to consider the nomination of oklahoma scott
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pruitt of the environmental protection agency. he's been a distinguished public servant as well and we don't hear from his fellow oklahomans today. he served eight years in the senate before being elected attorney general in novembe november 2010 where he still serves. there are numerous statements from his peers that stand as a testament to his strong qualifications to run the agency. 24 state attorneys general with ranking member carper and me stating attorneys general we understand the need to work collaboratively to address threats across state lines as well as the importance of the federal counterpart in the epa administrator that possess the knowledge, experience and principles to work to address issues affecting the environment. we believe no one exemplifies the quality is more than scott pruett. attorney general pruitt has
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taken on those whe when did this cause. the award-winning investigative reporter in the newspaper praised pruitt for his ability to take on the industry. the paper highlighted the work to hold a large oil company accountable and he said mr. pruett demonstrated he will take on the industry when they overstep when he sues oil companies such as bp that the double dipped by collecting reimbursement in the environmental costs. this is why i believe the president nominated to be attorney general to serve as the environmental protection agency. the epa under the leadership of the qualified responsible administrator 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. colleagues on both sides of the aisle say the attorney general pruitt has the right experience for the position.
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attorney general pruitt understands the need to protect the environment while allowing the economy to grow. the agency needs a leader that will follow the law created by the committee. during the last eight years, the administrators created a broad regulation that have undermined the american people's faith in the agency. these regulations have done damage to the livelihoods of the nations hardest working citizens. the regulatory zeal of the last eight years violated a fundamental principle of the stewardship which is do no harm. the failed leadership has contributed to the worst government created disasters in decades. the spill and the flint michigan water crisis. those disasters hurt people many from the communities who could least afford it. so i've discussed with the attorney general my home state as an energy producing state and we have abundant supplies to the natural gas, crude oil and
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uranium. these industries provide thousands of good paying jobs to the communities. we are also one of the most beautiful states in the nation. home to the yellowstone lakes and waterways and the population is diverse and abundant and we have thriving populations. people travel from around the world to come to wyoming because the natural resources are spectacular. wyoming has managed to strike the balance between the environment and economy, and it shows. for eight years wyoming has suffered under an epa that doesn't believe in striking the balance as a crushed energy jobs the state revenue fell pays for the state programs in this includes paying for the vital environmental programs. the wholesale change is needed. any administrator in the agency needs to protect the environment in a responsible way that doesn't ignore the good work
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states due to protect the air, land and water as will as their economies. this time i would like to ask the ranking member for an opening statement. >> mr. chairman, thank you for bringing us here today and for your kind words as well. i want to begin by welcoming the nominee to a very important hearing. it's important i went for a long run through the state park in the northern part of delaware and reached just as the sky was turning a brilliant blue and wildlife is all around. in a word, it was perfect. later that morning my wife and i went to church in saying which of these words for the beauty of the earth, for the love over and
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around us wise, of old to be we raise this praise. it filled my heart with emotion then and does so again this morning. donald trump will place his hand on a bible and take an oath to defend the country's constitution. that reminds us repeatedly to love our neighbors and answers the question who is my neighbor. also found our scores of admonitions about another obligation to those of us that live on this earth are expected to meet. we deserve as stewards of this planet. we have an obligation to do so. many of my colleagues in the senatsenate agreed and so do mot americans. we need to be convinced not just with your words but with your deeds much of the records
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suggest otherwise and today and in the days following we need to find out where the truth lies. the agency is hard work created by president richard nixon in a bipartisan congress with implementing the nation's most important clean air and clean water chemical. the epa is required to use sound science to protect the environment and public health. by and large they've done this for decades while the economy has continued to grow. many in this room today may not remember a time before the epa and states it to work individually to protect citizens in which they lived. at the time before ththe time br act was signed into law. the time of the business is operating in the u.s. were faced with a near you local laws affecting our health and environment. they seem unfathomable but now they are on fire and plumes in
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the united states of america. today we have the luxury of forgetting these circumstances thanks to the efforts of the environmental protection agency, its employees partnership with agencies and companies across america. the epa and partners in the country have been so successful that it's easy for some of us to forget it agency is so critical. for some it is easy to presume that not much more for the agency to do and that couldn't be further from the truth. environmental threats are real. it is so critical and what is at stake. delaware has made a great stride but our work only goes so far. like many states on the east coast is known as america's tailpipe.
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90% comes from outside from hundreds of miles away in places like kentucky, ohio, indiana and across the midwest. if i eliminated the resource in order to frame vehicle off the road, delaware would still have double doses of air pollution and should others be forced to live with the consequences of the decision made by polluters hundreds of thousands of miles away that gained i don't think so. the epa recently implemented something called the good neighbor rule to make sure. every citizen in the country has a right to breathe clean air whether they are in a downward or upward stream that's why we have the epa. i remember fishing with my dad as a boy. my mom and sister ate them as
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well and today is past time comes with a warning label along with others in all 50 states they are subject to the advisories cautioning citizens against the mercury found in them and we've known for decades most come from air pollution from the dirtiest plants and waterways we also know that it is a powerful toxin that accumulates in the human body over time threatening the environment and generation for generations to come. the epa issued public health protections to clean up the pollution from the dirtiest coal plants allowing thousands of others to once again eat from the rivers, lakes and streams without concern of poisoning. that's why we have the epa. too often they try to save money in the protections and it's proven often times the dollars
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are saved with unnecessary damage later as we've seen in the city of flint michigan with the help of the most vulnerable in the young among us. it is high levels of lead at that face ththatface the uncertd that's why we have the epa. you may not know but it's the highest point in delaware is a bridge. back home the reality is changing and is up for debate. families and business owners have the reality every single day and tackling that is a matter of survival. take a ride with me sometime some 30 miles south heading east and you'll see what i mean. there'there is a time not long o
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today it is underwater. you will see part of the bumper sticking out of the water at 1:00 and recently someone showed me a photograph taken in 1947, the year i was born. it was on dry land 500 feet west of the water's edge, 500 feet west. but the little state alone. every state must do its fair share. that's why we have the epa. that's why we have the epa. some of my colleagues described
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me to serve deference as the members of the leadership teams. supporting the republicans, democrats, nominees and subsequently every epa administrator demonstrated clearly they would connect to furthering the overall mission of protecting the environment. i'm also committed to a full and fair confirmation process with respect to the nomination to president elect is offered to him having said that i will share with my colleagues today at too much of the environmental views of the role of the epa are troubling and in some cases deeply troubling. the epa administrator with whom i served seven years in the states recently said she can't recall ever having seen an appointment someone so disdainful asides but the agency
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does. it's hard to imagine a more damning statement in a position of trust that you have been nominated. today is the opportunity to show its wrong. coming to the hearing today i fear that she's gotten it right. thank you. >> thank you very much, senator carper. in a few moments i would like to turn to the senato center and hd langford regarding the nominees distinguished career. before i do that i want to say a few words about the distinguished career as a chairman of the environmental public works committee. first i want to thank my friend for his leadership at the committee and dedication to protecting the environment and rebuilding the infrastructure of strengthening the economy, evident through his time as chairman he worked across party lines to get things done during the 114th congress under the leadership the committee held 67
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hearings and 84 field hearings, 32 bills were signed into law and the chairman under a soft the first long-term highway bill in a decade. this will improve the roads, bridges, transit systems and transportation networks. he also worked on a bipartisan basis with barbara boxer to pass the badly needed resources in the legislation. it prioritizes the waterway construction projects and flood control projects to protect millions of people. for the first time in 40 years the toxic substance act was modernized under the chairman. this enacts a regulatory program that will improve public confidence and safety chemicals promote innovation to provide manufacturing with certainty regarding regulation. the chairman worked to keep the administration accountable and to ensure that there was oversight over reaching the regulations concerning the clean power plant, the stream buffer
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rule and many more so i'm glad senator inhofe will remain on the committee invite will work closely with them to bolster the nation's economy. thank you for your hard work and dedication and leadership. you are now recognized to introduce and talk about the attorney general pruitt. >> thank you very much. i am looking forward to working in a senior position on the committee to get things done. also senator carper thank you for letting me join with this introducing not just the attorney general, but my good friend and to offer support for the nomination to be the next administrator of the environmental protection agency. though neither of us were voted
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we got here as quick as we could and both ended up in tulsa city is also a neighbor. attorney general, you will be glad to know he was born in kentucky he showed what he was made out of and ended up a great baseball player. then he came to oklahoma at the university .-full-stop and get all kinds of things into constitutional law and in 1990 h. general pruitt was elected to the senate where he served for six years and quickly became a leader. success followed him throughout his practice in the state senate to become the co-owner and manager of oklahoma city's minor-league baseball team and something in addition to what we are aware of through the course
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of his career a champion of state and individual rights against the federal overreach to earn a reputation. it's by the laws passed in congress nothing more and nothing less. it's also the states that know what it means to protect the environment and as the attorney general thomas goff was instrumental and this is a big deal we actually have had an ongoing litigation for 100 years in the state of oklahoma, the city is the chickasaw nation over water rights.
