U.S. Senate Confirms EPA Nominee Advances Commerce Nominee CSPAN February 16, 2017 5:59pm-8:00pm EST
just simply should not simply rely on the oil industry to fuel our vehicles. renewable fuels are an important competitor. as i mentioned, there's strong bipartisan support for renewable fuels and i've worked closely with many friends across the aisle for many years on this issue. and of course the further ethanol and renewable fuels take us, the less depend entsz we'll -- dependent we'll be on foreign oil. we need and want a mixed fuel supply. now is not the time to waiver on support for renewable fuels. the e.p.a. administrator has many flexibilities under the law to slow or make changes to the renewable fuel standard, and that is why i'm concerned about the past record of this nominee on this important issue. another reason why we need consistent and effective leadership at the e.p.a. is in the fight to maintain and restore the great lakes.
our great lakes contain 09% of our -- 90% of our nation's supply of fresh surface water and provide drinking water for 30 million americans, and our economy, the great lakes combined economic impact is so enormous that restoration alone is estimated to provide $50 billion in long-term economic benefits. that's why last year's water infrastructure improvements for the nation act reauthorized the great lakes restoration initiative. these projects have helped eliminate toxins from our waters, combat invasive species, something really critical in my state with invasive carp; protect against pollution; restore habitats for fish and whiled life; and promote the overall health of the lakes. the administrator of the e.p.a. is responsible for leading efforts to implement, administer and distribute grand funding across agencies that
undertake restoration activities. minnesota, as i noted, is home to a driving outdoor economy that relies on clean water free of invasive species. it is vital that our next e.p.a. administrator continue to take action to stop the spread of invasive carp before they reach the great lakes and many of our most important northern waters. my background, my grandpa was an iron other miner. he worked 1500 feet under ground in the mines most of his life. every day when he went down in that cage he would always think about what he like to do in the outdoors. he loved to hunt. he loved to visit once a year when they would borrow a car from my uncle they would go to see lake superior. so i want an e.p.a. administrator that sees that, yes, you want a strong economy. and, yes, those things can work together with the environment. but you also need to preserve that outdoors and that wildlife and those great lakes that my
grandpa and my family hold so dear. mr. pruitt has articulated extreme views about the role of the e.p.a., but there's a bigger problem here. we still don't know his full views and record. my colleagues who sit on the environment and public works committee have asked mr. pruitt to produce critical documents that will clarify his record and vision for the e.p.a. and 19 times mr. pruitt told senators that they should get the information from his attorney general's office. well, they tried and they have not succeeded. the oklahoma attorney general's office told them that they have a two-year backlog for such requests. in committee questions for the record, my colleagues asked mr.g and provide the committee with these communications. once again he declined. mr. pruitt has not provided the
senate with the information that we need to make an informed decision about his nomination. the e.p.a. administrator will be entrusted with protecting the health and well-being of americans. this is a tremendous responsibility. that's why americans deserve a clear picture of mr. pruitt's record on protecting public health, clean air, and clean water, including a review of the e-mails that were ordered to be released today. now i'd like to turn to another topic and actually after watching parts of the president's lengthy and unpredictable news conference today, i came upon some of the parts dealing with russia. and i thought it was important that i come down to the floor and address them. the part of the press conference that i saw was where the president referred to the reporting that's been done on russia as fake news. the reporting that's been done
about all of the contacts between members of his campaign and the russian intelligence agencies, i assume he includes the reporting that's been done on the phone call that was made to the russian ambassador and the various other reporting that we've seen about, that is very troubling about this administration's dealing with russia from the campaign time to the transition to the president. and i would just like to say that this is far from fake news, that this is fact. and if you don't believe it's fact, then that means that you don't believe 17 united states intelligence agencies, and that instead you take the word of russians, russian intelligence and putin's word. i go with our 17 u.s. intelligence agencies who have made it very clear that russia has been attempting to influence
our election. and i certainly, this was borne out to me when senator mccain and senator graham and i visited the baltics and ukraine and georgia at the end of last year, in december. what we saw there and what we heard there makes you know that this is not just one single instance of russia trying to influence one candidate's campaign or even one election or even one country's election. that this is a modus op randy, that they have -- modus operandi. they have done this before. they did it in estonia. when they were mad they moved the statue, they shut down the internet. they did it with the lithuanians when they had the audacity to invite members of parliament that were in compile, lithuania invites them to their 25th
anniversary celebration of their independence from russia. what happens? russia attacks the accounts of members of the lithuanian department. i have already expressed deep concern about this administration's lack of transparency on a variety of critical issues, but nowhere is this more true than when it comes to this administration's interactions with the russian government. for months u.s. intelligence agencies have said that russia used covert cyber attacks, espionage and harmful propaganda, $200 million worth, to try and undermine our democracy. reports show it, and the facts prove it. and unlike what the president said today at the press conference, this is not fake news. last week, in fact, we learned that the very day president obama imposed sanctions on russia for their unprecedented attacks on our democracy, a member of the trump transition team spoke to a senior russian official regard those
sanctions, and then did not tell the truth about it. the national security advisor, the person charged with the most sensitive matters of u.s. national security, misled the vice president and in turn the american people. we have now seen two people resign: the campaign manager for trump's campaign and the national security advisor. and one of the things they have in common is russia and a relationship with russia. so, no, this is not what the president said at his press conference today or earlier in a tweet. this is not about some kind of sour grapes. those were not his words but his implication about the loss of hillary clinton. that is not what this is. this is not about her loss in the last campaign. no. these are facts that have emerged since that time that i think are important to everyone. and i appreciated the words a fuel months ago from senator
rubio, who -- a few months ago from senator rubio who said this is not about one campaign, this is not about one election because it could quickly turn on the other party. we have an obligation as united states senators to protect our democracy. that's what this is about. to making sure we have fair and free elections that are not influenced by foreign government. today senator -- today secretary mattis said that russians' behavior is aggressive and destabilizing. i thought that was a good caricature of not only what we've seen in our own country, but also what we've seen overseas. and then he went on to say, is that right now we are not negotiating from a position of strength. well, that is certainly true when our own president then a few hours later takes to the stage and says that this is simply fake news and that we're simply even talking about russians' aggression as some kind of response to the loss in
the last campaign. we need to know the full extent of the administration's contact with the russian government during the campaign and transition, including what was said, what was done, and who knew about it. and only then will we answer that fourth "w" who, what, where, it is the only way we're going to answer why. why was this administration so focused on trying to placate russia? i recently joined senators cardin, leahy in early january to introduce legislation that would create an independent nonpartisan commission to look at the facts and to make recommendations about how we can handle future elections so they will be free and safeguarded from foreign interference. this would of course be in addition to the thorough investigation that i have been assured will occur with the intelligence committee under the leadership of senator burr and
senator warner. in the last few weeks we have heard a lot about the three branches of government and our systems of checks and balances. one of the fundamental jobs of congress is to closely oversee the executive branch to ensure that the law is being properly followed and enforced. i think my colleagues on both sides of the aisle understand how important that is. now i'm the ranking member of the senate rules committee, and one of our jobs is to oversee our election system. a big part of my job as the democratic leader of this committee will be to ensure that our election system is safe from foreign interference in the future. intelligence experts have been clear, russian interference in our 2016 election was not an anomaly. the threat of future tampering is real and immediate. as senator rubio said, as i
just noted, this time it was the democrats who were attacked. the next time it could be a republican. and it is not, it is not something that is limited to one party. future threats could come in the form of more misinformation that could range from using social media to disrupt the voting process, or they could even be about hacking into state reporting web sites to alter vote totals. russia's goal is to create confusion and undermine people's trust in our democratic institutions. that's why they spent $200 million last year to fund the spread of fake news. we need solutions and not more problems. just this week the house voted to eliminate the election -- this last month, the election assistance commission, the only federal agency charged with protecting american elections from hacking. as ranking member of the rules committee, i find this
