tv EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Testifies at Confirmation Hearing CSPAN January 25, 2017 5:27pm-8:04pm EST
to speak frankly to a president of the united states. i am able to do that because we have that special relationship. a special relationship that he would never have with the united states. >> prime minister's questions is live in london. every wednesday morning on c-span2 at 7:00 a.m. eastern. and you can see it again sunday night at 9:00 eastern on c-span. the senate environment and public works committee last week held a confirmation hearing for the nominee to head the environmental protection agency. that nominee, oklahoma attorney general, scott pruitt, said he believes climate change is caused by humans, but he's unsure to what extent. up next, the first two and a half hours of the confirmation hearing. >> we begin by welcoming our knock knee, his wife, to a very
important hearing. this past sunday morning i rose for dawn and went for a long run through a northern part of delaware. i reached the park at sunrise just as the sun was coming up and the sky was turning a brilliant blue. the weather was crisp and blue. in a word, it was perfect. i sked a prayer of thanksgiving for a gift of this moment. later that morning my wife and i went to church. there we joined our congregations singing a hymn that began with these words. for the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies, lord of all to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise. those words filled my heart with emotion then, and they do so again this morning.
in a little more than 48 hours, donald trump will place his handle on the bible and take an oath to defend our country and constitution. the bible reminds us to believe in our neighbors as ourselves. in those pages are scores of admonitions about another obligation that those of us on this earth are expected to meet. we are to serve as stewards of this planet. i believe that we have a moral obligation to do so. great many of my colleagues in the senate agree, and so do most americans. we need to be convinced that you embrace it as well, not just with your words, but with your deeds, much of your record suggests otherwise. today and in the days to follow, we need to find out where the truth lies. leading the epa is hard work. that agency created by president richard nixon in a bipartisan congress 46 years ago is tasked with implementing our nation's most clean air, clean water and
safe chemical laws. the epa is to protect both our environment and public health. by and large the epa has done this for decades while our economy has continued to grow. many in this room may not remember a time before the epa. a time when states had to work individually to protect citizens in the community in which they lived. a time before the clean water act and clean air act were signed into law. a time when businesses operating throughout the u.s. were faced with a myriad of state and clol laws affecting our health and environment. the choking smog and soot the half century ago seem unfathomable now. rivers on fire and toxic plumes sound like something from another world impossible in our united states of america. today we have the luxury of largely forgetting these frightening circumstances thanks to the efforts of the environmental protection agency, its employees, its partnership with state and local agencies and with companies across america. in fact, the epa and many partners throughout this country
have been so successful, it's easy for some of us to forget why this agency is so critical. it's easy to presume there's not much more for the agency to do. that could not be further from the truth. the environmental threats that we face today are real. they dos respect the state boundaries. it's worth reminding everyone here why the mission of the epa is so critical and just what is at stake. over time, my state of delaware made great strides in cleaning up our own air pollution, but our work only goes so far. delaware sits at the end of america's tail pipe. 90% of the air pollution in delaware comes outside the first state. from power plants, hundreds of miles away in places like kentucky, ohio, indiana, and across the midwest. as governor of delaware, if i stopped every combustion source,
delaware would still face deadly doses of air pollution. should we be forced to live with the consequences of decisions made by polluters hundreds or thousands of miles away who gain economically from our disadvantage. i don't think so. fortunately the epa has recently implemented something called the good neighbor rule, to make sure all states do their fair share to clean up the air. every citizen in this country has the right to breathe clean air whether they're in a downwind or upwind state. that's why we have the epa. i remember fishing with my dad as a boy, my dod and sister ate the fish as well. that river along with countless other polluted rivers and streams and lakes in all 50 states are subject to public health advisories cautioning citizens against eating the mercury-laden fish found in them. most of the mercury in our fish come from air pollution.
we also know that mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that threatens the health of this generation and generations to come. the epa recently issued health protections to clean up the toxic air pollution from the coal plants, to allow communities to eat the fish from our lakes, rivers and streams without the concerns of mercury poisoning. that's why we have the epa. too often when state and local communities are pinched for cash they shortchange clean water and air protections. and oftentimes they're ignored, corners are cut, and they save dollars now but inflict costly damage later. in the city of flint, michigan, these cuts can have even a tragic impact on the health of the most vulnerable in our society, especially the youngest among us. the citizens of flint still lack
clean drinking water. the generation there exposed to high levels of lead face an uncertain future. that's why we have the epa. you may not know it, but the highest point in delaware is a bridge. back home the reality that our climate is changing is not up for debate. families and business owners face a stark reality of climate change every single day. tackling that challenge is not just the right thing to do, it is a matter of survival. take a ride with me sometime, some 30 miles south of dover air force base heading east toward the delaware bay, and you'll see what i mean. there was a time not long ago where just before you reach the delaware bay, you came to a parking lot. that parking lot today is under water. you'll see part of a concrete bumper sticking out of the water at 1:00. someone just showed me a picture of that photo taken on dry land 500 feet west of the water's
edge. the little state alone cannot stem the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere causing our climate to change, our seas to ride and coastline to retreat. every state must do its fair share to safeguard our climate and their neighbors. that is why we have the epa. examples of air and water pollution produced about i one state in fouling the air and water of others can still be found in too many parts of america. like the runoff from pennsylvania that degrades the waters from chesapeake bay. and degrades visibility at the grand canyon. that's why we have the epa. some of my colleagues describe me as a recovering governor. i've given presidents deference in both instances. i've only opposed one nominee, supporting two republicans, two democrat nominees. subsequently every epa
administrator demonstrated clearly that they would protect the human health and our environment. i'm also committed to a full and fair confirmation process. this president-elect has offered two nominations. i've shared with mr. pruitt, and i'll share with my colleagues today that too much of what i've seen of his views about the role of epa are troubling and in some cases deeply troubling. even former republican administrator with whom i served as governor said, quote, she can't recall ever having seen an appointment of someone who is so disdainful of the agency and what the agency does. it's hard to imagine a more damning statement, and from one who served not long ago in that position of trust. mr. pruitt, to which you've been nominated. today is your opportunity to show she's gotten it wrong. to be honest with you, coming to the hearing today i fear she's gotten it right. thank you.