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they don't know that we have the some ideals of the freshwater shoreline -- >> i'v >> i would ask the senators are pleased to spend his remarks. remarks. >> thank you, senator. >> in 2012 they partnered with three other states com states, , colorado and kansas to bring together state officials
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conservation groups and energy industries and private landowners to address the challenges facing what might become an endangered species and the effort in its first year. they move forward with listing the species as threatened and endangering the cooperation between these interests. all of the suits were brought to protect state and local interest from overzealous activist
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executive agencies. the obama administration has an environmental agenda that exhibited a deep distrust of the government and private landowners and has worked to obstruct the arab cultural producers and the most ardent protectors of the environment. these are interests relied on this is the economic growth so i believe the attorney general wells returned 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, members of the kennedy for allowing me to be here today.
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and for senator inhofe we believe he will be a tremendous nominee as in vendor for the protection agency. over the past six years scott has been a leader in oklahoma strongly committed to enforcing the law and adhering to the constitution. he's a statesman, dedicated public servant. as the administrator i would spectrum to lead the agency to follow every environmental law and partner with states, local authorities and tribes to do what is best for the present and future. as the attorne the attorney gend shoulder to shoulder with more than half of the states to ensure they operate in the bounds of the statute and constitution. he argued many are in fact the responsibilities of state governments first. an environment where it is precedent and critical that the leader of an agency with such
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wide latitude also respects the importance of the federalist foundation and the pocketbooks of hard-working families. in previous testimony, he emphasized the importance of the wall like the clean air act stressing that the intention was for states and epa to work together under the model of federalism that protects the environment while considering economic cost. as the attorney general, scott has been a defender of the rule of law for oklahoma. in 2012, they argued they knowingly double dipped in the collection of the funds despite having insurance coverage for the environmental cleanup. he doesn't believe that it didn't hesitate to stand up for the constituents and the state. mike is the former attorney general of the state of oklahoma and former chairman of the oklahoma democratic party. he spoke out in mid-december when scott was first announced.
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let me read a short portion. former attorney general, former democratic party chairman said oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt is a good choice to head up the protection agency and i am convinced he will work to protect the natural habitats in the reserves and resources and the vision for the proper relationship between protection and prosperity makes him a superbly qualified to serve as the next administrator. scott is an active member and a deacon at his church from a congregation of august 2000 people. he's strong in his fac faith and walks with integrity. he's a serious baseball fan as well. if you run out of environmental or legal questions today which i doubt you will but if you run out to mask a couple questions about baseball strategy in spring training starts in a few weeks. i have to tell you, scott is a friend.
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i've prayed with scott and i've seen him struggle with decisions that affect the state's future and listen to people to try to learn all sides of an issue and i've seen him take difficult stands on matters of law. i think he will be an excellent administrator for the epa and will do well today getting the chance to bring you the confidence that he will work hard for the nation's present and future. >> thank you senator lankford. you are willing to be for welcome to stay but you can't stay in that seat. >> i would like to welcome the attorney general to the senate public works committee. welcome. i invite you to introduce your family and proceed with your
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statement. congratulations and welcome. >> good morning, chairman and ranking member. it is an honor and a privilege to be there for you today to be considered for the position of the epa administrator. i want to say thank you to senators inhofe and lankford for their opening comments. senator inhofe has been a mentor to me for many years and spent a lot of time in the process introducing the guidance and health. senator lankford was a friend before he entered congress and he's always serving in the country with great distinction. as you indicated, i am blessed to have my family in attendance with me. my wife of 2 27 years is in attendance along with my children. there is a change going on in their life as well. mckenna is graduating from oklahoma university this spring and heading to the all modern university virginia law school and my son will be graduating at
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having to oklahoma university following his sister's footsteps so there is a lot of change going on in their lives and in my families life and a lot of change going on in the country and the people in this country are hungry for change. with change comes an opportunity for growth and to assume not only can we prioritize as a nation. i get excited about the great work to be done on behalf of the nation and protecting the good stewards of the natural resources we have in the nation what can be more important than protecting the nation's waters and in improving the land and air all the while protecting the health and welfare of our people so if confirme confirmed by thef the epa with the following principle in mind. first the false paradigm that if you are pro- energy you are anti-environment. i reject that narrative.
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we can grow the economy, harvest resources while being good stewards of th air, land and wa. we should celebrate the great progress and the laws passed by the body that recognize we have more work to do. third, the rule of law matters. process matters. it inspires confidence in those regulated and its static, not transient. regulators are supposed to make things regular to enforce the rules and not pick winners and losers. a regulato regulator shouldn't r against any sector of the economy. instead off to follow along and set up their wounds were those regulating the plan and allocating resources to meet the standards versus operating a state of uncertainty and the rest. it matters because congress said so and we need to achieve good
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outcomes as a nation for the air and water quality and we need a partnership of the state. it's the regulators that often times best understand the local needs of the environmental challenges plus the state regulators possess the resources and expertise to enforce the law. this and public participation is key. we need to hear all voices and make decisions on behalf of the country with respect to the law. two final things. i seek to be a good listener, to listen and to lead. you can't do one without the other. listen to the staff at the epa as i've done and listen to you here in congress with respect to the states and to the voice of all americans as we seek to carry out the duties of the law. last and this is important i seek the service of civility often times you deal with very contentious issues. i have as well.
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we deal with issues and there's passion on both sides of the issues we shouldn't succumb to these matters we should encourage open and civil discourse. the ones are absent in both climate change. let me say to d hear science tes us that it is changing and it impacts the change. the ability to measure the degree of impact and what to do about it are subject to the continuing dialogue as well as it should be so i seek to answer the question today and i am honored to be here to be considered for the positions of the administrator. thank you and congratulations again. you've answered the questionnaire. the office of government ethics has stated that you are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing the conflict of interest. throughout the hearing of the questions on the record the
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committee members will have an opportunity to learn more about the commitment to public service and the nation and i would ask you to respond to the questions for the record and with that said i have to ask the following questions we ask all nominees on behalf of the committee. do you agree if confirmed to appear before the committee were designated memberordesignated me committee and others of the congress to provide information subject to the appropriateness of the protection with respect to your responsibilities? do you agree to ensure testimony briefings documents and electronic and other forms of information are provided to the committee and staff and other appropriate committees in a timely matter? do you know of any matters that you may or may not have disclosed that might place you in a conflict of interest if confirmed? just a couple quick questions before the back and forth. if you could please describe the environmental philosophy of what
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you would do that to protect the environment. >> as i indicated in a statement, i believe that the role of the regulator. the difficult challenges that we see with individuals across the country is the inability to predict. the rule of la law teaching focs of how we do business at the epa is the center to restoring confidence and certainty. including the air and helping protect the health and welfare of our citizens is the key to the leadership of the epa.
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we have done so in a decisive and meaningful way. for the balance of my time for introduction there is the problems we see in the country and state it is a serious problem or the chemical compounds are deep in the soil from the military activities decades ago. often they are not the tools available to adequately address the pollution if confirmed, would you advocate increasing the epa focus on innovative technological solutions to address these and other environmental problems? >> this past congress as you indicated in your statement, we recognize that the changes there are priorities this year and the new authority to order testing
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on certain chemicals i spend time on the safe drinking water act as a key to improving the environment across air-quality and we would seek to focus and prioritize the veterans. >> senator carper >> we often don' >> we often don't have these discussions in the room and the building that we see here today. this is extraordinary. not unprecedented of extraordinary. people ask why are folks so concerned and going back to march 3 in detroit michigan. we will have little bits left but we are going to take a tremendous amount out.
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that's what he said during the republican primary. and what did he say after the election? who said what they did is a disgrace. they said we will be fine with the environment. all the things he said in the campaign do they just go away. it's led to the d. funding within your own agenc agency, at you joined a dozen or more lawsuits over the last six years ever since you've been the attorney general and going after
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the epa. that's why you have to kind of concerned you are witnessing today not just on that side on this site as well. you just took an oath to answer the questions the chairman asked about you. you didn't respond to any of them by january 9. had he responded to any of those questions in writing almost three weeks ago. that's why we have a concern that's why we have a concern. >> in 2011, they required the
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coal plants to the toxic emissions by issuing the mercury and air toxics standards rule. it contaminates the streams and oceans and harms our children's health. as attorney general and believe you've been part of at least 13 legal cases against the epa and three of the cases against the rules from the power plants is that correct, yes or no? is that correct, yes or no? >> yes, we've been a part of the rule. >> at least one of the cases is still pending is that correct, yes or no? in the case against the mercury will come you questioned the determination that they are harmful to be clear if you ever supported a case against the epa that claims that human exposure resulting in the plans, yes or
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no? is there any decision in 2000 where after a decade of study this is a quote from them, the mercury missions and power plants served for public health and must be reduced. what you say the legal case you supported and passed directly challenged the agency funding, yes or no? >> [inaudible] >> just hold your fire. in the opposition seems to call into question the 2003 testimony from the then epa administrator jeff homestead right where you are sitting today. they address the significant risk in the environment with
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options for this risk available. it's something that is very dangerous. >> are you aware the last three legislators required to regulate mercury because the health risk yes or no? for some of the questions are asked ithatwere asked is there g that you would like to add? is an important role for the protection agency.