unconscionable. we have to do more, not less to protect american elections from foreign interference. the e.a.c. and the department of homeland security were in communication with state election officials prior to election day promoting cybersecurity best practices. our agencies have ensured that safeguards like provisional ballots would allow people to cast ballots even if their systems were hacked. we have to do more, not less, to support this effort. that's why i'm currently developing legislation that will protect our elections from foreign interference. we're going to work with the e.a.c., the d.h.s. and all 50 states to protect voting systems and registration data bases from cybersecurity threats. we'll also make sure state and local election officials have the resources they need to make these critical cybersecurity upgrades. recent news events show us just how severe the problem is. now we have to come up with the
solutions. my republican colleague, senator mccain, got it right yesterday when he said this, and this gets to the security issue that goes even beyond our elections. general flynn posts -- general flynn's resignation raises further questions about the trump administration's intentions toward vladimir putin's russia, including statements by the president suggesting moral equivalent between the united states and russia despite its invasion of ukraine, annexation of crimea and threats to our nato allies. the day that the obama administration was imposing sanctions on russia and the trump campaign was allegedly undermining those sanctions, i was with senators mccain and graham in eastern europe. the goal of our trip was to reinforce support for nato and our allies in the face of increased russian aggression. we visited the baltics, ukraine and georgia, countries on the front lines of these fights, and they know russia's play book
well. in our meetings with presidents and prime ministers of those countries, it was increasingly evident that if we don't stop russia now, cyber attacks against governments, political parties, newspapers and companies will only get worse. this is a pattern of waging cyber attacks and military invasions against democratic governments across the world. ukraine itself has been targeted by russian hackers more than 6,500 times in just the past two months. and i used earlier the examples of estonia and lithuania. but 6,500 times in just the past two months. and now we have evidence that russia is working to undermine the elections in france and germany. this is not just about defending our own democracy. it is about defending the democratic way of life and democracies across the world. we must be in a united front in fighting russian aggression, and we must make it clear to
russia that there are consequences for their actions. that's why i joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues to introduce the countering russian hostilities act, legislation that would impose strong sanctions against russia. these sanctions would address cyber attacks, human rights violations and the illegal annexation of land in ukraine and georgia. the world continues to look to america for its steadfast, steady leadership. the united states, a beacon for freedom and democracy, must continue to stand up against russian aggression. the leader of our country should not be calling these reports that have been substantiated by 17 u.s. intelligence agencies fake news. and that's what happened today. on new year's eve, together with the ukrainian president poroshenko and senator mccain and senator graham, we stood at the border of eastern ukraine,
two years after russia's illegal annexation of crimea, two years after the invasion of eastern ukraine, 10,000 lives lost. ukrainian soldiers stood and they have continued to stand protecting their homeland and defending their democracy. for years our allies have been subject to aggression and invasions, but they are undeterred, unwilling to give up what they fought so hard for: independence, freedom, and democracy. if we are committed to ensuring that russia's hacking, invasions, and blackmail do not go unchecked, we must do everything in our power to uncover the full extent of this interference in our own political system, as our allies stand there every day losing people on the front line, looking to us for support, looking to us. we cannot turn our own back on an invasion, a cyber invasion on
our own democracy. we must also stand up for independence, freedom, and democracy. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that lida rubachen be granted floor privileges for the remainder of this congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: i want to thank my colleague from oklahoma for graciously allowing me to proceed ahead of him. he is, as ever, a terrific colleague. i would like to associate mysef with the remarks of my colleague from minnesota. i, too, led a delegation, two republican house members and two senate democrats, to eastern europe in august and observed many of the same issues and concerns that she just raised and have joined herks along with ten -- and have expwroine -- ane joined her along with ten
others. let me torn the matter at hand, the nomination of scott pruitt to serve as director of the e.p.a. mr. president, i want to thank my colleagues, many of whom have come to the floor to speak about the nomination of scott pruitt to lead the e.p.a. and most essentially my senior senator and friend from my home state of delaware, tom carper, ranking member of the environment and public works committee, who has ably led this fievment i'm glad to be able to join my colleagues to make clear why in my view someone who doesn't believe in a core federal role in protecting the environment is not the right person to lead the federal agency charged with just that mission. it is possible that we in this chamber have now forgotten why the environmental protection agency was created in the first place. the idea of federal protection of our environment really started to take hold when the cuyahoga river caught fire. again, in june of 1969. the public outrage that
rightfully followed this near spontaneous combustion of a river helped lead to the e.p.a.'s creation in 1970 and the passage of the clean air act the same year and the clean water act in 1972. now, nearly a half-century lairkts it's precisely because these laws and others like them have been successful in making us healthier and safer that it's easy to forget why we need them. but institutions like the e.p.a. does run themselves. the environment doesn't protect itself, and a big oil and gas and coal companies certainly don't police themselves. that is why the e.p.a. exists. and you would certainly hope that at the very least the administrator of that agency would support that core mission. yet we are this evening considering the nomination of someone whose main experience with environment protection at the federal level is filing lawsuits against the federal environmental protection agency. in fact, he's filed 14 of those lawsuits in just six as attorney general of the state of oklahoma. and that's not all that he has done. scott pruitt in his confirmation
hearing refused to recuse himself from consideration of future cases which he brought against the e.p.a., if confirmed. mr. pruitt has also suggested that senators who want more information about the details of his record should file foia requests rather than providing that information voluntarily and he has described himself as quote, a leading advocate against the federal e.p.a.'s agenda. scott pruitt has not been able to name in confirmation hearings one single environmental protection statute that he supports. in my view, that's unacceptable for a state attorney general, let alone someone nominated to be our nation's highest-ranking environmental protection official. mr. pruitt's disdain for the core mission of the e.p.a. leaves me, without a doubt, that he is unfit to take on this important role. but that's not all. scott pruitt either ignores or is ignorant of the core and important science of climate change, mercury, lead exposure, ocean acidification to name just
a few of many topics covered in his hearing. mr. pruitt acknowledges that the climate is changing but says that the role, the influence of human activity is -- quote -- "subject to debate." and i am here to say this evening that is simply not true. only in an alternative universe based on alternative facts is the human impact on climate change still subject to debate. that's like saying that scott pruitt is fit to lead the e.p.a. is subject to debate. i think after an exhaus exhauste hearing it is not true. scott pruitt also led a lawsuit that would reducemarkry emissions from coal-fired power plants. he argued that it was too expensive, too burdensome. but he also questioned whether mercury itself was harmful to health. on that issue, the science is clear. mercury has devastating effects on the development of the human nervous system and does mr. pruitt not ghat or does he not care? those are pressing questions for me.
during his confirmation process, mr. pruitt was confused about ocean acidification, a process explained by really very basic science and a quiffs left with was -- and a question i was left with was whether mr. pruitt didn't get it or just didn't care. in that same hearing he mate made statements that he was unfamiliar with federal standards with regard to lead and drinking water. i had to ask myself if he simply hasn't heard of flint, michigan, or was not concerned. mr. president, my office alone has received nearly 1,000 calls and e-mails from delawareans sples expressing concern about scott pruitt and the future of the e.p.a. under his potential leadership, expressing concern and opposition. delawareans have reached out to me saying they're worried about their kids with asthma, they're worried about clean drinking water for their families, they're border protecting our rivers, wetlands in other plac places. with scott pruitt at the helm of the e.p.a., they are right to be worried. let me end by sharing an excerpt
of a letter from one of citizens units from my hometown of wilmington, delaware. "please write against scott pruitt as leader of the e.p.a. our children's future, their health and welcome, and their right to inherit a universe we've not destroyed may depend on it." she is absolutely rievment our kids do deserve a better environmental future. for her and all the delawareans who have contacted me and my friend and colleague from my home state, i hear you and i intend to vote against scott pruitt. if my colleagues in the senate really want to stop pollution, we can start by keeping scott pruitt from going to lead the e.p.a. our environment should not be for sale, should not be neglected, and should not be turned aaside from being the core mission of the a. e.p.a. and i think we all should stand firm against the nomination of scott pruitt to lead that important agency. with that, mr. president, thank you. and i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: mr. president, it is an absolute honor to rise to speak in behalf of scott pruitt he has been a leader in the state of oklahoma and struggling to enforce the law in oklahoma as its written and as its consistent with the constitution. he's a statesman, he's a a dedicated public servant. as administrator of the earnings i fully expect -- as administrator of the e.p.a., i fully expect scott to be able to follow every law to do what's best for the present and for the future. i've heard some people talk about their opposition to scott's nomination. saying they don't believe that scott should -- believes in clean air, in clean water. that's not the issue for scott.