>> thank you very much, senator carper. in a few moments i'd like to turn to senator imhoff and langford, their home state of oklahoma, regarding the nominee's distinguished career. before i do that, though, i want to say a few words about senator imhoff and his distinguished career as chairman of the public works committee. first i want to thank my friend jim imhoff for his leadership in this committee. his dedication to protecting the environment, rebuilding our nation's infrastructure, strengthening the country's economy, were clearly evident throughout his time as chairman. he worked across party lines to get things done. during the 114th congress under jim imhoff's leadership, this committee held 67 hearings, of which 8 were field hearings. 42 bills were signed into law. chairman immove oversaw the first long-term highway bill in a decade. this law will improve the nation's roads, bridges, transit systems and rail transportation networks. he also worked on a bipartisan basis with barbara boxer to pass
badly needed legislation. the best new law priority idss dam waterway and port projects and support flood control projects that protects millions of people. for the first time in 40 years, the toxic substances control act was under imhoff's tenure. it will improve public confidence in the safety of chemicals, promote innovation and provide manufacturers with certainty regarding regulation. chairman imhoff also worked to keep the administration accountable. chairman imhoff worked to ensure there was oversight of overreaching regulations, concerning the clean power plant, waters of the u.s., stream buffer rules and many more. i'm very glad senator imhoff will remain on the committee. i look forward to working close with him to bolster our nation's economy. senator imhoff, thank you for your hard work, your dedication and your leadership. you're now recognized to introduce and to talk about
attorney general pruitt. thank you. >> senator ygrasso, thank you vch. this is a committee that gets things done, as scott pruitt's fully aware. i thank you, chairman grasso, and you, senator carper, for letting me join you for this. and i'm honored to join my fellow senator, senator langford, in introducing not just the attorney general scott pruitt, but my good friend. and to offer my support for his nomination, to be the next administrator of the environmental protection agency. though neither of us were born in oklahoma, we got here as quick as we could. and both ended up in tulsa. he's also a neighbor. attorney general pruitt, you'll be glad to know this. he was born in kentucky. and he showed what he was made out of, and ended up a great baseball player that was able to
get a scholarship, and go to the university there. then he came to oklahoma, went through law school at the university of tulsa and did all kinds of things, specialized at that time in constitutional law. in 1998, general pruitt ran and was elected to the oklahoma state senate, where he served six years and quickly became a leader. indeed, success has followed him throughout his law practice through the state senate, to become the co-owner and managing general partner of oklahoma city's aaa minor league baseball team. we have something in addition to the thunder that we all are fully aware of. is currently oklahoma's, of course, attorney general. through the course of his career, attorney general pruitt has stood out as a champion of state and individual rights and has fought against federal overreach. he has earned a reputation as a defender of the rule of law, and has worked to keep those -- the
rule of the federal government in check. as head of the environmental protection agency, attorney general pruitt will ensure that the agency fulfills the role delegated to it by the laws passed by congress, nothing more and nothing less. oklahoma's an energy and agriculture state, but we're also a state that knows what it means to protect the environment, while balancing competing interests. as attorney general, scott was instrumental -- this is a big deal. we actually have had an ongoing litigation for 100 years. it was the state of oklahoma, the city of oklahoma city, the chick esaw nation and choctaw nation, over water rights. he came trotting along and resolved it. he's also worked with the environmental quality and oklahoma water resources board to protect the scenic river. he's kind of a hero of the scenic rivers.
people don't know, scott, that we in oklahoma actually have more miles of fresh water shoreline than -- >> will the senator please suspend his remarks for a few seconds here. [ someone screaming ] >> thank you, senator imhoff. anyway, additionally, in 2012, oklahoma partnered with three other states, new mexico, colorado, kansas and texas, to bring together state officials conservation groups and ag industries and other private landowners to address the challenges having to do with what might become an endangered species. it was an effort that saw success in the first year. this is working with four different states, despite endorsing the plan, the fish and
wildlife service moved forward with listing the species as threatened. endangering the cooperation reach between these kraerg interests. so attorney general scott sued the fish and woildlife department for the cooperative agreement and he wins. as attorney general, and the -- scott pruitt has fought the epa, the fish and woildlife service, the oil companies and outgoing administration on many fronts. but all of these suits were brought to protect state and local interests from overzealous and activist executive agencies. over the last eight years the obama administration has advanced a radical environmental agenda, has exhibited a deep distrust of state governments, and private landowners, and has worked to obstruct the industry of agriculture producers, the
most ardent protectors of the environment. these are industries and interests that oklahoma relies on. and far from being an enemy of the environment, scott has proven himself to be an expert at balancing economic growth with environmental stewardship. it is my belief attorney general pruitt will return the epa to the proper role acting in the bounds provided by the constitution. >> senator langford? >> chairman grasso, thank you. ranking member carper, thank you for allowing me to be here. for us to be able to stand with him and introduce you, we believe he will be a tremendous nominee for the administrator for the epa. it's an honor to speak in support of attorney general pruitt today. scots has been a leader in the state of oklahoma, strongly committed to enforcing the law, and adhering to the
constitution. he's a statesman. a dedicated public servant. as administrator of the epa, i would fully expect scott to follow every environmental law and to partner with states, local authorities, and tribes to do what's best for our present and for our future. as attorney general of oklahoma, he stood shoulder to shoulder with more than half of the states to ensure the federal government operates within the bounds of the statute and the constitution. he's argued consistently that many regulations of the epa promulgates are in fact the responsibilities of state governments first. an environment where chevron deference is critical, that the leader of an agency has wide latitude to extract costs from the economy also respects the federalist foundation and pocketbooks of hard working families. in previous congressional testimony, scott has emphasized the importance of laws like the clean air act, stressing that the intention was for states and the epa to work together under a model of cooperative federalism
that protects the environment, while considering economic costs. as attorney general, scott has been an ardent defender of the rule of law for oklahomans. in 2012 he sued british petroleum argued they knowingly double dipped through the collection of funds through a cleanup fund despite having insurance coverage for environmental cleanup. he did not hesitate to stand up for his constituents and for his state. mike tuerpin the former chairma of the oklahoma democratic party, he spoke out in mid-december when scott was first announce. let me just read a short portion of his very long statement in support of scott pruitt. former attorney general mike terpin, former democratic party chairman said, oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt is a good choice to head up the environmental protection agency. i'm convinced scott pruitt will work to protect our natural habitats, reserves and
resources. his vision for a proper relationship between protection and prosperity makes him superbly qualified. he's an active member and deacon at his church, a congregation of almost 2,000 people. he's incredibly strong in his faith and he strives to walk in integrity. he's a serious baseball fan as well. if you run out of environmental questions today, why don't you ask him a couple of questions about baseball strategy and spring training which starts in just a few weeks. i have to tell you, scott's a friend. 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 to try to learn all sides of an issue. and i've seen scott take difficult stands on matters of law. i think he'll be an excellent administrator for the epa.
and i think he'll do very well today in bringing you confidence for working for our present and the future. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you so very much, senator langford and senator imhoff. senator langford, you're welcome to stay. but you can't stay in that seat. >> got it. >> now i would like to welcome attorney general pruitt to the senate environment and public work committee. i invite you to first introduce your family and then proceed with your statement. congratulations and welcome. >> good morning, chairman grasso, members of the committee. it is an honor and privilege to be before you today to be considered for the position of epa administrator. i first want to say thank you to senators imhoff and langford for their opening comments. senator imhoff has been a mentor
and friend to me many, many years. and he spent a lot of time with me through this process, introducing me to many of you. and i really appreciate his guidance and his help. senator langford was a friend long before he entered congress. he's already serving oklahoma and his country with great distinction. mr. chairman, i am blessed to have my family in attendance with me. my wife of 27 years is in attendance, along with my children. a little change going on in their lives as well. makenna is graduating from oklahoma university and heading to the university of virginia law school. and my son is going to be graduating high school and hending to oklahoma university following his sister's footsteps to become a sooner. there's lots of change going on in their lives. lots of change going on in my family's life. and lots of change going on in the country. i think the people in this country are hungry for change. with change comes opportunity for growth. an opportunity to assess how we
can prioritize as a nation. when i ponder leading the epa, i get excited about the great work to be done on behalf of our nation in protecting the -- being a good resources we have as a nation. what could be more important than protecting our nation's waters, improving our air and managing the land we have been blessed with as a nation all the while protecting the health and welfare of our people? so if confirmed, i would lead the epa with the following principles in mind. first, we must reject as a nation the false paradigm that if you are pro-energy you are anti-environment and if you are pro-environment you are anti-energy. i utterly reject that narrative. in this nation we can grow our economy, harvest the resources god has blessed us with while also being good stewards of the air, land and water by which we have been favored. it is not an either/or proposition. we should celebrate the great progress we made as a nation since the in spgs of the epa and the laws passed by this body but recognize we have much work to do. third, rule of law matters.