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across the state claims that the jurisdiction to the epa is involved in protecting the air-quality and improving the waters is extremely important and it's invaluable folders quickly. and for most republicans who created the epa or executive order in the 1970s the body passed many pieces of legislation since the 1970s to focus on the water quality and we have much to celebrate. the criteria under the program since 1980 are down 63%. we made progress as a country that we have work to do. the epa has a valuable role to carry out the steps to ensure the air-quality and protecting the nation's waters. so, i am hopeful that in response to the concern about the move of the epa, it is a very valuable role and something that we should focus on for the states.
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in the cost-benefit analysiand s the epa failed to do and the michigan epa case actually agreed so it was more about the process but it was supposed to go through in regulating to provide a certainty in the marketplace not a statement with whether it should be regulated or not. thank you, senator and a half. it's been incredibly successful. you mentioned that we produced those by 53%. but -- 63%. what you did not add that doesn't inspire the fact we had 153% increase in the economic activities. that is a major thing. in my introduction, i mentioned this thing that you did that no
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one can figure how you did it. it's called the 100 year dispu dispute. if you want to share with us how you did that? >> less than eight months into my administration with respect to water in 17 counties in east oklahoma many of you if you know anything about the litigation it takes decades to resolve the litigation. we were able to go through this in 2011 to 2016 in the agreement with those nations to provide a voice to the tribe with respect to water allocation and water quality. and the state maintained its position as they are allocated as well. so it is a partnership and it's
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the way things ought to work sitting across the table from individuals working together to try to solve the problem. >> also [inaudible] >> you may criticize and some were talking about the environmental record that i would like to be sure that people are aware of and i have some here i will submit for the record the vice president of the water quality. they've been at the forefront and he praise praises you sayini found general pruett has always done it right by the scenic rivers and does everything constructive that he told me he would do. at the same thing comes from north carolina department of environmental quality.
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then restoring the epa to its original mission of enforcing the environmental laws written by congress and the head of the water resources board said that the attorney general pruitt. i would like to know what it is that you have become such a hero. >> as you know, oklahoma has endured many decades with respect to the phosphorus levels and it's been a part of the dispute for a long time. there was a memorandum of understanding and driven to around 20 of two and 2003. the memorandum is expired in my time as the attorney general. they should wait for the epa to address the issue and i chose a different path. i reached up to my democratic colleagues in arkansas and we arwe'veare able to negotiate an
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agreement that had levels set at .037. he's the head of the illinois river commission and has been the center of the issue for a number of years and i think that is good work relates to the work that we did in my office working with mcdaniel to achieve the outcome. >> i know the tim time has expid but i would like to enter into the record the statement by navy environmental. >> without objection. >> senator white house. >> thank you chairman and welcome to the committee. as we discussed some of the oceans off the ocean state are warming. due to the fossil fuel climate change, it is crashing the fisheries and is making earning a living harder for the fisherman.
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we've seen nothing to give any confidence that you will care one bit for their well-being and not just the well-being of the fossil fuel industry. in the process that you can replicate in the lab excess carbon dioxide from the fossil fuel missions is turning the seas more acid. the shell fishermen and shellfish growers are concerned and my colleague stated they already have wasters wiped out for businesses by vs certified waters. i see nothing in your career that he would care at all about our rhode island shell fishermen. in rhode island, we had bad air days and there are fewer and fewer when people are driving into work and hear on the radio that out-of-state smokestacks need a bigger dangerous and the intense and elderly and people
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with reading difficulties should stay home on an otherwise beautiful day. because they are out-of-state, we need the epa to protect us and i see nothing in your record that would give a mother taking her child to the hospital for an asthma attack any comfort that you would take the slightest interest in her. is your passion for by both empowered him to the state doesn't help us because the state regulators can't do anything about the problems. they all come from out-of-state sources and in this respect, we are like delaware. one of the things i'd like to ask about here is the connection between you and some of the fossil fuel companies. these are some of the companies that have supported you use some of the political organizations you raised money for the attorney general, correct?
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>> i have a campaign committee, yes. >> they've all maxed out to that account. >> i'm not aware if they have for not. >> similarly they gave money and maxed out that organization as well. >> they contributed to it. >> you closed liberty 2.0 but that took fuel contributions as well, correct? >> it has been closed, yes. >> helped raise money for the attorney general association while you were a member of the committee they received $530,000 from the industry's computer $50,000 from the $160,000 from exxon mobil and 125,000 from devon energy accompanied you
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send as an oklahoma general document. document. did you solicit in your role any of that funding? >> i am not able to confirm. >> i attended fund-raising events. >> and did you ask them for money? >> attending fundraising is one thing. did you ask them for money? >> i did not ask. >> i have not asked them. >> you said to the chairman and
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not there was nothing that might place you in a conflict of interest then you have not disclosed yet you found it the rule of law defense fund that supports the attorney general's association and you have not disclosed any of your solicitations for that entity nor have you disclosed the money was raised pursuant to those solicitations. this is an organization that appears to have a million dollar a year budget. it's a very substantial funds have been solicited and i believe that you were the chairman. will you disclosed your role in soliciting money and receiving money for the role of law defense fund pursuant to your solicitation? i've been an officer of the organization since 2016. there's executive staff fund
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raisers. it's not a decision of one. it's a decision of those that have been powered. empowered. but you haven't told us anything about that. it is a complete black hole into which at least a million dollars goes into based on the record of the fund raising appeals that a great deal comes from these organizations who are in the energy sector and devoted to fighting climate change. >> some might see that as well, senator. with respect to that -- >> exxon mobil. >> my time is expired. >> i we were involved in the comments in the situation over multiple companies, conoco phillips and other.
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.. >> they are dead set against any reforms to an out-of-control epa. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you attorney general for being here and your willingness to throw your hat in the ring to
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sir. i would like to quote the ranking member when he says it is hard work. it is. one of the things he said struck me and i believe the rule of law does matter. i am and heartened by your passion for that. the regulatory overreach of the epa's contributed to economic devastation and my state of west virginia in my region. data from the safety health administration shows that 60,000 coal jobs jobs have been lost between 2011 and 2016. we are in a desperate situation in our state because of this. we had a field hearing in west virginia where the economist said that the coal industry downturn had resulted in six of our southern west virginia counties being in a great depression. the epa has given no indication that he cares about the economic impact of its policies even though congress has said clearly
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the clean air act and other environmental statutes that we expect jobs and economic factors to be taken into account. that is part of the law. the federal court held the pa had failed to evaluate the job impact of the epa clean air packed as required by 321 a of that act. it ordered the pa to submit a schedule to conducting economic jobs analysis. credibly, the p told the court it would take two years, this was just in the past several weeks. it would take two years to come up with a plan plan on how to do the analysis, which if that's part of the law epa's post to be following they should already have the protocol set up to do an effective and accurate job analysis. so the court responded like
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this, this response is an efficient, unacceptable and it evidences the continued hostility on the part of the pa on the acceptance of the mission established by congress. so i want to ensure that epa will follow the law it has to do with the job losses and economics shifts. >> as you indicated its important that the rule of law is adhered to. often times those that regulated don't know what's expected of them. and then those that are regulating act in a way that is not consistent with that framework. so they don't know what's expected and that causes uncertainty. and paralysis. and paralysis. rule of law something we should take seriously. it has been at the heart of the litigation that we initiated. many times there is a policy or political tension but it's really about process and making
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sure the framework that congress is respected and endorsed. i appreciate your congress. >> and looking for the balance. we need to have cracked analysis of what the economic implications rv regulation. so important and critically important that we enforce our environmental laws. to keep her air clean and get a cleaner and protect our waters. in in january 2014 a storage tank was corrupted and went into the river. it was right by the water flow by the major water source of my community. 300,000 people had thousand people had to do without water for several weeks. it caused angst economically to small businesses. imagine a restaurant not been able to use water we can't wash your closer do anything. also, and i share this concern about the health and long-range implications of what is happening. several people, multiple
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individuals and freedom industries have pled guilty to environmental crimes in federal court which i'm pleased about. let's talk about -- i was able to support a provision that would save your storing in closer proximity to drinking water you have to take that into consideration when you're looking at hazardous chemicals. can we come on you to work with the committee to make sure the bible partisan reform bill is fully implemented and if patiently and fully? >> absolutely. i would commend would commend the work of this committee with the leadership in passing that update to the legislation. for the the first time in history as you know the epa has the ability to order testing to address chemicals that are going to be entered into this stream of commerce. that is a very big change that exists. there are many deadlines. >> i would also a that we actually expanded the epa's
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reach. so when you are asked if you're wanting to get rid of the pa or doesn't have a value, i voted to expand that reach to make sure that i have clean water and that it's in the community in this country and what happened template michigan doesn't have the far-reaching competitions left us. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for your willingness to serve our country. i want to talk about the bay program. i explained to an i will do very quickly this is a program developed at the state level with the states including delaware, with my colleague senator carper. it's a state that locals have determined how is best to reach their targets in order to help preserve the chesapeake bay.