scott absolutely believes in clean air and clean water and the accusations that he wants clean air and clean water is ludicrous. the question for scott is not if we should have clean air and clean water, it's who is the primary steward of of our clean air and our clean water. everyone has a role. we are a nation that's connected to each other. what happens in one state does affect another state. that's why we have a national strategy working with the environmental protection agency. but in the clean water act and in the clean air act, the states are given primary responsibility through what's called a state implementation plan to determine what's best i and the best solution to be able to deal with the issues. scott has fought for states to be allowed to be in the driver's seat with regard to all of the state resources arguing for those that work at wind farms and oilfields and on cattle rarchl--ranchers, who breejt aid
live there. the people that should have the loudest voice should be the people that live there. he is not been alone in this fight. as the attorney general of oklahoma, he stood shoulder to shoulder with more than half of the states to en sure the federal government omp operates within the bounds and statute of the constitution. he's consistently argued that the e.p.a. promulgate -- when they promulgate that violate that basic principle of state implementation plan should stop do what the e.p.a. does berveghts and have the e.p.a. push the states tote state staty do best. it is critical that the leader of an agency that has such wide latitude to extract costs on the economy should respect "the federalist" and fowrntion that we have nt and the pocketbooks of hardworking families as well as our air and water. in previous congressional testimony, he stressed the importance of laws like the clean air act, stressing the intention was for states and the
e.p.a. to work together under a model of cooperative federalism that protects the environment while considering economic costs. scott pursued cases against the e.p.a. and other federal agencies in an effort to enable an embolden our state government officials to craft the legislation that needs to be done. miss focus has been not to eliminate environmental protections. it's to honor our country with tremendous diversity, from the rocky mountains to open desserts -- deserts to beautiful woodland areas. the issues that we face on the environment in the concrete jungle of washington, d.c., is different than it is in woodward, oklahoma. let me give you an example of one of those cases. it is a case where the e.p.a. created a new regulation called waters of the u.s. it dramatically changed the definition of what are the areas that the e.p.a. could oversee. and increased their rule, their regulatory authority by millions
of acres just in one regulatory sweem. the courts immediately stepped in and stopped this and scott pruitt and many other states attorney generals said the e.p.a. doesn't have the right to be able to step into almost every inch of our state and say they suddenly have regulatory authority. the court said this. the court said, we conclude that petitioners have demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their claims. furthermore, they said this. what is of great concern do us in balancing the harms is the burden potentially visited nationwide on government bodies, state and federal as well as private parties. the court stepped in and agreed with scott pruitt that the e.p.a. was overreaching, in that case, it's still in the courts right now. that is a reasonable thing to be able to do for an attorney general that has the responsibility to not only manage the legal issues of the state but to also watch out for the consumers of the state. as funny as it sounds, if you go to the e.p.a.'s web site today
and look at oklahoma and air quality, here's what it says. the e.p.a. web site today reads, c.a.a. permitting in oklahoma, clean air act permitting in oklahoma is the responsibility of the air quality division exit of the oklahoma department of environmental quality. the e.p.a.'s web site today says the responsibility for this is from the department of environmental quality in oklahoma. all our attorney general has done is said to the e.p.a., you should probably follow the law or at least your own web site to be able to hand all the permitting issues of who has authority to do this. for the past month, i've heard senator after senator come to this floor and describe my great state of oklahoma in a way that makes scott pruitt sound like an ogre and my state sound like a toxic waste dump. let me give up an example. attorney general pruitt has been
dismissed by some who say that he has personally been engaged in leading our state to such terrible air quality that the american lung association has given the counties in oklahoma an "f" rating. that's an interesting accusation until you actually go to the american lung association web site and see they give almost every county in america an "f" rating. in fact, they give every county in delaware an "f" rating in air quality. they categorize those under high ozone days. in one of three counties they barely skated by with a "d" for delaware. while in oklahoma, the two largest metropolitan areas actually received an "a" from the american lung association. similarly that same study, rhode island, lacks a single county that doesn't get an "f" for air quality on high ozone
days. while only two counties received a passing grade for particulate pollution. the accusation that somehow the american lung association has looked at scott pruitt and his record on environmental policy and has given us a dirty air quality is not actually true when you actually see the full study. what's interesting as well as the e.p.a. publishes data about whether the counties meet the national ambient air quality standards, and they have six criteria that the e.p.a. puts out. in fact, recently they dropped the criteria significantly from the previous years. what's interesting as well is for oklahoma, last week the e.p.a. released out their national ambient air quality standards to try to determine which counties have attainment for the standard or nonattainment. guess what? every single county in oklahoma, all 77, is attainment. even the new standard that was
just released that we don't even have to operate under, we already meet those standards for ambient air quality. meanwhile, maryland has 12 counties in nonattainment for at least one of those criteria. connecticut has eight counties that don't meet those standards. california has 38 of their 58 counties failing to meet those standards in at least one criteria. 77 counties in oklahoma, every single one of them meets attainment. i don't hear anyone standing on this floor challenging the attorney general of california or of maryland or of connecticut and demonizing them and accusing them of not taking care of the air and the water in their state. by the way, i've also heard on this floor as my state is being ripped apart for political gain, i've also heard on this floor over and over again that
asthma rates for children are catastrophically high in oklahoma. and scott pruitt should have been more engaged filing lawsuits so that asthma rates would go down. until you look at the c.d.c. web site for asthma rates for children, 10.1 in oklahoma. one child is too many. 10.1% in our state. but you can compare that to rhode island which is 12.4%. or michigan, which is 10.7%. vermont beat us, by the way. they're 9.9%. .2 below us. again, i don't hear anyone on this floor calling out the attorney general of vermont, michigan, and rhode island and saying they failed to protect their children because children have asthma in their state. another thing that's commonly said about scott in the state of oklahoma is he's committed to conventional energy sources and stuck in the past dealing with
oil and gas. i tell you, oklahoma is rightfully proud of a history of oil and gas in our state. we have unlocked resources that is absolutely powered our nation forward. we also have an incredible group of visionaries in our state that are driving renewable resources as fast as we're driving oil and gas in our state. for all the folks that are here bark bashing on oil and gas, i would remind you that you traveled to washington, d.c. on a plane, in a car, or on a train that was powered by oklahoma energy. so you're welcome. and i would assume two weeks from now when we return back to session you're going to ride in on a horse just to be able to spite oklahoma's energy. probably not. but can i remind you of something? what's often overlooked about oklahoma and what's not been stated here is that oklahoma truly is an all of-of-the-above
energy state: solar, hydro electric, geothermal, wind, oil, gas, coal. let me give you an example. just one of the examples from that. recent data shows that oklahoma ranks third nationally in total wind power. we just passed california for total wind production. we're just barely behind iowa and texas. the install capacity for oklahoma alone just in wind generation, 1.3 million households powered by wind power out of oklahoma. i will admit i'm a little biased about my state, but i'm weary of hearing people inaccurately demean the air and water in oklahoma and try to accuse it for something that is not true for their political benefit. here's my invitation to any member of this body. why don't you come home to
oklahoma with me? i'll buy you some great barbecue and drive you around the state. i'll take you from the green country in the northeast part of the state over to kinton, oklahoma and black mason and see the majestic area around our panhandle. we'll drive four wheelers in little sahara. maybe drive down to beaver's bend park and stand under the tall trees, put our feet in the crystal clear water of that river. i'll even take you to my house in oklahoma city, a community of a million people that exceeds the e.p.a. air quality standards for ambient air quality. we say in oklahoma the land we belong to is grand, and we mean it. and we're passionate about our land. and we're passionate about our air and water. and i will tell you that scott pruitt is passionate about his state and what we do there. i will tell you how political this has really become.
mike terpin, former attorney general of the state of oklahoma and by the way, also the former chairman of the oklahoma democratic party. mike, when it was announced that scott pruitt was going to be tapped to be e.p.a., he released this statement. oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt is a good choice to head the environmental protection agency. i am convinced scott pruitt will work to protect our natural habitats, reserves and resources. his vision for a proper relationship between the protection and prosperity makes him superbly qualified to serve as our next e.p.a. administrator. that is from the former head of the oklahoma democratic party. so for my colleagues, i found a good reason for every cabinet nominee to delay, delay, delay, this has now been the slowest confirmation process for any president since george washington.