process matters. it inspires confidence in those that are regulated. the law is static, not transient. regulators are supposed to makings this regular. to fairly and equitably enforce the rules and not pick winners and losers. a regulator should not be for or against any sector of our economy. instead, a regulator ought to follow law in setting out the rules so those who are regulating can plan, allocate resources to meet the standards versus operating in a state of uncertainty and duress. fourth, federalism matters. it matters because congress says so. and bus we need to achieve good outcomes as a nation for air and water quality, we need the partnership of the states to achieve that. it is our state regulators who oftentimes best understand the local needs of the uniqueness of our environmental challenges plus our state regulators possess the resources and expertise to enforce our environmental laws. fifth, public participation is key. we need to hear all voices as we
make decisions on behalf of our country with respect to environmental laws. two final things personally. i seek to be a good listener, to listen and to lead. you can't do one without the other. listen to those career staff -- listen to those career staff at the epa as i have done as attorney general of oklahoma and listen to you here in congress with respect to the needs of your respective states and listen to the voice of all americans as we seek to carry out our duties. lastly, this is very important, i seek to [ inaudible ]. often as policy makers you deal with contentious issues. i have as attorney general of oklahoma as well. we deal with weighty issues and there is passion on both sides of issues. but we should not succumb to personalizing matters. we should encourage open and civil discourse. one such issue where civil discourse is absent involves climate change. let me say to you, science tells us 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 it should be. so with these principles in mind, i seek to answer your questions today and i am honored to be here today to be considered for the position of epa administrator. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. welcome to your family. thank you and congratulations again. attorney general pruitt, you answered the committee questionnaire. the united states office of government ethics has stated that you are quote, in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest. throughout this hearing and with the questions for the record, our committee members will have an opportunity to learn more about your commitment to public service and our nation. i would ask that throughout this hearing, you please respond to the questions for the record. with that said, i have to ask the following questions that we ask of all nominees on behalf of the committee. do you agree if confirmed to appear before this committee or designated members of this committee and other appropriate
committees of the congress and provide information subject to appropriate and necessary security protection with respect to your responsibilities? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> do you agree to ensure that testimony, briefings, documents and electronic and other forms of information are provided to this committee and its staff and other appropriate committees in a timely manner? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> do you know of any matters which you may or may not have disclosed that might place you at any conflict of interest if you are confirmed? >> no, chairman. >> thank you. just a couple quick questions before we go back and forth. i would just ask you if you could, please describe your environmental philosophy, what you would do to protect our environment. >> well, mr. chairman, as i indicated in my opening statement, i believe that the role of a regulator and this may not sound too exciting, but is to make things regular. i think one of the difficult challenges we see with
individuals across the country is the ability -- inability to predict or know what's expected of them as far as their obligations under our environmental laws. i really believe, mr. chairman, that if confirmed as epa administrator, this public participation, cooperative federalism, rule of law being the focus of how we do business at the epa, is center to restoring confidence and certainty in those that are regulated. clearly the mission of the epa as i indicated in my opg statement to protect our natural resources, protecting our water quality, improving our air, helping protect the health and welfare of our citizens, is key to the leadership of the epa' abwhere enforcement is necessary, a vigorous enforcement i have done that as attorney general in oklahoma. i have taken very constructive steps against those that have violated the law. but we have done so i think in a very decisive and meaningful way. so mr. chairman, with that in mind. >> one other question. then i will reserve the balance of my time for some interjection and questioning throughout. there is still a number of environmental problems that i
see in dthe country and my stat. cold war legacy pollution is a serious problem where chemical compounds are left deep in the soil from our military activity decades ago, often they are not the tools yet available to adequately address this pollution. if confirmed would you advocate increasing the epa's focus on innovative technological solutions to address these and other environmental problems? >> yes, mr. chairman, and this congress, this past congress, as you indicated in your statement and as senator inhofe recognized with the changes to the law, there are priorities this year, new authority, actually that's been given to the epa administrator to order testing on certain chemicals. as i spent time with some of the members on this committee, senator gillibrand is an example, mentioned a concern with respect to the safe drinking water act, so yes, mr. chairman, i believe there are priorities that are key to improving our environment across
air quality and would seek the focus and prioritize those efforts. >> thank you. senator carper? >> we don't often have the kind of disruptions in this room and in this building that we are witnessing here today. this is extraordinary. not unprecedented but extraordinary. people might ask well, why are folks so concerned. i'll tell you why they're so concerned. you don't have to go back to march 3rd up in detroit, michigan where president-elect, then candidate trump, donald trump, said these words. we are going to get rid of the epa in almost every form. we are going to have little tidbits left but we are going to take a tremendous amount out. that's what he said during the republican primary. and what did he say after the election? well, november 10th, fox news, chris wallace, he said environmental protection, what they do is a disgrace. every week they come out with new regulations. chris wallace asked him who's going to protect the environment.
he said, responded by saying we'll be fine with the environment. we'll be fine with the environment. we're concerned we won't be fine with the environment. sometimes words do matter. and one of the concerns that i have is he's the president, you will be his nominee, you will be his epa administrator. does all the things he said in the campaign, do they just go away? in you he's put somebody in place who has actually defunded or led to the defunding of the environmental protection unit within your own agency. yet you have joined in a dozen or more lawsuits over the last six years ever since you have been attorney general and going after the epa. that's why you have the kind of concern you are witnessing here today, not just on that side of the dais but on this side as well. you just took an oath, you raised your hand and took an oath to answer the questions our chairman asked of you and one of them was a question dealing with your willingness to respond to reasonable questions that are asked of you. one of the things i ask of you,
i submitted a letter i think you received and shortly after christmas, maybe december 28th, close of business, and in it i asked a lot of questions. i asked you to try to respond by january 9th. you didn't respond to one of them by january 9th. certainly didn't respond to me, not even one. today's hearing, i just asked my staff, have you responded to any of those questions in writing that i asked almost three weeks ago, and to my knowledge, no response has yet been received. that's why we have a concern. that's why we have a concern. mercury. >> i'm sorry? >> i'm going to start off by talking about mercury. in 2011, the epa required dirty coal power plants to clear up mercury and air toxic emissions by issuing the mercury and air toxics standards rule. this rule will reduce the mercury and neurotoxins that contaminate our streams and oceans, pollutes our fish and harms our children's health. as attorney general i believe you have been part of at least 14 legal cases against the epa
and at least three of these cases against the epa's rules to reduce mercury emissions from power plants. is that correct? yes or no? >> senator, we have been involved in litigation around -- >> is that correct, yes or no? >> as i indicated, yes, we have been part of litigation. >> thank you. it's my understanding at least one of these cases against the mercury rule is still pending. is that correct, yes or no? >> i believe so. yes. >> thank you. in the cases against the mercury rule you questioned the epa's determination that mercury emissions from power plants are harmful to health and should be regulated. to be clear, have you ever supported a case against the epa that claimed quote, this is a quote, human exposure to methyl mercury resulting from coal fired power plants is dangerous to humans. yes or no? >> that is not a yes or no. >> fair enough. this seems to question an epa decision in 2000 in which the agency determined after almost a decade of study that mercury emissions from power plants pose significant hazards to public health and must be reduced.