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it is critically important and complicated and doesn't flush itself it's a reduction of oyster crops. all the stakeholders have gone together and worked out a plan. that is enforced through the program and it's been agreed to by the local governments. it was challenge, including you join that lawsuit and the supreme court refused to overturn the court of appeals supporting the use. if you're confirmed what you support the federal role in the chesapeake bay program as envisioned by the partners and stakeholders enforcing if necessary. >> yes. in the time we had together i commend the six states that joined together to address of the chesapeake bay to try to address the discharge into the
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chesapeake bay. the role the epa was playing initially but they would acknowledge that it's more informational and there is in oklahoma about the mississippi river basin and that has funder litigation. but i really want to emphasize to, that process is what should occur for states to join together and enter into agreement to address water quality issues and have the pa serve what is to serve in a should be celebrated. i can commit to that i would do so. >> part of the partnership is to provide resources. there there are several programs that fund initiatives in the watershed. probably the largest is dealing with wastewater. please support the governments funding these programs that are critically important in making the event advancements?
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>> yes, senator. i believe the grantmaking role as we talked about in your office is very important. with the revolving funds and with portions of our statutes and grantmaking in general is important and i would do so with respect to the chesapeake bay. >> i want to continuing clean water. we've had significant problems with drinking and clean water. let me ask you a question do you believe there is any safe level of lead that can be taken into the human body, particularly a young person? >> that is something i've not reviewed nor know about. i would be very concerned about any level of lead going into the drinking water or as human
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consumption. but i have not ten research on that. >> the clean water act provides for federal guidance as to acceptable clean water that's enforced by the states. so my question to us in regards to clean water, what steps will you take to make sure children are safe. we saw flint michigan the tragedy occur, where do you think the federal government needs to strengthen its migratory roles to make sure that her children are safe from leg? >> with flint, michigan it's an example of not delay in response, there should've been more done on corrosion control programs with the system. in the clean water act and the safe drinking water act. if there's an emergency situation the epa can enter can address those concerns. i think there there should've been more fast and rapid response. with respect to water quality it is infrastructure. that's important. as you indicated the states play a vital role in that process.
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there needs to be more cooperation between the epa. >> just to understand you've filed in several lawsuits against the epa's involvements in the locals should have the responsibility. if you are confirmed, will you support the federal enforcement, particularly in multistate issues were the only way we can get enforcement is at the federal level? >> i believe that's a vital role of the pa with air quality, water quality, issues across street state line. and we would seek to do so confirmed as administrator. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. pruitt it is a service and sacrifice, not just
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for you for your family as well to step forward to serve this country. thank you for being willing to do that. >> your testimony come i do think you and i would like to let you know that nebraska has been really affected by the epa in many instances. i will give you some examples of that. nebraska is a public power utilities are grappling with how they could ever comply with the epa's carbonate emission reduction mandates. the city of omaha is struggling with the agencies expensive cso mandate in drinking water affordability. nebraska farmers are waiting on
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new crop technology products that are stuck in a broken regulatory process. our biofuel investors and producers are desperate for certainty. homebuilders, transportation stakeholders and local county officials are concerned about the jurisdictional expansion to control our state's water resources. communities in small business owners fear the epa's ozone mandate will stunt potential economic development and growth in our state. as a result of the activist role the pa has played for the last eight years, families are concerned about the futures of their livelihood. we all want clean air and we all want clean water. that is one point but i know each and every person here agrees on. with the epa's tremendous impact on americans live each and every day support in the be open, transparent, and answerable for its actions. given these concerns along with the many others that have been and will continue to be discussed today, what steps we
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take as epa administrator to provide relief for american families that are faced with an onslaught of epa rules? >> you mentioned open transparent rulemaking. there's concerns expressed recently with respect to regulation to litigation where groups initiate litigation against the epa and the government and said environmental policy. i think this body has these issues. when we we talk about open transparency, there's a reason why this act exists. to give them an opportunity to offer,. as the application of the regulator to take those things into consideration and finalize them.
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so it's very important that process be adhered to to give voice to all americans in balancing the environmental objectives we and the economic harm that results and they have spoken about that consistently have a slate and i would seek the lead of the epa of the openness and transparency. >> a couple weeks ago who had a very good conversation about our shared vision for the epa to bring common sense and accountability back to that agency. i think that's going to go a long way in restoring confidence in the agency in the american people. one issue we discussed was the renewable fuel standard and it's important in my home state of nebraska. we are the are the largest ethanol producer west of the missouri river. our neighbors to these, senators ernst home state they do leave the nation in ethanol
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production. so honoring the timelines and volume requirements that are critical from an investment point of view and also from a planning perspective, i think this is especially relevant, especially during the current farm crisis that we are seeing in the negative impact on people in agriculture across this nation. in our meeting, meeting, you expressed your commitments me to honor the law. you echoed president-elect trumps support for the statute itself on a strong rv oh. for the record can you please express your commitment to uphold the congressional intent. >> yes. and you said it well, to honor the intent and the expression is very important. it's not the job of the administrative the pa to do nothing then other than
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administer the program according to the intent of congress. i intend to to do so. and. and i would say this, the waivers that routinely are offered by the administrator recently another waiver was offered, it should be used judiciously. there's a reason why congress put in that statute the statutory objectives. the market has changed since 2005 and the labor authority has that has been provided is in part. that should be used judiciously. the act should be complied with and enforce consistent with the role of congress. >> thank you. i would ask that you also tell us publicly what you told us that you honor the timelines on the volume levels that are mandated by congress. >> thank you mr. chairman. over a number of years information started pouring into epa that the estimated amount of fugitive
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methane escaping in gas and oil drilling has been underestimated. in 2011 the epa put out its best estimates based on information being presented. this is relevant because methane is a global warming gas, more important than co2. gas companies do not like this because it presented a vision of natural gas being more damaging environmental the people previously understood. one of the group sought to cast doubt on the scientific information and it came to you to be their spokesperson of astral you be a mouthpiece casting doubt to and sent a letter we have drafted to the pa. you sent that letter. and, i just want to ask first, are you aware that methane is approximately 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide is a global warming gas? >> i am senator. >> best answer. yes. no question.
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although 1 - 10 scale, how concerned are you about the impacts of fugitive methane and driving global warming? >> methane. >> one to ten square skill highly concerned are not concerned. >> the quantities is far more important. >> are you concerned? highly concerned. >> i'm concerned. >> to acknowledge sending this letter to the epa in october october 2011? >> that is a letter that is on my letterhead that sent a letter head. >> to acknowledge that 97% of the words came directly from divine energy? >> i have not looked at the percentages. >> the same and that is been analyzed many times is that all of the 1016 words except for 37 words were written directly by divine energy.