the tradition has always been the president won an election. he should be able to hire his own staff and his own cabinet and get busy going to work. that's what the american people asked him to do. and scott pruitt deserves an up-or-down vote. and he deserves our trust to be able to take on and follow the law, doing what the e.p.a. has required them to do. scott pruitt is a friend. and i understand that some folks have attacked him that have only met him in a hearing or read about him on some blog site. but i prayed with scott. i've seen scott struggle with hard decisions that affect our state's future. i've seen scott listen to people from all sides of an issue. and i've seen him take difficult stands. i think he'll be an excellent e.p.a. administrator. and i think he'll make some wise choices to not only protect what's happening now, but to be able to help protect us for the
future. you see, scott's a husband and a dad as well. and he cares also about the future of our country. and i think he's going to go after it and to be able to be an excellent administrator in the days ahead. mr. president, i ask that i have a second moment to speak and be separated out. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lankford: mr. president, quick moment just to be able to reflect. i have a staff member named brian burkey. he's running off. he's been quite a, quite a leader. he's leaving us to be able to take on a new task and a new role. since 2010, he's been a tremendous asset to the united states senate. scott burkey is a student of senate procedures. he's the one in the office that everyone wishes they had because
when something comes up and someone has some novel new idea of how the rules work, he's typically the one on the corner saying, yeah, that really won't work and here's why. he's been sharp on budget issues, on tax issues, efficiency in government. he's been the one that's been passionate about national debt and not just talking about national debt, actually trying to solve it. brian burkey is one of those unique staffers not trying to make a point. he's trying to actually solve the problem. he was mentored by a guy named dr. tom coburn who wasn't too bad at those issues himself. and he's led well. and i'm proud that he's been on my staff. and as he leaves out from the senate, he will be sorely missed by this whole body, even by people that never met him. he had an impact based on the things that he worked on. if you want to get a chance to visit with brian burkey, though, you can talk about senate procedures and tax policy and nerdy budget issues, or you can chat with him about oklahoma
state football. he spent his time through college working for the oklahoma state football team watching the films and breaking down every single play, preparing the team for practice and for the game days. he's a great student of people and of process. and i diswruft want to be able to pass -- i just want to be able to pass on to the president that this guy named brian burkey that's leaving the senate in the next week and he'll be sorely missed by this senate and by our team in the days ahead. with that, i yield back.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, last year was the hottest year on record. 16 of the last 17 years have the warmest years ever recorded. climate change science is some of the most thoroughly established and well-tested research in history. and 97% of the published research says climate change is real and caused by humans. climate change is an urgent threat to our health, our national security, and our economy. how we address it is what we need to debate, not whether it is real. and as i have said before, i will work with anyone in this
chamber, republican or democrat, to address this issue. and that's appropriate because survey after survey of people in colorado, a state that's a third democratic, a third republican, and a third independent, demonstrates that they believe the science, no matter which party they belong to. and a very welcome sign, just last week a group of statesmen, including former secretary of state james baker, the third former secretary of state, george schultz, former secretary of treasury, henry paulson jr., all republicans, released what they described as a conservative climate solution. these distinguished leaders have come together at just the right moment, at the perfect moment because our new president says
that he's, quote, not a big believer in climate change. in fact, he claimed during the campaign that climate change was a hoax invented by the chinese to make united states manufacturing noncompetitive. consistent with that view, the president's nominee to run the environmental protection agency, scott pruitt, recently said that the debate over climate change is, quote, far from settled. he wondered in december whether global warming is, quote, true or not, whether it's caused by humans and whether the earth is cooling instead of heating. as attorney general of oklahoma, he sought to prevent the very agency he has been nominated to lead from fighting climate change, suing the e.p.a. 14 times. it's important, i guess, to note
that while it's rare for somebody in america to share these views, attorney general pruitt is not alone in his extreme views in the new president's cabinet. rick perry, the nominee to be secretary of energy, wrote in his book that climate science is, quote, all one contrived phony mess and that the earth is actually, quote, experiencing a cooling trend. ben carson, nominated to run the department of housing and urban development, said it's unclear if, quote, temperatures are going up or going down. rex tillerson, the new secretary of state, said none of the models agree on how climate change works. mr. trump's c.i.a. director mike pompeo said, there are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change.
when the pope -- when the pope was talking about the importance of addressing climate change, which he said was a very real threat, there was an american politician who said, the pope should stick to religion understand that he wasn't a scientist. in fact, the pope is a chemist, he is a scientist. i am glad he's using his voice on this important issue. carbon dioxide concentrations have risen from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history. that significant change -- i'm sorry, mr. president. i distracted myself. i'm going to go back. and to be clear, what i was saying earlier about the
nominees, some nominees seem to have undergone a confirmation process evolution on climate. but this seems more an effort to hide their extreme views in an effort to be confirmed rather than a genuine conversion based on facts or science, and that's a shame. because the world cannot wait for this administration to stop ignoring the science. over the past 150 years, human activity has driven up greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere higher and faster than at any time over the first -- over the last 400,000 years. that's not surprising because we've pumped almost 400 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution. carbon dioxide concentrations, as a result, have risen from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million for the first time
in recorded history. that significant change over an insignificant period of time is dramatically changing the earth. these emissions act like closed car windows. they allow light and heat in, but they don't allow most of the heat to ever escape. already record heating has melted ice sheets as large as texas, georgia, and new york combined. adding billions of tons of water to our oceans every year. these rising seas have partially submerged cities in florida and georgia several times a year. they threaten 31 towns and cities in alaska with imminent destruction. they're forcing a city in louisiana to relocate its residents, away from what is now an almost permanently flooded coast. by 230rbgs there won't -- by 2030, there won't be any
glaciers left in montana's glacier national park. while extreme events and natural disasters become more frequent, so do the effects climate change has on our daily lives. in my home state, seven out of ten coloradans know that climate change is happening. nearly half say they have personally experienced its effects. short erwin terse already threaten -- shorter winters already threaten colorado's ski and snow boarding industry and its jobs. since the snow is melting sooner, there is not enough warmer for what are now longer summers. colorado farmers are forced to grow food with less water, a changing growing season and higher temperatures. our agriculture industry employs over 170,000 coloradans and contributes more than $40 billion a year to our economy. these changes are not only
threatening farmers' livelihoods but changing production and frood prices at grows -- and food prices at grocery stores. our beer dry is even weighing in. this week i received a letter from 32 brewers from around the country, including three from colorado, who oppose scott pruitt's nomination because they depend on america's clean water resources to brew their beer. hotter summers and the droughts they prolong cause wildfires that now burn twice as much land every year than they did 40 years ago. together, state and federal agencies are paying nearly $4 billion a year to fight those fires. warmer waters and drought are hurting animals everywhere, like our cut-throat trout populations in colorado, and that's not just a problem for the fish, mr. president. in colorado, rivers generate
more than $9 billion of economic activity every year, including supporting nearly 80,000 jobs. as warmer temperatures increase and spread across regions, so do incidents of vector-born diseases such as west nile virus. and what do we do when we have longer, hotter summers? we crank up the air conditioning, burning more fossil fuel and only perpetuating the problem. i understand that sometimes it's hard to focus on climate change when the effects seem distant, but it should be impossible to ignore the immediate national security threat posed by climate change. that's here today. here in the senate in 2015 we passed a budget amendment with bipartisan support to support national security by addressing
human-induced climate change. that's what the amendment said. it got bipartisan support. the former secretary of defense, the former director of national intelligence, former admiral in charge of u.s. naval forces in the pacific have all warned us that climate change is a threat to our national security. around the world climate change is increasing natural disasters. refugee flows and conflicts over basic resources like food and water, complicated america americaninvolvement in security. climate change is linked to drought and crop loss and failure in southern africa, leaving more than six million children malnourished by famine. it is increasing monsoons and haiti waves in pakistan, driving 11 million people out of their homes. it is even connected to water
and food shortages that have intensified civil unrest from egypt to syria. at home climate change already has cost us billions to relocate and buffer military infrastructure from coastal erosion and protect military installations from energy outages. at the u.s. atlantic fleet in norfolk, virginia, the largest naval installation in the world, sea levels have risen over a foot in the past 100 years. all the systems that support military readiness from electrical utilities to housing at that base are vulnerable to extreme flooding. when the department of defense recognizes the reality of climate change, that's their words, and the significant risk it poses to u.s. interests globally, that's their words, we should listen.
when the nation's most recent national security strategy says, quote, climate change is an urgent and growing threat, we should act. as a senator from colorado, i understand very well why people sometimes are frustrated when the e.p.a., for instance, does not take action or sometimes when it does take action. there are certainly some regulations that don't make sense where a well-intentioned idea from washington ends up not making sense when it hits the ground. and that's why i fought to revise e.p.a. fuel storage tank regulations that hurt farmers and ranchers and businesses in my home state without much
purpose. i supported an amendment making the agency take another look at a new regulation that burdens families trying to remodel older homes. there are other regulations that i've voted to get rid of. i supported, for instance, lifting the export ban on crude oil from the united states of america, a deal that we passed last year in connection with a five-year extension of the tax credits for wind and solar energy, a great deal for the state of colorado, both the lifting of the crude oil ban export and the extension of the tax credits for wind and solar. and i've also supported and fought for our coal communities. in colorado, working with my colleague senator gardner, i fought to keep the could i i wouldia -- to keep the kayawoya
mine open. mr. president, i have to say tonight that the often-asserted claim that efforts to regulate carbon or more generally to protect our water and our air have significantly led to job losses in this country is false. this argument is a fraud perpetrated by politicians making promises that are broken from the start. the reality -- it is important to understand the reality so we can remedy the situation. the reality is that free market forces and not mostly federal regulations are transforming american electricity production. american coal employment peaked in the early 1980's, long before we began seriously expanding renewable energy.