close quote. would you say the legal cases you have supported in the past directly challenge this agency finding, yes or no? >> senator, the challenges we have had as a state -- >> yes or no. >> -- along with the other states -- >> yes or no. >> if i may. >> hold your fire. hold your fire. the legal position you have taken on mercury health also seems to call in question the 2003 testimony from then epa assistant administrator vair and jeff homestead, right where you are sitting today. he said epa is required to regulate mercury because epa determined that mercury emissions from power plants pose an otherwise unaddressed significant risk to health and the environment and because controls, options to reduce this risk are available. this statement on mercury risk seems contrary to the legal arguments you supported in the past. is that correct, yes or no? >> i agree with that position that mercury is something that is very dangerous. >> thank you very much. >> should be regulated. >> are you aware the last three
administrators have publicly stated the epa is required to regulate mercury from power plants because of health risks, yes or no? >> i believe mercury should be regulated under section 112. >> thank you very much. according to the epa, my time is about to expire, i will hold it there. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator carper. senator inhofe? >> thank you, mr. chairman. well, i don't think you had adequate time to answer some of the questions that were asked. is there anything you would like to add to elaborate? >> yes, senator. thank you. i do want to say to senator carper's concern with respect to the president-elect's statements throughout the campaign, i believe there's a very important role for the environmental protection agency. in fact, you and i talked about that in your office. i believe that there are air quality issues and water quality issues that cross state line, that the jurisdiction of the epa, its involvement in protecting our air quality and improving our nation's waters is extremely important. the epa has served a very valuable role historically. after all, it was republicans who created the epa under executive order in 1970 and this
body passed many pieces of legislation since the 1970s to focus upon improving our air and our water quality. and we have much to celebrate. actually, the six criteria pollutants under the program since 1980 are down 63%. we have made progress as a country but we have work to do and the epa has a very valuable role in partnering with the states to carry out those steps and improving our air quality and protecting our nation's waters. senator carper, i'm hopeful that in response to your concern about the role of the epa, i believe it's a very valuable role and it's something that we should focus on and partner with our states. with respect to mercury, the litigation that you referred to, there was no argument we made from a state perspective that mercury is not a hazardous air pollutant under section 112. our argument focused upon the cost benefit analysis na thena epa failed to do. and the supreme court actually agreed. so it was more about the process, again, that the epa was supposed to go through in
regulating mercury to provide certainty to the marketplace, not a statement with respect to whether mercury should be regulated or not under section 112. thank you, senator inhofe. >> thank you. i'm glad you brought up this thing about the clean air act. the amendments from 1990, i was one of the co-sponsors. it's been incredibly successful. you mentioned that we have reduced those pollutants by 53% but what you -- 63%, but what you didn't add was that is in spite of the fact we had 153% increase in our economic activity. that's a major thing. in my introduction, i mentioned this thing that you did that no one can figure out how you did it, involved a 100-year dispute between not just state of oklahoma and the city of oklahoma city and the chickasaws. you want to share with us how you did that? >> well -- >> they tried for 100 years. you came in and did it in less than 100 days.
>> less than eight months into my administration as attorney general, we were sued as a state by the chickasaw nation with respect to water in 17 counties in southeast oklahoma. many of you, if you know anything about water litigation, it generally takes decades to resolve water litigation. we were able to go from august of 2011 until 2016 and negotiate an historic water rights agreement with those two nations to provide certainty that those that are regulated, to provide a voice to the tribes with respect to water allocation and water quality and the state has maintained its position as the arbiter of how those permits are allocated as well. it was a partnership. it was the way things ought to work when litigation occurs. sitting across the table from individuals and working together to try to solve the problem. we were able to achieve that in record time. i'm very proud of what we did as a state and as the chickasaw and choctaw nation together. >> you got them all in one room, didn't you? >> yes, sir. >> that works.
you have been criticized and some of the people talking about your environmental record. i would like to be sure that people are aware of a number of people, i have some here i will submit for the record but ed feit is vice president of scenic rivers and air quality of the grda. this is a person who has really been at the forefront of our scenic rivers program. he praises you, saying i found general pruitt has always done right by our scenic rivers. he has done everything constructive he told me he would do. the same thing comes from the north carolina department of environmental quality. donald vanderviart wrote pruitt is committed to clean air and clean water and to restoring the epa to its original mission of enforcing the environmental laws written by congress. j.d. strong, head of the water resources board, he said attorney general pruitt, he goes on and praises you. i would like to know why it is
you have become such a hero of the scenic river people. >> well, senator, as you know, oklahoma has endured many decades of dispute with respect to phosphorous levels in the river. in fact, there's been litigation that's been part of that dispute for some time. there was actually a memorandum of understanding that arkansas and oklahoma entered into around 2002-2003 and that memorandum expired during my time as attorney general. there were many in government at the time that said we should wait on the epa to come in and address the issue. i chose a different path. i actually reached out to my democrat colleague, dustin mcdaniel, attorney general of the state of arkansas, and we were able to negotiate an agreement that had phosphorous levels set at .037 enforced on both sides of the border for the first time in history. mr. feit is head of the scenic rivers commission. he's been center on this issue for a number of years. i think his good word relates to the work we did in my office
working with mcdaniel to achieve that good outcome. >> my time has expired but i would like to enter into the record at this point in the record the statement by the environmental deq that i referred to. >> without objection. senator whitehouse? >> thank you, chairman. welcome to the committee, mr. pruitt, as we discussed when you and i met, the oceans off of our ocean state are warming due to fossil fuel driven climate change. it is crashing our fisheries like lob tster and winter flounr and making earning a living harder for our fishermen. i see nothing in your career to give those fishermen any confidence that you will care one bit for their well-being and not just the well-being of the fossil fuel industry. in a process that you could replicate in an oklahoma high school science lab, excess carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions is turning our seas
more acid. rhode island shell fisherman and shell fish growers are concerned and my colleague senator merkley's state have already had oyster spat wiped out for businesses by acidified waters. i see nothing in your career that you would care at all about our rhode island shell fishermen. in rhode island we have bad air days and because of epa's work, they are fewer and fewer. a bad air day is a day when people driving into work hear on the radio that ozone from out of state smokestacks has made the air in rhode island dangerous and that infants and the elderly and people with breathing difficulties should stay home on an otherwise beautiful day. because those smokestacks are out of state, we need epa to protect us and i see nothing in your record that would give a mom taking her child to the hospital for an asthma attack any comfort that you would take the slightest interest in her and your passion for devolving
power down to states doesn't help us, because our state regulators can't do anything about any of those problems. they all come from out of state sources. in this respect we are very like delaware. one of the things i would like to ask you about here is the connection between you and some of these fossil fuel companies. this is -- these are some of the companies that have supported you. these are some of the political organizations that you have raised money for. you have raised money for them for attorney general, correct? >> yes, sir. i have a campaign committee for that. yes. >> devin energy, koch industries, exxonmobil have all maxed out to that account. >> i'm not aware if they maxed out or not, senator. but i'm sure they have given to that committee. >> oklahoma strong pac is your leadership pac? >> it was. >> similarly, they gave money. they maxed out to that organization as well? >> i'm not sure about that,