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>> thousands step taken as a attorney general representing the interest of our state. >> size just asking if you copied the letter word for word. he said it's in the record and people can count and it's correct. so, a public office is about serving the public. there is a public concern over the impact of methane and global warming. their scientific research same it's far more devastating than anticipated. and to use your office as a direct extension of an oil company rather than a direct extension of the interest of the public health of the people of oklahoma. to acknowledge that you presented a private oil companies position rather than a position developed by the people of oklahoma? >> with respect i disagree. the efforts that i took to the attorney general were representing the state of oklahoma. >> excuse me. i'm asking the questions. you said earlier that you listen to everyone. in drafting this letter you took and oil companies position and
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then, without consulting people with diverse views on the impact two .. how. how can you present that as representing the people of oklahoma when you only consulted an oil company to push its own point of view for its private profit? >> there's an obligation the p has to follow processes established by this body. the cost-benefit analysis is something they have to engage in. there's a concern about the overestimated percentages. that was the expression of the letter to the pa and was represented in the industry. >> so my question was, what other groups environmental groups did you consult so you had the full perspective before representing simply a for-profit oil company using your official office in letterhead? >> i consulted with other environmental officials in oklahoma that regulated and
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learn from them. >> can you provide this committee with information showing who you consulted and represented this letter specifically? the information that is public only shows they simply central letter, asked you to send it and you sent it without questions. >> we have seven or so individuals in the office involved in the issues i will collect information they have and provided pursuant to the chairman stretch and. >> your staff expanded substantially, why do you need now side oil company when you have 250 people working for you? >> as i've indicated. that was an effort protecting the states interest in making sure we made the voices of all oklahomans are unimportant industry to our state. >> but you only scented on behalf of the single voice, the oil company. thank you. >> i still have some time remaining is there anything you'd like to add that you haven't felt. >> i think senator the
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clarification that the letter that sent the p was pa was not sent on behalf of anyone company. it was not particular to chesapeake or at other companies in her state. it was particular to an industry. the state of oklahoma has an industry vibratory state. there is concerned expressed by that industry, many many folks amend industry about the overestimated that occurred with that methane role. thousand communication to the pa. it was a position of the state not anyone company. >> thank you. senator moran. >> thank you very much. thank you for a public service breeding will see if i can get through three areas the five minutes i have. first of all, despite there being an injunction against enforcement of the rule and told the region 73 jeanette which kansas is a part, those regional
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inspectors have increased their inspection of smaller animal feeding operations unlike many states, kansas has a well-established well-established state permit system for small facilities as well as delegated authority in the clean water act. rather than coordinate with a state agency the epa's engaged its own inspections on the small facilities often conflicting the enforcement process. the pa has claimed jurisdiction over things like grass waterways, culverts and county roads, connected to the feeding operation and not in or near any body of water. general prue, what would your direction be to the epa staff, to region seven and others in regard to their actions in forcing voters while injunction is in place? >> as you indicated, and i want to acknowledge the same concerns that i expressed by those individuals in oklahoma different groups with respect to the definition that offered by
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the pa subject to 31 state challenge those consolidated there. as indicated there's been a stay stay of enforcement against that particular rule. the supreme court less ready took up the matter jurisdiction in that case. that is complexity to this. but i think the role of the. it is to seek to provide clarity on what the true best definition is in respect to the waters of the united states. there's flexibility and discretion given in cases that led up to the decision that don't provide a tremendous amount of clarity. the best thing going forward is to establish clarity's estate and individuals know what's expected of them in compliance. >> thank you. i don't think i need to remind you particular of the role that states playing clean water. but i would take a moment to highlight something often forgotten in predatory world of water quality.
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the department of agriculture, the natural resource conservation service which landowners are assisted through the department of agriculture and improving water quality and quantity in a partnership oriented local effort. it is significantly different then the reach from the epa in the washington d.c. compared to landowners themselves. let me move to my second question that is about the native grasslands in our state. the owners of of those grasslands are thousands of acres of grass. they burn the prairie in the early spring for purpose of regeneration of that grass. let's learn from the indians. lightning used to be the lightning by which the grassland burned. so now with the settlement of our country. as a result, of the burning
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there are times in which a city, even 11 of our own, wichita for example is no longer is nonattainment under the clean air act. i raise this issue in a asking that if you are confirmed to work with the state of kansas in our local efforts to manage the burning of the national grasslands in a way that is a ventilation to wildlife habitat. at the same same time it's done in a timely fashion and appropriate amounts that preserves the air quality. but not a heavy-handed approach that one size solution fits the circumstantial. >> if confirmed i look for to working with you on the issue. >> finally i want to highlight a small town in kansas. there's a pipe elation of seven her. for several decades, because of the need and high nitrates in the city's water levels.
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because of high levels of nitrate in the city water system the city has provided free bottled water to its citizens. my question to you is, now the pa is disallowing that practice requiring the city to spend $2.4 million and raise the rates of our residents in the community by $80 a month while the community is seemingly satisfied with the city providing an alternative to the expense my masking this as an example of a community-based decision seems to prevail at the epa and we give you an opportunity to confirm to me what i hope you would say's that you work with communities. you as in oklahoma and and me is a cancer we represent communities in which the population is
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insufficient to pay for the cost of water sewer treatment. when you financial resources to accomplish that. but also commonsense solutions. >> i'll the the court to working with you on that issue. there is a saying neighborhood solutions. i think it's important for the epa administrator, those in washington to learn as i said with respect to the needs of the community in your state and collaborate with you and local officials. >> i look for to educating you on behalf of kansas. >> senator booker. >> good morning. i have a letter i read they said to the committee last year and you said i am responsible for protecting the welfare of oklahoma citizens. i assume that still correct and you believe that? >> yes. and during the past six years in pursuit of that, if you look at
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the record of the lawsuit super against the epa, you have joined or filed 14 lawsuits against the apa challenges clean air and clean water rules. >> we been involved in multiple pieces of litigation. >> i'm looking specifically at 14. i like to put those into the record where you specifically challenge the pa on air quality. let me go through some of those. >> without objection. you filed two lawsuits challenging the pa mercury and air toxic standards. you filed challenging the 2015 national ambient air quality standards for your zone. you filed for lawsuits challenging the clean power plan. you sued to challenge 111d standard for carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. you also sued to challenge the pa federal implementation plan
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for oklahoma under the regional haze rule. you're familiar with those? >> yes senator. >> any follow lawsuit cross state air pollution, something in new jersey were concerned with. are you aware that rule which you lost in that suit scientists estimate that alone prevents 400,000 asthma attacks teacher are you aware of that? >> yes. may offer up -- >> leme continue. i don't have don't have much time. so each of these lawsuits i went through and that we analyst, all of them challenge attempts by the pa to reduce air pollution. in all of them except one you filed those lawsuits joining with polluting companies that were suing the epa. and so, in in addition to following the lawsuits with some of the companies that may be one specifically bite to my colleagues, you used to substantial portions of the
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letters from those companies, put them on your attorney general letterhead and what was surprising to me is when he been asked about this in the public you represented that's called representative government in my view of the world. your your testimony here says you are representing industry and the polluters. so all of these lawsuits you filed in all of these letters like this one written to the epa on behalf of the industries that are causing the pollution. it seems to clear to me that the fact pattern on representing polluters is clear that you work very hard on behalf of these industries. they have their profits externalized. so i just have a question for you specifically about the children of oklahoma. do you know how many kids in oklahoma roughly, have asthma? >> i do not. >> according to data published
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by the nonpartisan group, the american lung association, more than 100,000 children in oklahoma which is more than one in ten and all the kids in oklahoma have asthma. that's one of the highest asthma rates in the entire united states of america. now, this is a crisis similar data to where i was mayor. i can tell you firsthand the devastating impacts that kids with asthma and that asthma has on children and families affecting their economic well-being. they have to watch their children struggle to breathe. or have to miss work to rush their kids to the hospital. one in ten kids having the disease missing school is a significant problem. and so if you've been writing letters on behalf of polluting industries, how many letters did you write to the epa about this health crisis? if this is representative government, did you represent
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those children. what actions have you taken in the past six years as protector of the welfare of oklahoma citizens to protect the welfare of those 100 level thousand children. did you ever let any of them write letters on their letterhead. did you file one lawsuit on behalf of those kids to reduce the air pollution in your state and help them have a healthy life? >> i have actually provided a list of cases to the chairman was steps we take a multiple environmental litigation. some say to was some of the cases you refer to. the state has to have an interest before can bring those cases. if there's not been some injury to the state of oklahoma. in each of those cases. >> if i could just say injury, clearly asthma is triggered and caused by air pollutants. clearly there is an air pollution problem. the fact that you have not
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brought suits at any level that you represented, the industries are causing the pollution is problematic when you're going to sit in a position that is supposed to be affecting this reality and asthma in this country is the number one reason why children in america miss school. thank you. >> i would submit to the record first and article from the tulsa word from scott thompson. the headline is epa will be in good hands with scott pruett. scott thomas's executive director is the executive director of the oklahoma department of environmental quality. talks about the excellent work done and ends with a quote, epa epa will be in good hands with scott pruitt. i would point out between 2,042,008 the most recent employers of obama administration senior epa officials sued the epa with 12 lawsuits at least in the time
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george w. bush was in his second term in that it included gina mccarthy, stephen owens and others. they were petitions and plaintiffs filing suits against the epa. and finally an editorial where to point out over the past six years pruitt's legal team has consistently shown deference to the legal expertise and professional said dq. the department of environmental quality. he said i cannot recall an instance where they did not allow us to pursue legal action when deemed necessary. then finally from mike turpin who is the former chairman of the oklahoma democratic party, the job at epa needs to guaranteeing clean air and clean water. pruitt has never compromise those critical components within
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the actions he has taken. >> thank you mr. chairman. i notice you didn't have the opportunity and the time allotted for senator booker's question. would you care to finish your response with regard to the role the states have in their ability to participate in a suit and whether or not they have standing. would you like to finish your thoughts on that? >> thank you senator. in your office we spent time together the enforcement role in oklahoma is different than other states. with respect to the board we have multiple agencies and the department of agriculture that have frontline in respect to the environmental laws. the role we play largely as a general counsel role. we provide guidance and counsel. mainly those agencies enforce actions at their level. many the agencies have dozens of attorneys on their staff of the
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general counsel brings those actions. you mentioned several cases, i believe the air pollution rule is a very important statute that epa should enforce. i believe if there's down wind states or up when states that there should be responsibility for the states. we had the issue with texas at times. the lawsuit was not questioning the authority of bpa. to regulate under the role, he was more that they were trying to assess damages against her and states that were in access of their share. so each of those cases i would ask you to remember, i'm an advocate on behalf of the state of oklahoma. this estate interests that have to be in play to say that any of those cases is about any one company simply not right.