natural gas has been gaining market share compared to coal since before 1990. colorado, for example, has benefited greatly from this natural gas boom. in almost every part of the united states, natural gas plants are now cheaper to build than coal plants. facilities that were built when i became a senator eight years ago were built to import natural gas and are now being retrofitted to export natural gas to the rest of the world that's good for our environment and it's good for the geopolitical division of the united states. it is makingnewable electricity more affordable for everybody. the cost of the wind power fell 41%. the cost of large-scale so larnstallations fell 64%.
this has led to a 95% increase in so similar deployment in 2016 alone over 20 156789 the annual -- over 2015. the annual installation doubled in one year. if we truly want to support our rural communities, we should listen to teddy roosevelt who once said that conservation and rural life policies ar policiesy too sides of the same policy and down at the bottom, this policy rests upon the fundamental law that near the man nor nation can prosper unless in dealing with the present thought is steady given to the future. and the truth about the future is that there may be a lot of sound reasons to review, revisit, and even retire any number of federal regulations -- and i'll bet there are -- but
cutting regulations will not reopen shuttered coal mines. it is not about regulations or the e.p.a. or about a war on coal. economic factors, market factors are driving the shift from coal to natural gas and renewables. we need to recognize this shift, and we need to work to help coal communities adapt to a changing energy economy. they have contributed to the building of the economic vitality of this country. their work helped us win world war ii. we have to recognize the contribution. we can't just turn our backs. but we also need to acknowledge what's causing the changes thash occurring -- that are occurring in our energy production because if we can't acknowledge the causes, we can't fix the problem, we can't make a meaningful difference for people in the communities that are affected by these changes.
we can't fulfill of what become empty political promises. instead, make them real commitments on behalf of the american people. and we have to take advantage of the changes in energy production to fuel economic -- to fuel economic growth and create new jobs. already renewable energy is creating jobs around the country. energy efficiency employees 2 toy 2 million americans -- 2.2 million americans. solar wind companies employee 260,000 employees including 13,000 in my home state of colorado. colorado ranks first in the country in wind energy manufacturing. all together clean energy employment grew 29% between 2009 and 2014 in colorado.
this isn't a bolshevik plot as i said before on the floor. these are american jobs. these are manufacturing jobs. these are plants where it's not just about the winter but all the supply chain that goes along with it. they can't be made in china and shipped to the united states and installed here. these jobs and this supply chain are american jobs, and they're good jobs that pay a good wage. and it's meaningful to our economy. last year solar jobs grew 17 times faster than jobs in the rest of the national economy. they increased by 20% in colorado in one year. the expansion of natural gas, as i mentioned earlier, is also aiding our transition to cleaner energy economy. between 2005 and 2012, natural gas production grew by 35% in the united states. in colorado it expanded by 139%.
colorado now ranks sixth in the country in natural gas production. ten of the nation's hundred largest natural gas fields are now located in colorado. these industries together create good-paying jobs that can't be exported overseas, and all of these changes taken together are beginning to address climate change. from 2000 # to 2015 -- 2008 to 2015 the american secto sector d its carbon emissions by 9.5%. we rugsed our carbon emissions by almost 10% while the country's economy grew by more than 10%. and we -- and we're starting to see the same trend around the world. global emissions stayed flat in 2015 while the global economy grew. turning our back on reality is
not a recipe for job creation in this country. embracing the reality is. and so i would ask this new president after the campaign he ran and the promises he made why he would promote policies that will kill american jobs and industries. and unfortunately i regret to say this, mr. president, even though 70% of coloradans say that climate change is real and humankind is contributing to trks the answer to my -- to it, the answer to my question about this administration's policies comes back to what it believes, to what it believes is a debate on climate change. mr. president, if we allow science to become debatable, we can contort our thinking to fit any action at all to support or
undermine any public policy. we risk discarding facts we don't like and ignoring experts with whom we don't agree in favor of special interests who often dominate our political system. our country needs more from us than that. our national defense demands more than that from us. when state department analysts concluded with evidence over -- i'm sorry -- when state department analysts concluded that the evidence was science, that the keystone pipeline would not materially increase carbon emissions, facts lost in the phony debate here in washington, i voted for it against intense opposition from my own party and many of my strongest supporters. that was a painful vote, one of the most painful i have ever taken and difficult to explain to many people i admire, but i
was guided by the facts, not by politics. guided by the science, not by politics. and we've always drawn strength as a country from our belief in science, our confidence in reason and evidence. it's what harry truman called our unflinching passion for knowledge and truth. in school we teach children to support theories with facts and look to science to explore the world. when it comes to climate change, we cannot allow the narrow limits of political expediency and special interests to cloud our sound judgment. that is not a lesson we should be teaching our children who need us to act on climate. that would set a horrible example for the people that are coming after us. our ultimate success in addressing climate change will rely on the same scientific
method that sent us to the moon and eradicated smallpox. if we surrender evidence to ideology when it comes to climate change, we abandon the process of scientific inquiry. we leave ourselves completely unequipped to defend what we discovered to be true. we loosen our grip on the science that allows us to understand that evolution is real, that vaccines are effective, that something is true and that something else is false. that, not doubt and denial, is the lesson we should leave our children. that we had the courage to confront this challenge without bias, that we have the wisdom to follow facts wherever they lead. that's what this senate should
do. that's what our country should do. we have seen the evidence now. it is not theoretical anymore that we can grow our economy. in fact, that we will grow our economy. that we can conserve energy while we do it, that we can create entirely new industries and technologies to power the most significant economy that human beings have ever seen in the history of the world, and that we can deal with climate at the same time. the two are linked. that's not what apparently this president believes. that is not what his nominee for -- to be administrator of the environmental protection agency
believes. and because that's so far out of step with what colorado believes and for all the reasons i've talked about today for the sake of our climate and for good-paying american jobs all over this country but particularly in colorado, i am compelled to vote no on the president's nominee to head the environmental protection agency. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that a fellow on my staff, brian clark, be granted floor privileges for the remainder of this session. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: thank you. mr. president, i rise today to express my strong opposition to president trump's nomination of scott pruitt to be the next administrator for the environmental protection agency. the reason is simple.
in a choice between corporate polluters and people who want to breathe air and drink water, scott pruitt sides with the corporate polluters. he has no business as the head of the e.p.a. during his nomination hearing, mr. pruitt had countless opportunities to answer for his record. his responses were flippant, evasive, and outright misleading. he has been asked repeatedly to provide records from his office concerning dealings with big oil companies, but he told the the senators, hey, they should submit an open records request hoping that his confirmation would be over long before those documents would see the light of day. just a few hours ago an oklahoma district judge ordered a dose of sunshine for mr. pruitt's dirty dealings from his perch as
attorney general of oklahoma. the judge demanded that mr. pruitt cough up more than thousands of e-mails pertaining to his cozy relationship with big oil, e-mails that he has been hiding from oklahoma open records requests for over two years. but the republican leadership not interested in waiting. so their plan is to jam this nomination through tomorrow, four days before the e-mails are slated to become public. are you kidding me? if those e-mails show corruption, every senator should have that information before, not after they vote to put someone in charge of the e.p.a. who may be there for years. clean air and clean water used to be a nonpartisan issue. in earlier decades, leaders in both parties had the courage to say no to suffocating smog and
towering plumes of toxic chemicals poisoning our children. republicans and democrats came together and together they declared that access to clean air and clean water is a basic right for all americans. we passed the clean air act. we passed the clean water act. we updated those laws when necessary. we did those things together. and together we depend on the environmental protection agency for three critical reasons. the e.p.a. is the cop on the beat protecting american families from corporate polluters that would put profits ahead of safety. it watches out for us and for our children. the e.p.a. exists because pollution knows no state borde borders. what is burned at a power plant in ohio is breathed by children
across massachusetts. and the e.p.a. takes on the ever-changing task of researching, monitoring, and regulating toxic emissions because the job is far too great for any one state to tackle. to do all of this, the e.p.a. routinely turns to local governments, businesses, and innovative workers for local solutions. the e.p.a. turned to the university of massachusetts to create a research center to assist small-town water systems. the e.p.a. turned to towns along cape cod and on martha's vineyard to pursue innovative solutions to increase coastal resiliency as sea levels rise. and the e.p.a. recently recognized new bedford's exceptional work monitoring industrial waste discharge into the city's collection system. across massachusetts and across
the nation, the e.p.a. sets big national goals that help inspire ingenious local solutions. the e.p.a. is one of our great successes as a nation, but that success has not come without a fight. each time the e.p.a. took a step to clean our air, industry poured more and more money into the debate yelling that regulation is just too costly and companies can never survive if they have to clean up their act. in 40 years following the clean air act, emissions of common air pollutants fell nearly 70% while the number of private sector jobs doubled. industry talks about the costs of pollution controls because dirty is cheap. clean air saves more than 160,000 lives each year.