senator. >> okay. they contributed to it? >> i'm even unsure about that as well. i haven't looked at that. >> you closed your super pac, liberty 2.0, but that took fossil fuel contributions as well, correct? >> that particular entity has been closed. yes. >> now, you helped raise money for the republican attorney generals association while you were a member of its executive committee. they received $530,000 from koch industries, $350,000 from marie energy, $160,000 from exxonmobil and $125,000 from devin energy, the company whose letter you transposed on to your letterhead and sent as an oklahoma attorney general document. did you solicit in your role at the republican attorney generals association any of that funding? >> i'm unable to confirm if they gave those numbers, senator, those amounts. >> did you solicit funding from
them in your role at the republican attorney -- >> i attended fund-raising events as an attorney general along with other attorneys general. >> did you solicit? did you ask them for money? >> as i indicated, i attended fund-raising events -- >> that's different. attending fund-raising is one thing. asking is my request. did you ask for money? >> specifically you would have to ask about certain entities. i don't know -- >> those are tent he entities. >> i did not ask of koch or -- what were the other ones? >> murray energy, exxonmobil, devin energy? >> i have not asked them for money. >> then we have, you said to the chairman that there is nothing that might place you in a conflict of interest that you have not disclosed. yet you founded the rule of law defense fund which is a dark money operation that supports the republican attorney generals association and you have not disclosed any of your
solicitations for that entity, nor have you disclosed what money was raised pursuant to those solicitations. this is an organization that appears to have a million dollar a year budget. so very substantial funds have been solicited. i believe you were the chairman. will you disclosure role in soliciting money and in receiving money for the rule of law defense fund pursuant to your solicitation? >> senator, point of clarification. i actually did not start nor initiate the rule of law defense fund. >> you led it? >> i have been an officer of that organization. >> okay. >> there is an executive staff, fund-raisers that actually carry out the functions of that organization. there are many attorneys general that serve on that board. it's not a decision of one. it's a decision of those that have been powered to make those decisions. >> you haven't told us anything about that. you haven't told us who you asked money from, you haven't told us what they gave, if you asked them. it's a complete black hole into
which at least $1 million goes and based on your record of fund-raising it appears that a great deal of furyour fund-rais comes from these organizations who are in the energy sector and devoted to fighting climate change. >> some of whom i have actually sued as well, senator. >> name one you have sued up there. >> exxonmobil. >> really. >> yes. >> my time has expired. we will pursue this in further questioning. >> we are involved in, as i indicated i think in your office, we are involved and senator inhofe mentioned in his conflicts a situation in oklahoma where multiple gas and oil companies have defrauded the state in cleanup with respect to spills that have occurred -- >> a fraud case. that has nothing to do with the environment. >> senator -- >> we can reserve that for the second round. >> i'm sorry. he was coming back to me so i was responding. >> before heading to the senator, there are two articles i will introduce into the record. one from the "wall street journal" in september headline,
hillary clinton raises more than donald trump from oil industry. the second article that i will be introducing for the record is from politico from december 27th by elena shorr who quotes brian rogers, quote, this is a partisan fishing expedition by six liberal democrats who combined have taken more than $1.2 million from far left environmentalist group dead set against any reforms to an out of control epa. senator capitow? > thank you, attorney general pruitt, for throwing your hat in the ring to be willing to serve. i would like to quote the ranking member when he says it's hard work because it is. the epa is hard work. one of the things you said really struck me. i believe the rule of law does matter and i'm heartened by your passion for that. the regulatory overreach of the epa has contributed to economic devastation in my state of west
virginia and my region. data from the mine safety and health administration shows that 60,000 coal jobs have been lost between 2011 and 2016. thousands of these are in west virginia. we are in desperate situation in our state right now because of this. we had a field hearing in beckley, west virginia where our wvu economist john deskins said that the coal industry downturn had resulted in six of our southern west virginia counties being in a great depression. for the past eight years, the epa has given no indication at all that it cares about the economic impact of its policies, even though congress has said very clearly in the clean air act and other environmental statutes that we expect jobs and economic factors to be taken into account. that's part of the law. in october, a federal court held that the epa had failed to evaluate the job impacts of the epa clean air act as required by 321a of that act. and ordered the epa to submit a
schedule for conducting these economic -- the required jobs analysis. incredibly, the epa told the court it would take two years, this was just this past, just in the last several weeks, it would take two years just to come up with a plan on how to do the analysis which in my view, if that's part of the law that epa is supposed to be following, they should already have the protocols set up to do an effective and accurate job analysis. so the court responded like this. this response is wholly inefficient, unacceptable and unnecessary. it evidences the continued hostility on the part of the epa to the acceptance of the mission established by congress. so i would like to ask you to commit to me to ensure that the epa will follow the law it is charged with implementing and do those ongoing evaluation of job losses and economic shifts due to the requirements of the act as required by the law. >> senator, as you indicated, i really believe that it's important that rule of law is
adhered to because it inspires confidence in those that are regulated. i think oftentimes those that are regulated don't know what's expected of them, they look at a statute, see the requirements of the statute, then those that are regulating act in a way that's not consistent with that framework. so they don't know what's expected of them and that causes uncertainty and i think paralysis to a certain degree. so rule of law is something that we should take seriously. it's been at the heart of the litigation that we initiated as a state. a lot of times these cases as we were talking earlier with senator carper, there's a policy or political kind of attention that's drawn to it but really it's about process and rule of law and making sure that the framework that this body, congress, has established is respected and enforced. so i appreciate your comments. >> well, in looking for the balance, we need to have at least a correct analysis of what the implication of the economic implications are of regulations. it's so important and critically important that we enforce our
environmental laws and to keep our air clean and get it cleaner and protect our waters. in january of 2014, a storage tank in charleston, west virginia was corrupted and went into the river, it was right by the water flow of the major water source in my community. 300,000 people had to do without water for several weeks. it caused a lot of angst economically to small businesses. imagine a restaurant not being able to use water or you can't wash your clothes. you couldn't do anything with the water. but also, i share this concern, concern about the health and the long-range implications of what's happened. several people, multiple individuals and freedom industries have pled guilty to environmental crimes in federal court which i'm very pleased about. so let's talk about tosca. because i was able to support a provision that would say that if you are storing in close proximity to drinking water, you have to take that into consideration when you are reviewing potentially hazardous
chemicals. can we count on tou work with this committee to make sure this bipartisan tosca reform bill is fully implemented and efficiently and fully? >> absolutely, senator. in fact, i would commend the work of this committee with senator inhofe's leadership and passing that update to the legislation. for the first time in history, as you know, the epa has the ability to order testing to address chemicals that are going to be entered into the stream of commerce and that's a very big substantive change that exists. there are many deadlines. >> i would also add, excuse me just a minute because i'm running out of time, in tosca we actually expanded the epa's reach. so when you're asked if, you know, you're wanting to get rid of the epa or it doesn't have a value, i voted to expand that reach of epa to make sure that i have clean water and if a spill happens in a community around this country, what's happened in flint, michigan doesn't have the