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there's no standing as attorney general to bring a case on behalf of a private citizen or company. there has to be a standing injury to the state interest to bring this cases. so consider that as we go through those cases you mentioned earlier. >> thank you surfer your response. also as chairman of the subcommittee on oversight of had the opportunity to look at their bases are the way they make decisions no and the logic used in getting those decisions. we talked about in my office and one of the things that brought up was the fact that we had received comments from the small business administration office of advocacy. and i like to put this into the record. with this it was a letter sent to the epa in october 2014,
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requesting bpa withdraw the proposed waters of the u.s. lotus rule. and reevaluate the impact it would have on american small business. the federal agency requesting bpa take a second look at a proposed rule. the epa refuse the request and issued the final role we have today. what are your thoughts on this and would you, if you are approved and become the next administrator, would you take a second look at whether or not they had a valid reason for having the waters of the u.s. route considered again. >> where we are presently with litigation there definitely a need to address that. historically under the clean water act and before that was passed waters of the united states equaled navigable waters. we know to a few cases that the
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clean water act is something more than what that is has to be determined. as i indicated earlier, the most important thing is to provide certainty to make sure the clean water act helps those at the state level no where the boundaries are where they have jurisdiction where they don't so we can have regulations that are fair, equitable and and uncertainty is not created. >> in the lawsuits that you have brought would it be fair to say number those are based upon the environmental protection agency feeling to follow its own rules? >> yes. i think whether it's the mats case of the clean power plant case or multiple tutor cases the courts have agreed the epa exceeded its authority. it did not act in the framework that congress established in performing the role supposed to perform. that's why mentioned the process matters. rule of law matters.
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those issues matter because congress has said so. the epa's an administrative agency. it's not a legislative legislative body. it's important to act within the framework that congress has provided it doing his job. in leading the epa, if confirmed if i do that effectively it will provide confidence, certainty and to know it's expected and to improve our air and water because of that. >> thank you. >> this morning no, nasa has declared 2016 the hottest year in the 137 year record that has been kept. donald trump has called global warming a hoax caused by the chinese. to agree that global warming is a hoax? >> i do not senator. so donald
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trump is wrong. >> i do not believe climate change is a hoax. >> that is important for the president to hear. >> mr. prue, you have made a career career working on behalf of the fossil fuel industry to eviscerate 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 those cases are still ongoing including your litigation that challenges critical rules that reduce the novels of hazardous small, are burglary, and carbon pollution. as epa administrator from we would be in a position serve as plaintiff, defendant, judge, jury on these ongoing a lawsuits. that would be wrong. in your ethics agreement you've said you would not participate in any manner that is ongoing, litigation within one year. but isn't it correct these lawsuits may very well continue for much longer than one year?
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>> senator i had the letter from the ethics counsel at the epa. the one year time period is intended to address covered entities that i served chairmanship or an officer capacity. the windows ministry, those entities are covered entities. if the matter arises before the epa within one year time of a specific case that involves those than the refusal would be in order. that's really the focus of the time i'm. >> would you agree to recruit yourselves of those lawsuits which you brought as attorney general of oklahoma against the epa? not just for one year, but for the entire tea of the time that you are the administrator of the epa? we commit to doing that? >> for clarity of think it's important to note that one year time is for those covered entities that were highlighted in the letter. with respect to pending litigation. the pa ethics counsel is indicated with respect to particular matters and parties there be an opportunity to give
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counsel from the p at that point to determine steps. >> are you saying that you will not recuse yourself from the actual matters which you are suing the epa on right now as attorney general of oklahoma for the time that you are? >> and i say that at all. >> will you recuse yourself? >> i'm send the epa has indicated those cases will require review by the pa and it involves a particular matter with a specific party then it would potentially be in order. >> i just think this is a clear line for the american public given your record from oklahoma and suing the epa on all of these matters. that if you don't agree to recuse yourself then you become plaintiff, defendant, judge, jury on the cases you're bringing. right now that you're bringing against cpa. and right now the epa's for all
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the people of the united states, not just the fossil fuel industry of oklahoma. so you're not committing, and i think that's a big mistake to recuse yourself from this cases. it is critical. moreover, you are also in a position to initiate regulations that could overturn a smog protections. carbon pollution protections that are right now on the books, that you are suing as attorney general of oklahoma to return. would you commit to not regulating and promulgating new regulations in any of the areas where you right now are suing the pa. would you make a commitment to recuse yourself from doing that? >> let me be clear. we talked about this in your office. i enjoyed our conversation there. i have every willingness and desire to recused as directed by
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epa ethics counsel. if directed to do so i will do so. there is a difference as you know between pending litigation in a particular matter with specific parties and rulemaking. rulemaking is a process. >> what the american people are expecting here's the epa doesn't turn into every polluters ally. the only way to ensure that is for you to recuse yourself from the cases that you have brought. because most of them would overturn clean air, clean water and smog regulations. it's critical that you recuse yourself. >> otherwise honestly, people are going to think that it's not just the fox guarding the hen house, it's the fox destroying the henhouse. you have not distanced yourself from the actual litigation that you have initiated on most of
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the key issues that you are now going to have responsibility for protecting in terms of the public health of the country. >> i can say to unequivocally i will recuse as directed a vps lease counsel. >> and i think to they you should start out saying i'm going to recuse myself from anything that relates to any litigation that i have initiated as the attorney general of oklahoma that questions the clean air, clean water, climate change, smog, mercury protections which are right now on the books that the epa is honored to protect. if you don't do that, they were going to have a fundamental conflict of interest that is presented by your presence as the administrator of the pa. it just gets down to a matter as simple as that. >> the center's time has expired. for clarification, will you fully follow the advice of the
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epa ethics counsel? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> additional clarification regarding conflicts of interest. i interest. i know the letter to this committee on january 4 and submitted to the record, the office of government ethics believe this nominee is in compliance with laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest. then there is a letter yesterday from walter schaub responded to a letter from senator carper and other democrats regarding potential conflicts of interest and they say that office of government ethics has transmitted a certified financial disclosure report and an ethics agreement to the senate, which they have, it means the office of government ethics is satisfied that all financial conflicts of interest have been identified the result. senator ernst. >> thank you mr. chair. and thank you attorney general
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prefer appearing in front of us today. i enjoyed our conversation both one-on-one and a group setting. i'd like to go back and revisit our discussion on our ff. as you know, i was home to 43 ethanol refineries. we are the largest producer of ethanol west, or east of the missouri river. president-elect trump reiterated his support for biofuels while he was campaigning across iowa. and across the midwest. 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 to biofuels like carrying out the our ff as intended by congress. policy certainty is key for
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economic growth. this is something we discussed in my office. unfortunately as a result a result of uncertainty surrounding the epa's renewable fuels volume targets in 2014, 202015 in 2016 and 2016 second-generation biofuel decreased and projects moved overseas. the epa has recently changed its course a released updated volume targets for the our ff. and they meet the levels prescribed by congress. if confirmed as administrator, what will you do to continue to provide certainty so that investment can continue to happen right here at home in the united states? >> as you indicated in our meeting the importance of the infrastructure investment that is occurred in the law was passed in 2005 and updated in 2007. as i indicated earlier, the ladder to discretion that has been given to the epa administrator three spec should be just judiciously used.
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it should be something bp administrator seeks to comply with and adhere to because of the will of this body. so i think the waivers are in order. but with respect to market conditions we have less consumption today, market conditions have changed since 2005. the epa administrator should not use that to undermine or put into question the commitments made by the spotty in the statute. >> thank you to the commitments to the our ff and intention to congress. i want want to touch on an issue mentioned in your testimony which is the level of fear and distrust of many have a epa. when i'm in iowa i host town halls across the state and i want to hear what is going on in their community. and what i hear, without fail at this town hall is that folks are frustrated with the epa and the
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got you mentality that stems from the agency. my can stitchers tell me the epa's out to get them rather than work with them. there's a huge lack of trust between many of my constituents in the epa. if we take a look specifically at the lotus rule, i was truly truly feel the epa ignored their comments and concern and threw them under the rug and then move forward. we know now the pa relied on gimmicky e-mails and social media events to prop up their message and then use the tactics to insinuate that anyone who had reasonable concern about the rule are somehow in favor of dirty water, which is absolutely ridiculous. this type of culture which was created under the obama administration has no place. so, mr. mr. pruitt what you plan to do in your first days as the administrator to improve the
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relationship epa has with the hard-working folks across the country? >> sa indicated this paradigm that we live within today that if your pro energy year anti- energy and vice versa is a false narrative. this country shown for decades that we can grow the economy a big good steward of our air, land, and water we need to get back to that. cooperative federalism is at the heart of statutes passed by the spotty. if this states that have the resources, expertise and understanding unique challenges are it's not that they don't care about it, that's not what i'm advocating. i think we need a true partnership between the epa of performing its role and the states performing theirs.