clean air saves more than three million school days our children would have collectively lost. clean air saves 13 million work days that hard-working, healthy americans simply can't afford to miss. but scott pruitt, he doesn't measure success by this yardstick. no. he measures success by how happy his corporate donors are. as big oil's go-to attorney general from oklahoma, pruitt has spent the last six years trying to silence the life-saving data-driven work of dedicated e.p.a. employees and scientists, and now those big polluters have their fantasy e.p.a. nominee, someone who will work on their side and not on the side of the american people. how about a couple of examples? when e.p.a.
issued a rule to regulate mercury and other toxic chemical emissions from coal power plants, mr. pruitt questioned whether mercury poses a health hazard. mercury is a well-known neurotoxin. it means that it poisons the nervous system, and scott pruitt thinks he should question whether it poses any health hazard. wow! or maybe it is this example. when the e.p.a. moved to reduce leaks of meth ann, a -- methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than co2, he turned the oklahoma a.g. office into a clearinghouse for big oil to pursue lawsuits attacking the e.p.a. scott pruitt has spent so much time with his campaign donors that he honestly appears incapable of understanding the difference between the financial
interests of the millionaires who run giant oil companies and the health and well-being of the four million human beings who actually live in oklahoma. the people need a voice more than ever. for generations, oklahoma has had very few earthquakes. then oil companies decided to up production, to pull every last drop of oil out of the ground. but with every drop of oil came useless toxic radioactive saltwater waste and it has to go somewhere. so they took the cheapest option available -- pump billions of barrels of waste water deep underground under immense pressure, and that's when the problems started. suddenly earthquakes, big earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 and above, started occurring every day across oklahoma.
and here was mr. pruitt, the state attorney general, the people's lawyer. so what did he do? did he seek relief for the families that were stiffed by insurance companies? did he join residents who were suing to stop the drilling while their homes crumbled? did he even pretend to do something, you know, like maybe issue a strongly worded press release supporting frightened citizens? nope, not mr. pruitt. no, mr. pruitt stood by his friends in the oil industry and the heck with everybody else. mr. pruitt has been consistent in his work for big oil. as attorney general, he dismantled the environmental protection unit in his of course, dismantled the environmental protection unit. he appointed a billionaire oil man to be hi -- to be his 2014 n
chair. and he ignored the citizens he was sworn to protect. that is the measure of mr. pruitt as a public servant. a states attorney general is supposed to serve the people. right now, massachusetts' attorney general maura healy is leading a case to prove that exxonmobil deliberately deceived the public about the impact of climate change on our economy, our environment, our health, and our future. good for maura. did scott pruitt join that suit? of course not. pruitt ran to the defense of one of the world's largest corporations whining about how that corporation felt bullied. instead of working as the attorney general for oklahoma, mr. pruitt has served as the attorney general for exxon. finally, scott pruitt has the nerve to say that the cause of
climate change is, quote, subject to more debate. more debate? we had that debate in the 1980's, in the 1990's, in 29000's -- in the 2000's. maybe mr. pruitt missed it, buried under a pile of big oil money. for well over a century, we spewed fossil fuel filth into our atmosphere, and, yes, this allowed the fuel -- it allowed us to fuel the thirsty appetite of our 20th century economy. but that blistering pace came at a price. our planet is get being hotter -- our planet is getting hotter. our coasts are threngtsed by fewer -- our coasts are threatened by furious storms that devastate our cities. our poorest neighborhoods are one bad storm away from being under water. our naval bases are under
attack, not by enemy ships but by rising seas. e-- droughts and wildfires are all too familiar across the country. refugees are fleeing homes that are no longer livable, and the risk of rapidly spreading diseases like malaria and zika is on the rise. our coastal communities don't have time for politicians who deny science. our farmers don't have time for more debate. our children don't have time for more cowards who won't stand up to big oil companies defrauding the american people. scott pruitt has been working hard for big hard to dismantle the e.p.a., and now president trump wants to give him that chance. where are the senators who will stand up for the health, the
welfare, and the safety of their citizens? where are the senators who will stand up for the people's right to breathe clean air and drink clean water? where are the senators who will have the courage to demand action on climate change so that our children will have a chance to inherit a livable earth? in the end, despite this despicable record, if the republicans link arms again, there won't be enough of us to stop this nomination. but make no mistake, if president trump wants a fight over the health of our children, a fight over the creation of clean energy jobs, a fight over the very future of our planet, then we will fight every step of the way. we will fight alongside moms and
dads who know the terror of a childhood asthma attack. we will fight alongside the cancer victims. we will fight alongside the fishermen and the hunters. we will fight alongside the families of flint, michigan, and everywhere else in america where families cannot safely turn on their water taps or step outside and take a deep breath. we are all in this together. people in massachusetts care deeply about preserving a safe and healthy environment for our kids and our grandkids. we see it as a moral question, and i've received letters from people all across the state describing how important clean air and clean water are to them. and how worried they are about what scott pruitt leading the e.p.a. will mean for our most
vital natural resources. i hear those concerns. i share those concerns. and i'd like to read just a few of the many letters that i have received about this nomination. edward fromdon nighs wrote to me on before of the association to preserve cape cod about the importance of the e.p.a. to coastal communities in massachusetts. here's edwards letter. the association to preserve cape cod, apcc, the cape cod region's leading nonprofit environmental education and advocacy organization writes to state our strong opposition to the appointment of oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt for the position of administrator of the environmental protection agency. we urge you to vote against this nomination. apcc is deeply concerned that
mr. pruitt's roared of vigorously approving the efforts of the e.p.a. to protect the nation's water and air quality is in direct conflict with his responsibilities as e.p.a. administrator to ensure that the agency's important work continues. in fact, his record clearly shows that his loyalties side with polluters instead of with the environment and the well-fair of the -- and the welfare of the american people. of particular concern is mr. pruitt's refusal to accept the science of climate change and the implications this has for e.p.a.'s on-going efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. in addition, the e.p.a. has most recently played a vital role in furthering efforts to protect and restore water quality through its southeast new
england program, snep, for watershed restoration, a program that has greatly benefited coastal communities in rhode island and southeastern massachusetts. we worry that important initiatives such as the snep program which was originally proposed by senator reed with the strong support of each of you, will be in jeopardy under the oversight of mr. pruitt, should he be confirmed as e.p.a. administrator. the new england states, as well as the entire nation, have made significant stride strides forwn addressing the protection of our air and water. however, much morp needs to be -- however, much more needs to be accomplished. with so much at stake, we cannot afford to step backward in our effort to protect the environment. we, therefore, urge you to oppose the nomination of
mr. pruitt for e.p.a. administrator. thanks, edward, for writing, and thanks to all of you at the association to preserve cape cod for the work that you're doing every single day. it makes a real difference. well, all sorts of people have written to my office about mr. pruitt. i've noticed that a lot of people are writing in about kids, their kids, kids they work with, or just kids in general. my constituents are concerned about scott pruitt's commitment to protecting the air our kids breathe and the water they drink. and i share those concerns. i heard from mary in worcester who is concerned about the effects of environmental toxins like lead on children. she's concerned both as a parent and as a family doctor. and here's what mary had to say. with so much focus in washington on ensuring politicians are held
to a strong ethical standard, i ask you to oppose the nomination of scott pruitt as e.p.a. administrator. i wrote to you yesterday asking the same, but after the hearing yesterday, it is increasingly clear that mr. pruitt is unfit. in addition to being a parent, i am also a family medicine physician. rarely, i see children who are exposed to lead through environmental sources. this is rare because lead has been regulated and, as such, rates of lead poisoning and the accompanying irreversible brain damage have plummeted. but yesterday mr. pruitt revealed that he knows nothing about this issue. responding to senator cardin, quote, senator, that is something i have not reviewed nor know about.