far-reaching implications that it does. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. >> senator carton. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome to the committee. thank you for your willingness to serve our country. i want to talk about the chesapeake bay program. we talked about that in my office. i explained to you and i will do it very quickly. this is a program that was developed at the state level with the states that are in the watershed including delaware, with my colleague senator carper. it's a state that the locals have determined how it's best to reach their pollution targets in order to help preserve the chesapeake bay, the largest estuary in the northern hemisphere. it doesn't flush itself as many bodies of water do. it has a reduction of oyster crops. so many problems. all the stake holders have gotten together, worked out a plan. the federal government is part of that plan. it's enforced through the tmdl program. and it has been agreed to by the
local governments. it was challenged, the tmdls, including you joined that lawsuit. the supreme court refused to overturn the court of appeals supporting the use of the tmdls. if you are confirmed, will you support the federal role in the chesapeake bay program as envisioned by the partners and stake holders enforcing the tmdls if necessary? >> yes, senator. as i indicated in our office, at the time that we had together, i really commend the six states that joined together to address the chesapeake bay and to try to set levels for both point source and non-point source type of discharge into the chesapeake bay. there were some concerns about the precedent, the role that epa was playing initially, but through that litigation, the epa has acknowledged their role is more informational and there was concern in oklahoma about the mississippi river basin and the precedent was set in that matter. that's what spawned our litigation. but i really want to emphasize to you, that process represents what should occur for states to
join together and enter into an agreement to address water quality issues and involve the epa to serve the role it's supposed to serve is something that should be commended and celebrated. and as it relates to enforcing that tmdl, i can commit to you that in fact i will do so. >> part of the federal government's partnership is to provide resources. will you support the federal government's partnership through funding these programs that are critically important to make the advancements in the chesapeake bay watershed? >> yes, senator. i believe that the grant making role of the epa as we talked about in your office is very important to states across this country, whether it's the revolving funds or the wifia portions of our statutes but grant making in general is very important. i will commit to you in that regard that i would do so with respect to the chesapeake bay. >> i want to continue on clean
water for one moment. we have had significant problems with safe drinking water and clean water. let me ask you a preliminary question. do you believe there is any safe level of lead' that can be taken into the human body, particularly a young person? >> senator, that's something i have not reviewed, nor know about. i would be very concerned about any level of lead going into the drinking water or obviously human consumption. but i have not looked at the scientific research on that. >> the clean water act provides for federal guidance as to acceptable clean water, it's enforced by the states so my question to you in regards to clean water is what steps will you take to make sure that our children are safe? we saw in flint, michigan a tragedy occur. where do you think the federal government needs to strengthen its regulatory roles to make sure that our children are safe
from lead? >> i think with flint, michigan it's an example of not delay in response by the epa. there should have been more done on corrosion control programs with the flint, michigan system. as you know, under the clean water act and the safe drinking water act, if there's an emergency situation, the epa can enter an emergency order to address those kinds of concerns. i think there should have been a more fast response, a more rapid response to flint, michigan. i think with respect to water quality, it is infrastructure. water infrastructure is important. and as you indicated, the states play a very vital role in that process and there needs to be more cooperation between the epa and the states to ensure water quality -- >> so i understand, you have filed and participated in several lawsuits against the epa's involvement saying the locals should have the responsibility. if you are confirmed, will you support federal enforcement,
particularly in multi-state issues, where the only way we can get enforcement is at the federal level? >> i believe that is a vital role of the epa. as i indicated in your office, with air quality, water quality, issues that cross state line, there is an enforcement mechanism that is important. and would seek to do so if confirmed as epa administrator. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator cardin. senator fisher? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. pruitt, for being here today but also for accepting the nomination. it is a service and a sacrifice, not just for you but for your family as well to step forward to serve this country. so thank you, sir, for being willing to do that. for your testimony, i do thank you. i would like to first of all let you know that nebraskans have been really affected by the epa
in many instances and i will give you some examples of that. nebraska's public power utilities are grappling with how they could ever comply with the epa's carbon emission reduction mandates. the city of omaha is struggling with the agency's expensive cs omo mandate and drinking water affordability. farmers are waiting on new crop technology products that are stuck in a broken regulatory process. our biofuel producers are desperate for certainty under the rfs. home builders, transportation stake holders and local county officials are concerned about the jurisdictional expansion to control our state's water resources. communities and small business owners fear that the epa's ozone mandate will stunt potential
economic development and growth in our state. as a result of the activist role the epa has played for the last eight years, families are concerned about the futures of their livelihood. we all want clean air and clean water. that is one point i know each and every person here agrees on. but with the epa's tremendous impact on americans' lives, each and every day, it is important that the agency be open, transparent and answerable for its actions. given these concerns along with the many others that have been and will continue to be discussed today, what steps will you take as the epa administrator to provide relief for american families that are faced truly with an onslaught of epa rules? >> senator, you mentioned open, transparent rule making. there are concerns that have been expressed recently with respect to regulation through
litigation where groups initiate litigation against the epa, the united states government, and set environmental policy through something called a sue and settle process. this body as well as the u.s. house have looked at those kinds of issues. when we talk about open transparency, there's a reason why the administrative procedures act exists. it is intended to provide notice to those that are going to be impacted with rules, to give them an opportunity to offer comment and to inform the regulators on the impact of those rules, and then it's the obligation of the regulator to take those things into consideration and finalizing rules. otherwise they act in an arbitrary and capricious way. so it's very important that that process be adhered to to give voice to all americans in balancing the environmental objectives we have but also the economic harm that results, and the supreme court has spoken about that rather consistently of late. i would seek to lead the epa in such a way to ensure that openness and transparency. >> you know a couple weeks ago,
we had i felt a very good conversation about our shared vision for the epa to bring common sense and accountability back to that agency. i think that's going to go a long way in restoring confidence in the agency by the american people. one issue we did discuss was the renewable fuel standard and its importance to my home state of nebraska. we are the largest ethanol producer west of the missouri river. our neighbors to the east, senator ernst's home state, they do lead the nation in ethanol production. honoring the volume requirements and timelines that are critical from an investment point of view and also from a planning perspective, i think this is especially relevant, especially during the current farm crisis
that we are seeing and the negative impact on people in agriculture all across this nation. in our meeting, you did express your commitment to me to honor the law and you echoed president-elect trump's support for the statute itself and a strong rvo. for the record, can you please once again express your commitment to uphold the congressional intent of the rfs? >> yes, senator. you said it well. to honor the intent and the expression of the removal of fuel standard statute is very important. it's not the job of the administrator of the epa to do anything other than administer the program according to the intent of congress. i commit to you to do so. and i would say this. the waivers that routinely are offered by the administrator, recently another waiver was offered, it should be used judiciously. there's a reason why congress put in that statute those statutory objectobjectives.