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if we have the partnership opposed to punishment and uncertainty that we currently see, think will have better air, butter water quality as a result. >> thank you, i look for to that partnership and transparency. >> thank you. mr. pruitt, i want to clarify your response to this congressional intent when it comes to the rfs. what i want to know and what the people of illinois, we are also a great producer of ethanol, what we need to know is where exactly you stand on the rfs. are you the attorney general who cited with big oil three scope to slam the u.s. you said it was unworkable and it was a -- program. some confused as to what you're saying today. are you that are used sculptra today who saying all the right things in this confirmation here
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in meetings to try to reassure states by repeating nice sounding but ultimately vague and hollow mantra that if confirmed to would enforce the rfs laws written by congress as you and i are quite well aware of such a statement dodges the critical issue for biofuel producers and workers. under under the law the pa has considerable discretion to adjust the renewable volume obligation in a manner that you would argue is contrary to get it may be compliant with explicit letter of the statute. so you could still technically be in compliance with congress and the law but actually be working against it. your answers have not clarified that. my question to you is this. which specific action has epa taken since 2007 while
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administering the our ff that you feel are not consistent. >> the administrator and epa routinely misses creating uncertainty in the marketplace. in in some years they have missed the timeline by over a year in some cases over to your. >> let me ask you this them. yes or no, do you believe that congress intended for the rfs to increase the amount of renewable fuel blended in our nation's fuel supply? >> without question. my second question is, yes or no, do you believe congress intended the rfs to be a stable policy that drives private investment in the renewable industry? >> yes. >> finally, will you commit to refusing all proposals under the rfs program from refiners to blenders? >> as you know the epa's
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involved in something in that issue and to prejudge the outcome of that i would not be able to do that. there's many aspects of the program, the need to be better administered by the -- we talked about it a minute ago when it's the amount of investment on the infrastructure because of the 2005 law. they have to have certainty and confidence that it's going to be enforced and administered pursuant to the desires of congress. >> but then you would have to answer yes, because to move the program from refiners to blenders is actually one of those ways you can undermine the standards as intended by congress, which yourself just now said was intended to increase the amount of biofuels
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blended into the fuel supply of the united states. this is my is my problem. on the one hand your track record shows you someone to oppose but here in front of congress in meetings you are giving these vague answers that sound right when it comes to it but it opens back doors for you to oppose the renewable fuel standard. that's troublesome. across the midwest for those of us who fought for this country by reducing our dependency on foreign oil i'm really concerned about her future under your epa. i'm also concerned about what you going to do to protect the environment. in your answers to one my colleagues about what the role of the epa, when the first questions he got he spent five minutes talking before he said protect the environment. he talked all about reducing epa's influence overstates for five minutes. . .
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>> >> i like to submit a letter from the american farm bureau federation that supports the nominee for the epa in favor of his confirmation letter from democrat attorney general from the state of arkansas that has this has to say about his work on the more river watershed recent press accounts and fairly mischaracterizes the work done by the general and his team as the staunch defender of science and policy to protect the environment of his day i saw firsthand how general pruitt could manage multiple agency agenda is to
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reach an outcome heralded by most credible observers as both positive and historic. >> thanks for your willingness to serve and your family we all realize family affairs truly affect everybody but in the recent years epa makes increasingly difficult for arkansas to manage this pollutant discharge system. to often the permits or rulemaking sent for review have returned with demands far more restrictive with the latest collection required and other costly requirements for:this is the opportunity to correct and
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restore cooperative federalism. the states have the expertise and local knowledge necessary to administer and environmental programs. has the opportunity back to cooperative federalism can you explain how you plan to change the epa dynamic? my experience being with transportation with the house the epa attitude is we are with you unless you, with the finding that is contrary then we do what our way. >> one, rule of law to make scheerer the authority is granted to the united states under the delegation under certain clean water provisions but also the epa
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needs to provide more assistance those regional administrators need to be seen as partners and not adversaries. and seeking to do so is very important. >> as a political lobby of the above in ministrations not set based on sound silence -- science but ideology even congress has trouble getting the epa to show the signs. under your leadership expect in the epa to be more transparent? and the science behind them
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it is so important as the minister can we count on you or your own local ideology? >>. public purse dissipation is important. to involve those involved by a impact. that they craft rules and regulations and then to respond to those programs transparency at the objectivity. to restore the confidence of the rulemaking process.
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>> and that scientific data? >> end of current illustration lack of communication time end time began they did not respond to committee members or would take months. >> as i mentioned in the opening statement listening is the important role of leadership as sigh with thread met with many of you through this process there were issues and if confirmed by seek to be very active and respond to the body. >> commenting on the arkansas i inherited the.
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i air appreciate you and the attorney general mcdaniel and somehow you were soft but i would argue it is probably one of the most restricted watersheds of anyplace in the essays. >> the men to engage in a scientific study of what they should be. in it was determined before the first time in history. but the implication is that
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it is too soft the and if anything i would argue was too harsh. and then that has been going on for decades. >> q. could states to first round of questioning. and then we will break. >> i a as a consent for unanimous consent of legal brief against of mercury in air ruled that mr. pruitt supported. and also ask for unanimous consent that a recent
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article at the oklahoma it department of retirement no quality has advocated with other polluters who have to drink though water or breathe the air. and then has quite a different view. >> without objection. and we is attorneys general have several duties to represent the state agencies can to initiate lawsuits in the capacity of the attorneys general.
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>> some states provide that latitude. >> did your sacred. >> not as much as other state. >> have you ever wrecked -- exercise your independent capacity after reagan illegal action? >> i need more specifics were you are referring to. spirit can you never exercise to be the attorney general of your state to initiate a legal action could. >> largely is a note with other agencies. >> so you have used your independent capacity quick. >> you have bent the attorney-general almost seven years. >> six years to make you have initiated 14 lawsuits in your independent capacity as these attorney-general of the oklahoma. apparently seven of those were resolved six of which you have lost.
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i hear the you are a lover of baseball with is your batting average? and 300. >> my calculation is 142. as attorneys to have the responsibility that we make decisions based dog what is not only an actual conflict would you agree that is important quick. >> so on this issue of whether or not you would be recused if nominated as the administrator the you have recused yourself if directed to do that do you agree you can recuse yourself? >> in addition to the of review the have that discretion greg.
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>> i have an obligation. independent of any direction? >> it is important to maintain. >> there is a discretion. >> qsr familiar with the clean air act? and as you may know the 209 provision of recognizes california authority to issue standards for motor vehicles the epa has recognized its authority to recognize new standards going above and beyond federal standards. and is not sufficient for to
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be against a particular state. with the solar standard. >> new york that it exists. integrity to review that. upholding and reviewing are two different points. did to grant a waiver that could be conducted. >> i don't know without going through the process. and then those that are previously mentioned as day party is that correct?
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can you name a few instances in independent capacity against corporate entities? we have a list that is provided. >> there is a list. >> can you name one quick. >> the eight farm the cleanup of the large operation that affected water quality. >> did you fall -- while the lawsuit? we received a good outcome spirit in name of that entity? and can you name any of their cases to actually filed the lawsuit could. >> that was brought in conjunction with the aid -- gpa. that refers to the list of cases faugh -- least the
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cases granted. >> i understood and that role as a former attorney general for by masking about your independent capacity. >> got was just the senator's time is expired. in the letter by stronger was the director of oklahoma's wildlife conservation. in reference to this emission recently by the ranking member makes reference that the former employee that is currently retired answer came as vice-chairman of the oklahoma attack chapter of the sierra club so those references are from someone who was no longer a state employee but this latter
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talks about the efforts by the attorney general who says the past six years has been instrumental in many successes has never asked me to compromise regulatory efforts on the contrary to give staff support at the highest level in resulted in more strength -- stringent protections to be a strong ally in to protect the environment. >> i ask for unanimous consent on behalf of the articles on mr. pruitt claim the top line points with the fraud cases first and foremost.
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and then was filed and left dormant. and then to be fraught in that is in reference to action. >> without objection. >> thank you mr. chairman. think. . . your willingness to serve is a team effort. i appreciate your opening statement in the titular your written statement and i want to emphasize real ones clean air and clean water. but your emphasis to develop resources is very important and we appreciate that for kids -- focus.