i can continue to ask you to oppose him and to encourage your colleagues to do the same. thank you for writing, mary. that's why i'm here tonight is to encourage my colleagues to oppose him. i heard from elizabeth in bell cher town as well and here's what she wrote me. as a resident of massachusetts and a teacher of a.p. environmental science in a public high school in western massachusetts, i am writing to express my concern about the appointment of scott pruitt as director of the e.p.a. he appears to be the exact opposite of the qualifications and perspective of a person who should have that position. as you know, he has close ties to fossil fuels, has repeatedly sued the e.p.a., avoided mercury legislation, and h espoused the belief that the e.p.a. is too
powerful. i urge you to work with other senators to block this appointment. thank you, elizabeth. the work that you're doing, that teachers are doing is more vital than ever now. and i share your concerns. thank you. a man from boston wrote to me with concerns about scott pruitt's ties to fossil fuel companies. and here's what he said. as a constituent who cares about our environment, i want you to know, i am deeply concerned about the nomination of scott pruitt to lead the environmental protection agency. scott pruitt is firmly in the pocket of the oil and gas industry. he is concerned with the world we live -- leave for our children. as a father and an educator, i am fighting his nomination because i have a responsibility
to care about the world i leave children and not merely the wealth my cronies accumulate. pruitt has actively worked to dismantle protections for clean air and clean water that people and birds need to thrive. the e.p.a. must adhere to science and support commonsense solutions for ensuring a healthy environment and a stable climate for people and wildlife. please oppose confirming scott pruitt and demand a nominee instead who will represent the vast majority of americans regardless of party affiliation who supports strong action and safeguards for our air, water, and climate. thanks for writing. i couldn't agree more with what you've said. wendy from newton wrote to me
about her concerns as well. here's what she had to say. dear senator, i am appalled and scared by the possibility of scott pruitt to head the e.p.a. it will be disgraceful if he is confirmed. to appoint someone who stands against everything that agency is for is cynical, disrespectful, and dangerous in this urgent time of climate change. now more than ever we need a strong e.p.a. that believes in science and will protect us from environmental disaster. i hope you will do everything you possibly can to fight against pruitt getting confirm confirmed. wendy, thank you for writing. i also heard from arlene in
wayland who's worried about the future of e.p.a. and what it means for her two grandchildren. and here's what she had to say. senator warren, please assure your constituents that you will not support scott pruitt's nomination to head the e.p.a. mr. pruitt is an enemy of the agency and of the future of our environment. he has stood in the way of the agency's purpose to protect our air and water. he is ignorant of the findings of climate science and medical studies on toxicity, has dealt dishonestly with congress, and is so obviously in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry. please use your considerable persuasiveness and rigor to convince your colleagues in the senate to ditch this nomination. the future of my two grandchildren depends on it.
thank you. thank you for your note, arlene. i'm doing my best and so are the rest of the democrats. we just need some republicans to help us out here. jone from maynard reached out to me about her experience working with children who suffered from lead poison. here's what joan right. i've been an ed aitionalled -- educational advocate for children with disabilities for 24 years. i've worked with children who suffer from lead poisoning. they are heartbreaking. even the smallest exposure has lifelong profound consequences. i haven't personally seen anything the level of what has happened in flint, michigan, but i know that it's a tragedy for a generation of children in flint. pollution of our waters is just one of the risks we face if scott pruitt is approved. there are countless more, many evident and others not readily
apparent but ready to unfold. please, please fight this appointment in every way you can. thank you, joan, for writing and for the important work that you do. and believe me, i am fighting it in every way that i can. a man from north falmouth wrote to me worried that the progress we've made on protecting public health and the future of our planet is in danger. and here's what he said. oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt is a lifelong ally of corporate polluters. pruitt's nomination is a clear threat to the nation's public health and the progress made on commonsense pollution standards. i cannot tolerate the appointment of a fossil fuel cheerleader to lead the nation's environmental protection efforts. in 2014 pruitt literally acted
as a messenger between devon energy and the e.p.a. in an attempt to stifle public health protections. please continue to defend the clean power plan and methane pollution standards against the influence of the fossil fuel industry. 64% of americans are concerned about climate change. we deserve a leader who will take action to protect air quality. thanks for writing. i really appreciate it. since president trump nominated mr. pruitt, i've received hundreds of letters like these from people in massachusetts who are worried about what he will mean for the environment and for the future of our planet. but i've also heard from the experts, people who understand the ins and outs of the e.p.a. and its mission.
hundreds of former e.p.a. employees have serious concerns about mr. pruitt's record on the environment sent a letter to me and to my colleagues here in the senate. and here is what they wrote. we write as former employees of the environmental protection agency to share our concerns about oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt's qualifications to serve as the next e.p.a. administrator in light of his record in oklahoma. our perspective is not partisan. having served under both republican and democratic presidents, we recognize each new administration's right to pursue different policies within the parameters of existing law and to ask congress to change the laws to protect public health and the environment as it sees fit. however, every e.p.a. administrator has a fundamental
obligation to act in the public's interest based on current and the best available science. mr. pruitt's record raises serious concerns about whose interests he has served to date and whether he agrees with the long-standing tenets of u.s. environmental law. our nation has made tremendous progress in ensuring that every american has clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and uncontaminated land on which to live, work, and play. anyone who visits beijing is reminded of what some cities in the u.s. once looked like before we went to work as a people to combat pollution. much of the e.p.a.'s work involves preserving those gains which should not be taken for granted. there are also emerging new threats as well as serious gaps in our environmental safety net
as the drinking water crisis in flint, michigan, painfully demonstrates. our environmental laws are based on a partnership that requires e.p.a. to set national standards and give states latitude when implementing them so long as certain minimum criteria are satisfied. this approach recognizes that americans have an equal right to clean air and water no matter where they live and it allows states to compete for business without having to sacrifice public health or environmental quality. our environmental laws include provisions directing e.p.a. to allow for a, quote, margin of safety when assessing risks which is intended to limit exposure to pollutants when it is reasonable to expect that they may harm the public health, even when all the scientific
evidence is not yet in. for example, e.p.a.'s first administrator bill rucklehouse chose to limit the amount of lead in gasoline before all doubt about its harmfulness to public health was erased. his actions spared much of the harm that some countries still face as a result of the devastating effects of lead on human health. similarly, early action to reduce exposure to fine particle pollution helped avoid thousands of premature deaths from heart and lung disease. the magnitude and severity of those risks did not become apparent until much later. mr. pruitt's record and public statements strongly suggest that he does not share the vision or agree with the underlying principles of our environmental
statutes. mr. pruitt has shown no interest in enforcing those laws, a critically important function for the e.p.a. while serving as oklahoma's top law enforcement officer, mr. pruitt issued more than 50 press releases celebrating lawsuits to overturn e.p.a. standards to limit mercury emissions from power plants, to reduce smog levels in cities, and regional haze in parks, to clean up the chesapeake bay and control greenhouse emissions. in contrast, none, none of mr. pruitt's many press releases refer to any action he has taken to enforce environmental laws or to actually reduce pollution. this track record likely reflects his disturbing decision
to close the environmental enforcement unit in his office while establishing a new litigation team to challenge e.p.a. and other federal agencies. he has claimed credit for an agreement to protect the illinois river that did little more than confirm phosphorous limits established much earlier while delaying their enforcement for another three years. mr. pruitt has gone to disturbing links to advance the views and interests of businesses. for example, he signed and sent a letter as oklahoma attorney general criticizing the e.p.a. estimates of emissions from oil and gas wells without disclosing that it had been drafted in its entirety by devon energy. he filed suit on behalf of
oklahoma to block a california law requiring humane treatment of poultry. the federal court dismissed the case after finding that the lawsuit was brought not to benefit the citizens of oklahoma but to benefit a handful of large egg producers perfectly capable of representing their own interests. to mount his challenge to e.p.a.'s rules to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, he took the unusual step of accepting free help from a private law firm. in contrast, there is little or no evidence of mr. pruitt taking initiative to protect and advance public health and environmental protection in his state. mr. pruitt's office has apparently acknowledged 3,000 e-mails and other documents reflecting communications with certain oil and gas companies,
but has yet to make any of these available in response to a freedom of information act request filed more than two years ago. contrary to the cooperative federalism that he promotes, mr. pruitt has suggested that the e.p.a. should refrain from trying to control pollution that crosses state lines. for example, he intervened to support a farm bureau lawsuit that would have overturned a cooperative agreement between five states and e.p.a. to clean up the chesapeake bay. fortunately, the court rejected the challenge. when asked how a state can protect its citizens from pollution that originates outside its borders, mr. pruitt said in his senate testimony that states should resolve these disputes on their own with
e.p.a. providing informational support once an agreement is reached. but the 1972 clean water act directs the e.p.a. to review state water quality plans, require any improvements needed to make waters fishable and swimmable, and to review and approve plans to limit pollutant loads to protect water quality. e.p.a.'s power to set standards and limit pollution that crosses state lines is exactly what ensures every american clean air and water. and gives states the incentive to negotiate and resolve transboundary disputes. we are most concerned about mr. pruitt's reluctance to accept and to act on the strong scientific consensus on climate change and act accordingly. our country's own national
research council, the principle operating arm of the national academy of sciences and engineering, concluded in a 2010 report requested by congress that human activity is altering the climate to an extent that poses grave risks to americans' health and welfare. more recent scientific data and analyses have only confirmed the council's conclusion and added to the urgency of addressing the problem. despite this and other authoritative warnings about the dangers of climate change, mr. pruitt persists in pointing to uncertainty about the precise extent of humanity's contribution to the problem as a basis phoresissing taking any -- as a basis for resisting taking any action to help solve it.