the market has changed since 2005 and the waiver authority provided by this body is important but the waiver authority should be used judiciously and the act should be complied with and enforced consistent with the will of congress. >> thank you, sir. i would ask that you also tell us publicly what you told us that you will honor the timelines on the volume levels that are mandated by congress. >> yes. yes, senator. >> thank you, senator. senator merkley? >> thank you, mr. chairman. over a number of years, information started pouring in to epa that the estimate of the amount of fugitive methane escaping in gas and oil drilling had been deeply underestimated. in 2011, the epa put out its best estimates based on the information that was being presented and this is relevant because methane is a global warming gas, more important than co2. gas companies didn't like this because well, it presented a vision of natural gas being more
damaging environmentally than folks had previously understood. devon energy is one of the groups that sought to cast doubt on this scientific information and they came to you to be their spokesperson. they asked will you be our mouthpiece in casting doubt and send a letter we have drafted to the epa, and you sent that letter. and i just want to ask first, are you aware that methane is approximately 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas? >> i am, senator. >> thank you. >> the impact -- >> that's the answer. yes. thank you. it's a yes/no question. on a 1 to 10 scale, how concerned are you about the impacts of fugitive methane in driving global warming? >> methane as you indicated -- >> 1 to 10 scale. highly, 10, very concerned or 1, not so concerned? >> the quantities of methane in the atmosphere compared to co2
is less but it's far more potent. >> i'm asking about your level of concern. highly concerned? >> i'm concerned. >> thank you. do you acknowledge accepteding this letter sending this letter to the epa in 2011? >> that's a letter on my letterhead sent to the epa, yes. >> you acknowledge that 97% of the words in that letter came directly from devon energy? >> i have not looked at the percentage -- >> the statement that's been analyzed many times is that all of the 1,016 words except for 37 words were written directly by devon energy. >> that was a step taken as attorney general representing the interests of our state. >> yes. i didn't ask that question. i was just asking if you copied the letter virtually word for word. you have acknowledged that yes, it's in the record. people can count it as correct. all right. so a public office is about serving the public. there is a public concern over the impact of methane on global warming. there is scientific research showing that it's far more devastating than anticipated and
far more is leaking but you used your office as a direct extension of an oil company rather than a direct extension of the interests of the public health of the people of oklahoma. do you acknowledge that you presented a private oil company's position rather than a position developed by the people of oklahoma? >> senator, with respect, i disagree. the efforts i took as attorney general were representing the interests of the state of oklahoma. >> earlier you said -- >> there was concern -- >> no, excuse me. i'm asking the questions. you said earlier you listen to everyone. in drafting this letter you took an oil company's position and then without consulting people who had diverse views about the impact, you sent it off. how can you present that as representing the people of oklahoma when you simply only consulted an oil company to push its own point of view for its private profit? >> senator, there's an obligation the epa has to follow processes as established by this
body. the cost benefit analysis under section 112 is something they have to engage in. there was concern about the overestimated percentages that the epa put in the record. it was a record-based challenge. that was the expression of the letter to the epa and it was representing the interests of an industry in the state of oklahoma. not a company. an industry. >> my question was, what other groups, environmental groups or other groups did you consult so that you had that full perspective before representing simply a for-profit oil company using your official office and your official letterhead? >> i consulted with other environmental officials in oklahoma that regulate that industry and learned from them with respect to the concerns about the estimates that were provided boy they the epa. >> can you provide information concerning who you consulted and representing this letter specifically? the information that's in the public realm only shows that they simply sent you a letter, asked you to send it, and you sent it without questions. >> we have seven or so individuals in our office that are involved in these kinds of issues. we will collect information they have and provide it to this body pursuant to the chairman's
direction. >> your staff expanded substantially while you were in charge to 251 staff members. why do you need an outside oil company to draft a letter when you have 250 people working for you? >> senator, as i have indicated, that was an effort, it was protecting the state's interest and making sure that we made the voices of all oklahomans heard on a very important industry to our state. >> you said all, but you only sent it on behalf of a single voice. the oil company. thank you. >> i still have time remaining for my questioning. is there anything you would like to add that you haven't felt you have had a chance to in terms of answering fully some of the areas of questioning? >> i think, senator, the clarification that the letter that was sent to the epa was not sent on behalf of any one company. this was not particular to devon energy or chesapeake or other companies in our state. it was particular to an industry. the state of oklahoma has an oil and gas industry that is vibrant to our state, just like many of you have industry in your state. there was concern expressed by that industry, many folks in
that industry, about the overestimating that occurred with that methane rule, that was the communication to the epa, it was the position of the state, not the position of any one company. >> thank you. senator? >> chairman, thank you very much. general pruitt, welcome to the committee. thank you for your public service. i will see if i can get through three areas in the five minutes that i have. first of all, wotus, waters of the united states. despite there being an injunction against the enforcement of the wotus rule, i'm told epa region seven, the region in which kansas is part, those region inspectors have increased their inspection of smaller animal feeding operations unlike many states, kansas has a well-established state permit system for small facilities as well as the delegated authority under the clean water act. rather than coordinate the epa rather than coordinatinging with the state agency, they engaged
in its own enforcement on small facilities often conflicting with state permitting and ten forcement process. in these actions the epa claimed jurisdiction over features like grass waterways, culverts under county roads, unconnected to the feeding operation and not situated in or near any body of water. general pruitt, what would your direction be to the epa staff to region seven and others in regard to their actions enforcing wotus while an injunction is in place? >> as you indicated, i do want to acknowledge the same concerns have been expressed by those individuals in oklahoma and different groups. with respect to the wotus definition that has been offered by teshgs pa that is subject to a 31 state challenge that was consolidated there before the sixth circuit and there has been a stay of enforcement against that particular rule. spro supreme court last friday took up a matter of jurisdiction on that case so that adds some complexity to this. but i think the role of the epa
prospectively is to seek to provide clarity on what the true definition, what the best definition is with respect to waters of the united states. there is much flexibility and discretion given to the epa. in a series of cases that lead up to the decision that haven't provided tremendous amount of clarity. the best thing the epa can do going forward is reestablish that clarity so that states and individuals know what's expected of them in compliance. >> general, thank you. i don't think i need to remind you in particular about the role that states play in clean water but i would take a moment to highlight something that is often i think forgotten in the regulatory world of water, water quality, is the department of agriculture. the natural resource conservation service in which land owners are assisted through the department of agriculture in improving water quality and quantity in a very partnership oriented local effort that is significantly different than the tremendous reach from the epa in