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as senator ernest talked about even fear throughout this part of the country in your the right person to provide course correction that is rigi the trust of the american people that has been lost because of the overreach. there is said discussion about cooperative federalism. is that your term? the was that directed by congress if? >> and with that republican form of government was the primary responsibility of clean air cleaner and water
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for eye. >> there is something called state implementation plans the epa and states review together. >> isn't that correct the primary responsibility to include iraq's that? >> congress. >> cooperative federalism is sent from pruitt that you are focusing on the intent of the congress. >> morceau then any statue to starkly into this saved drinking water act congress has been very explicit is specific to say the role of the states is important and should be respected. >> i will show you a chart with the states and the
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entities that sued democrats said republicans and independents is this a good example of cooperative federalism? if confirmed the direct direction of the congress of the united states. look at the epa they don't exist just to carry out that federal dictate but there are required if they have obligations for ranted tennessee leif for athletes to be respected for crowfoot that is what slav's most of the litigation if s directed and have been unable to do
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so for a number of years. you are carrying out the will of car grass. >> exactly. for the extra tcp knowledge how to fix that knowledge is something that is important for our country knopf off if i ever former attorney general myself who has sued the epa s5 colleagues like judge bookers comments anything he tried to play to the epa cough flu fear of ralph floyd is the five refloat. >> eyecare belfi environment footage used to restore the relationship congress has directed partly improve the
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environment. there is an idea in washington that those who word flew home or less dead don't care if about the water we treat for the air we breathe the farmers and ranchers are very committed if the laugh take enforcement action against them. >> my colleagues spent time to vilify the oil and gas industry as bad actors but according to the american petroleum institute over 100,000 work in the gas industry or the related service sectors, are these people bad actors or polluters? you talk about the good people who are they and their you representing them with these actions put star they evil?
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>> no. they want to comply and what to know what is expected to make sure they know that al al, ochers. >> 25% of the entire state budget this is a state concern. and so we have regulatory bodies that are involved to make sure the air foolproof very real selfless fell briefly for if superstar cf
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you believe do you believe sea levels are rising? >> i believe because of the epa case has the obligation to address the issue to follow the of process set by
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congress. >> you do realize the sea levels are rising one reason the storm surge was so high. i need you to be vigilant. lives are at stake will you be vigilant but. >> obviously we will address those issues i a appreciate your passion on this issue. one that is equally concerning flighty as rates but most lawsuits that you did file worker for businesses but human safety was few and far between the
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will of a much important role to play and to talk about mercury if you believe that is a threat to to oppose that from power plants because it is too costly than what do you think should be done to address the for carry solution? >> it is a hazardous air pollutant it is what they should regulate with the framework established by this body. said it did not follow the cost benefit but simply they did not a gauge and a record pace support that goes back to be committed to the rule of law to make sure that the rules are passed that they
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could be upheld in court. >> i anders stand there is a cost. i have spent to the emergency room with a child who cannot read people have died because none of the teachers knew what to do when a child high as an asthma attack. pdf to believe that it is far higher than the cost to clean up the air. i need you to feel as if your children sitting behind you are in the emergency room. >> cost is not a factor because that is the focus. >> we preview this with a horrible problem in new york
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state with groundwater that is polluted we have the largest for site in the hudson river for families who don't have money they fish in the hudson river they eat that finished the contaminants are real and destroy lives and also the economy because then you cannot sell your house or industries relying on tourism is a huge problem is a sample of the chemical that needs to be tested if it is the carcinogen in knees to be beyond off cough cough. >> talking about his staff put the of princess safe roofing water act as well far. >> of with like to submit
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for the i.r.a. occurred the response raised by senator harris in response to her question and that corporate entity apparently was not correct. those cases that have ben active in and it shows the case that was initiated by mr. pruitt but his predecessor. >> having heard my colleagues have expressed concerns especially as it relates to climate change is not so. for the stewardship of creation by economist and
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legal scholars and religious leaders into hundred 30 citizens urging the confirmation the group includes the ph.d. of climatology and geography at the university of delaware saying he as demonstrated the open mindedness toward scientific insights crucial to the formulation and implementation of environmental regulation. to be quoted in the of press release to say some environmental activists are determined to prevent that confirmation as a science denier or climate change denier. he is a common-sense attorney-general to bring much-needed reform to the epa and the letter is submitted for the record.
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>> i think it has been a good hearing so far with that will be reassuring to the american people but i do object to what has happened to list those political contributions to suggest that somehow they make an individual suspect not qualified. my friend from from companies that have contributed to my campaign. and the appropriateness for the job should be challenged if faugh i am glad did added to the record from september september 6 from the "wall street journal" pointing out
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the democratic candidate clinton raise significantly more money than and donald trump from the oil and gas industry. day donated 149,000 as the july 30th compared with 525,000 to mrs. clinton. and hillary clinton would be suspect if nominated for the position of having the epa. i enjoy a your exchange about the chesapeake bay program. as i understand you actually applaud the program the way the epa worked?
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>> i applaud the effort by the state's in a coalition to address the of quality that is what we did in arkansas that has already been talked-about for flood effortful that other states ought to model and is providing assistance with respect to that agreement. >> with regard to the clean power plant and waters of the united states where do those regulations go wrong? >> the supreme court has said it is the unprecedented step for half-day issued a stay the coz of the likelihood of success that
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the clean power plant given to the co2 with respect to power generation and poses risks to public health and welfare. they do not go through the up proper process of power generation facilities though those matters fr rule of law. >> i have not delved into this as an attorney as you have been i can tell you the department of environmental quality told me emphatically that the clean power plan would put aside of business because we would not have had an alternative for to the coal that we use a hope we continue to make progress on this issue.
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the federal government uses a lot of wood. there are standards one is the tree far smaller negative tree farm system the epa seems to like this certification program called the forest stewardship council or also what is called fsc fedex routes 90% of the lumber and grown in the united states of america. we have had a lot of activity on both sides of the aisle to challenge this. i object to the interim recommendation made by the
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apa. discrimination now they have come back to tell us it is under review. the idea of the interim recommendations imposed on the entire industry and give us any thoughts about using the forest stewardship council model and the american tree farm system. >> do that briefly. >> as we discussed to be very concerned to make sure all voices are heard and is seeking confirmed in the interim there is a concern throughout the last several years that regulators seek
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guidance what is called for more roomy formal rulemaking to ensure that all voices are heard that is the point of the process. >> senator sanders i apologize for being late but we were at the hearing with the nominee for the hhs. is not a great idea to have important nominating here reset the same time. my office has received a great deal of comments as well as all over the country and the nomination of mr. pruitt is designed to protect the fossil fuel industry i would like to ask
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if i enter standard earlier in the hearing you said mr. trump was wrong that it was a hoax? benghazi made no and those of average and for the peer review journals have concluded that climate changes real and caused by human activity and already causing devastating problems in our country and around the world. do believe clementine's is caused by carbon emission and human activity quick. >> as i indicated the
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climate is changing and contributes to that in some manner. those of the peer review journals that human activity is a fundamental reason. day disagree? >> to measure with precision is subject to more debate whether the climate is changing. >> while you were not certain the vast majority of scientists are telling us if we don't get our act together to transform the energy system away from fossil fuels there is a real question the quality of the planet to leave our children and grandchildren you are applying for a job as said in this trader from the epa
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with the overwhelming majority of scientist and there needs to be more debate? >> no senator. it is changing. >> q have not told me what you think. >> job is to carry out the statute of this body. >> why is it changing? >> in response to this co2 issue i am constrained by statutes. >> with a personal opinion. >> that is immaterial. >> really quite. >> to the job. >> q. are the head of the agency to protect the environment in your personal view is immaterial quick. >> i acknowledge human activity impacts that does not tell us it impacts it says it is the cause do you
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believe we have to transform the energy system to protect the planet would. >> it is important role. >> you did not answer my question. willett transform away from fossil fuels that the plan is healthy for the children and grandchildren? to make it has an important role to regulate co2. >> oklahoma has been subjected to a referee freaking number of earthquakes. scientists say oklahoma is almost certain that more and the cause is racking. -- racking so can you tell
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me for the waste tracking water? >> i am very concerned activity is an oklahoma leslie fay you took action food did you find? to make the corporation commission and we have acted on that. >> and you have expressed your deep concern? a record-breaking number of earthquakes obviously you have stood up to do everything you can as a result of tracking greg. >> i have knowledge without concern. >> if that is the administrator for the epa
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they knew it knowledge if that is the illustrator you will be will not get my vote >> q. can seem requested this point in the record and a 97%. >> i have little time left to talk about over regulation hockey of manufacturing over the last eight years and the jobs at go with them in the manufacturing of those goods that will produce those in no less friendly way do you agree this harms only the
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u.s. economy? >> when we don't hear all voices in the rulemaking process absolutely. >> knopf for in the op ed to say scott pruitt is ready to turn around the epa i cannot think of anyone else more suited to has acknowledged human impact on climate to support the discussion but they should ado to discuss that this was the couple of years ago the red tape making america sec making long-term unemployment illnesses their premature death it hurts family
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well-being and the scientist to point to the unemployment rate as a risk factor for the elevated will tell this the industry's performance for eighties with a suicide and alcohol abuse drug abuse soon the regulations that come out actually contributes to the deterioration and don't know if you have any comments on that. >> we have seen similar issues with prescription drug abuse at rates that our unprecedented. there is a similar concern in oklahoma. >> i appreciate your patience and honesty we will
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come back in an hour increase in the second hour of questioning. the committee is in recess. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [iud


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