at his senate confirmation hearing, he stated that, quote, science tells us that the climate is changing and that human activity in some manner impacts that change. the ability to measure, with precision, the degree and extent of that impact and what to do about it are subject to continuing debate and dialogue and, well -- and well it should. this is a familiar dodge. emphasizing uncertainty about ththe precise amount of humanits contribution while ignoring the broad scientific consensus that human activities are largely responsible for dangerous warning of our -- warming of our planet and that action is urgently needed before it is too late. mr. pruitt's indulgence in this dodge raises the fundamental
question of whether he agrees with the precautionary principle reflected in our nation's environmental statutes. faithful execution of our environmental laws requires effectively combating climate change to minimize its potentially catastrophic impacts before it is too late. the american people have been served by e.p.a. administrators, republicans and democrats, who have embraced their responsibility to protect public health and the environment. different administrators have come to different conclusions about how best to apply the law in view of the science, and many of their decisions have been challenged in court, sometimes successfully, for either going too far or not far enough. but in the large majority of cases, it was evident to us that
they put the public's welfare ahead of private interests. scott pruitt has no demonstrated this same commitment. thank you for considering our views. and thank you to all who signed that letter and for the incredibly important work that you've done to protect our environment. i am with you all the way. next, i'd like to read an article published by the "atlantic" that uses scott pruitt's actions to critique his appointment to head the e.p.a. actions speak volumes louder than words and his tell a pretty compelling story. of exactly how he will lead the agency. here's what it says. while the broad strokes of trump's policies were never in doubt, there was often enough
bizarreness to wonder what he would do with the powers of the environmental protection agency. on witness day, those questions were all but settled. trump has chosen e. scott pruitt, the attorney general of oklahoma, to lead the e.p.a. in a certain light, pruitt is an inspired choice to lead the e.p.a., as he has made fighting the agency a hallmark of his career. his own web site calls him, quote, a leading advocate against the e.p.a.'s activist agenda. the significance could not be more clear. as he promised on the trail, trump will likely use the powers of the presidency and the legal expertise of pruitt to block or weaken the obama administration's attempts to fight climate change. and trump will be able to try for more than that.
for what distinguishes pruitt's career is not just his opposition to using regulations to tackle climate change, but his opposition to using regulations to tackle any environmental problem at all. since he was elected oklahoma's attorney general in 2010, pruitt has racked up a sizable record, impressive in its number of lawsuits, if not in its number of victories, of suing the e.p.a. many of these suits did not target climate-related policies. instead, they singled out antipollution measures initiated under previous presidential administrations that tend to be popular with the public. in 2014, for instance, pruitt sued to block the e.p.a.'s regional haze rule. the rule is built on a 15-year-old program meant to ensure that air around national
parks is especially clear. pruitt lost his case. last year, he sued to block a rule restricting how much mercury could be emitted into the air by coal plants. he lost that, too. and early in his tenure he sued to keep the e.p.a. from settling lawsuits brought by environmental groups like the sierra club. that one was dismissed. he has brought other suits against the e.p.a. antipollution programs like one against new rules meant to reduce the amount of ozone in the air. that haven't been heard in court yet. while ozone is beneficial to humans high in the atmosphere, it can be intensely damaging when it accumulates at ground level, worsening asthma and inducing premature deaths. the american lung association calls it one of the most dangerous pollutants in the united states. all this is not to say that
pruitt has omitted climate regulations from his litigation. his most comorn target to be -- his most common target to be the obama administration clean air act rules meant to reduce greenhouse gas emission emissiom power plants. the clean power plan is obama's main mechanism for pushing the united states to meet its pledge under the paris agreement. pruitt began suing the e.p.a. to block the clean power plant more than two years ago. now oklahoma is one of the 28 states challenging the agency in court, and it helped succeed in getting the supreme court to block the rules in february. but pruitt's understanding of the bill seems not entirely legally minded in two significant ways. first, pruitt's knowledge of global warming appears to be
lacking, at best. earlier this year, for instance, he wrote in "the "national review"" that, quote, scientists continue to disagree with the degree and extent of global warming and its connections to the actions of mankind. while this sounds reasonable, it is not true. the overwhelming consensus among scientists who study the earth is that humans are largely to blame for the planet's warming. climate scientists have understood this to be the case since at least the early 1990's, and since then scholarly consensus on the issue has only strengthened. the majority of sign tiforts -- the majority of sign tiforts also believe that global warming will be quite harmly. the sign tirveg debate about its, quote, degree and extent is only about how bad it will be and how soon it's consequences will kick in. second, pruitt has worked
extremely closely with oil and gas companies in opposing the plan. in one case, a "new york times" investigation revealed that pruitt sent an official letter to the e.p.a. bearing his signature on his letterhead that had been almost completely written by lawyers at devon energy, a major oil and gas company. it was delivered to pruitt's office by devon's chief lobbyist. energy firms and lobbyists, including devon, have donated generously to the republican attorney generals association, which pruitt has led. in interviews after the "times" report, pruitt described the collaboration as a kind of constituent service, saying that devon is based in oklahoma city. he agreed with the letter's legal reasoning, he said, so he signed it. quote, "i don't think there's
anything secret in what we've done," prostitute told the oklahoman. we've been very open about the efforts of my office in responding to federal overreach. now pruitt could be the one doing the federal reaching. environmental groups immediately condemned trump's selection of him. quote, the e.p.a. plays an absolutely vital role in enforcing long-standing policies that protect the health and safety of americans. based on the best available science, said ken kemmel, president of the union of concerned scientists in a statement. pruitt has a clear record of hostility to the e.p.a.'s mission and he is a completely inappropriate choice to lead it. once it had seemed like perhaps trump, who often speaks of his adoration for clean air and clean water, would bypass those
old fights and only target obama's new climate rules. but with pruitt leading his e.p.a., it seems that trump's administration will act like its g.o.p. predecessors. whether it is successful depends on the senate, on the courts, and on how well environmental advocates make their case to the public. and finally, i'd like to share a few excerpts from an in-depth "new york times" article that uncovered scott pruitt's extensive ties to energy companies. the article clearly explains the massive conflict of interests that mr. pruitt would face as administrator of the e.p.a. and here's what it says. the letter to the environmental protection agency from attorney general scott pruitt of oklahoma carried a blunt accusation.
federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state. but mr. pruitt left out one critical point. the three-page letter was written by lawyers for devon energy, one of oklahoma's biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by devon's chief of lobbying. outstanding, william f.witf said, who at the time directed the government relations at the company, snaid a note to mr. pruitt's office. the attorney general's staff has taken a devon's draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to washington with the attorney general's signature. quote, the timing of the letter is great given our meeting this friday with both the e.p.a. and
the white house. mr. witsen then added, please pass along devon's thanks to attorney general pruitt. the e-mail exchange from october 2011 attained through an open records request offers a hint of the unprecedented, secretive alliance that mr. pruitt and other republican attorney generals have formed with some of the nation's top energy producers to push back against the obama regulatory agenda, an veges by the new york -- an investigation by "the new york times" has found. corporate representatives and attorney generals are coordinating legal strategy and other efforts to fight federal regulations according to a review of thousands of e-mails and court documents and dozens of interviews. for mr. pruitt, the benefits have been clear.
lobbyists and company officials have been notably solicitous helping him reyes raise his profile as president for two years of the republican attorney generals association, a post he used to help start what he and his allies called the rule of law campaign, which was intended to push back against washington quote, we are living in the midst of a constitutional crisis, mr. pruitt told energy industry lobbyists and conservative state legislators at a conference in dallas in july, after being welcomed with a standing ovation. the trajectory of our nation is at risk and at stake as we respond to what's going on. mr. pruitt has responded aggressively and with a lot of helping hands. energy industry lobbyists drafted letters for him to send to