washington, d.c. as compared to local efforts by landowners themselves to work with usda to solve problems. let me move to my second question. it resolves the flint hills, a native grassland in our state. the owners of those grasslands, these are thousands of acres of grass, they burn the prairie in early spring for purposes of regeneration of that grass. it is learned from the indians, lightning used to be the method by which that grassland burned. less so now with the settlements that have occurred of our country. as a result of that annual burning, that is ecologically desirable, there is times in which a city, even one of our own, wichita, for example, is no longer -- has been a nonattainment under the clean air act. i raise this issue to you in asking that you work if you are confirmed, you work with the state of kansas in our local efforts to manage the burning of
the natural grasslands in a way that is advantageous to wildlife habitat, at the same time is done in a timely fashion at appropriate times and appropriate amounts that preserves the air quality but again, not a heavy-handed approach that one size solution or a ban fits the circumstance. >> if confirmed, senator, i look forward to working with you on that issue. >> shai thank you for that. finally i want to highlight a small town in kansas, pretty prairie. typical name, perfect name for a town in our state. pretty prairie, kansas is a population of about 700 people. for several decades, because of the need -- because of high nitrates in the city's water levels, because of high levels of nitrate in the city water system, the city has provided free bottled water to its citizens. and my question to you is now the epa is disallowing that practice and requiring the city to spend approximately $2.4 million and raise the rates of
our residents of that community by $80 a month while the community seemingly is satisfied with the solution of the city providing an alternative to the expense of a new water treatment plant. i ask this question as again, as an example of where a rigid decision as compared to a community-based decision seems to prevail at the epa and would give you an opportunity to confirm to me what i hope you would say is that you will work with communities, you as an oklahoman, me as a kansan and many members of this committee represent lots of communities in which the population is insufficient to be able to pay for the costs of water or sewer treatment. we need financial resources to accomplish that but we also need common sense solutions to the problem. >> senator, i look forward to working with you on that issue as well as the other. there's a saying in the environmental space, national standards, neighborhood solutions. i think it's important for the
epa administrator, those in washington, to learn as i indicated, as i said in my opening statement, to listen and learn from those, from you, with respect to the needs of your community and your state and collaborate with you and the local officials to achieve good outcomes. >> i look forward to educating you on behalf of kansas. >> thank you. senator booker? >> good morning, mr. pruitt. >> good morning, senator booker. >> i have a letter i read that you sent to the committee last year and you said the oklahoma attorney general, you said i am responsible for protecting the welfare of oklahoma citizens. i assume that's still correct and you believe that? >> yes, senator. >> and during the past six years in pursuit of that, if you look at the record of the lawsuits you filed against the epa, you have had -- you have joined or filed 14 lawsuits against the epa challenging clean air and clean water rules. yes? >> we have been involved in multiple pieces of litigation, senator. >> but i'm looking at specifically 14 and mr. chairman, i would like to put those 14 lawsuits into the record, where you specifically
challenged the epa on air quality. let me just go through some of those. >> without objection. >> thank you, sir. to refresh your recollection, you filed lawsuits challenging mercury air toxin standards. you challenged the national air ambient quality standards for ozone. you filed lawsuits challenging the clean power plan. you have sued to challenge the epa's 111b standards for carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. you also sued to challenge the epa's federal implementation plan for oklahoma under the regional haze rule. you are familiar with those, i imagine? >> yes, senator. >> and you filed a lawsuit challenging the epa cross-state air pollution rules, something in new jersey we are very concerned with. and are you aware that that rule which you lost in that suit, scientists estimate that that alone prevents 400,000 asthma attacks nationally each year.
are you aware? >> yes, your honor. yes, senator. >> i appreciate your promotion. let me continue, mr. pruitt. i don't have much time. each of these lawsuits i just went through that we analyzed, all of them challenge attempts by the epa to reduce air pollution. in all of them except one, you filed those lawsuits joining with polluting companies that were also suing the epa. and so in addition to filing those lawsuits, with some of the polluting companies or at least one that has been specifically mentioned by two of my colleagues, you used a substantial portion of the letters from those companies, put them on your official attorney general letterhead, and what was sort of surprising to me is that when you have been asked about this in the public, you basically represented that that's actually called representative government in my view of the world. your testimony here says that you were representing industry, you were representing the polluters. so with all of these lawsuits
you filed, and with all of these letters like this one, written to the epa on behalf of the industries that are causing the pollution, it seems clear to me that obviously the fact pattern on representing polluters is clear, that you worked very hard on behalf of these industries that have their profits externalized, negative externalities are their pollution. so i just have a question for you specifically about the children of oklahoma. do you know how many kids in oklahoma roughly have asthma? >> i do not, senator. >> well, according to data published by nonpartisan group the american lung association, more than 111,000 children in oklahoma which is more than 10%, more than 1 in 10 of all the kids in oklahoma, have asthma. that's one of the highest asthma rates in the entire united states of america. now, this is a crisis similar
data for where i was mayor and i can tell you first-hand the devastating impacts that kids with asthma, that asthma has on children and families, affecting their economic well-being, parents who have to watch their children struggle to breathe, people that have to miss work rushing their kids to the hospital. one in ten kids having a disease, missing school, is a significant problem. and so if you have been writing letters on behalf of polluting industries, i want to ask you how many letters did you write to the epa about this health crisis? if this is representative government, did you represent those children? i want to know what actions you have taken in the past six years in your capacity as protector of the welfare of oklahoma citizens to protect the welfare of those 111,000 children. did you ever let any of them write letters on your letterhead to the epa and did you even file one lawsuit, one lawsuit, on behalf of those kids to reduce the air pollution in your state
and help them to have a healthy life? >> senator, i have actually provided a list of cases to the chairman with respect to enforcement steps we have taken in multiple pieces of environmental litigation. but let mow say to you with respect to cross state air pollution and some of the cases you referred to. the state has to have an interest before it can bring those cases, as you know. you can't just bring a lawsuit if you don't have standing. if there has not been some injury to the state of oklahoma. in each of those cases -- >> my time has expired. if i can just say, injury? clearly asthma is triggered and caused by air pollutants. clearly there is an air pollution problem. the fact that you have not brought suits at any of the level at which you have represented the industries that are causing the pollution is really problematic when you are going to sit in a position that is nationally supposed to be affecting this reality. asthma in our country is the number one reason why children in america, health reason why children in america miss school. mr. chairman, thank you. >> thank you very much.
i submit for the record first an article from the tulsa world from scott thompson -- the headline is epa will be in good hands with scott pruitt. scott thompson is scott pruitt. he's the executive director of the oklahoma department of environmental quality. talks about the excellent work done and ends way quote, epa will be in good hands with scott pruitt. i would point out that between 2004 and 2008 and we'll submit this for the record, the most recent employers of obama administration senior epa officials sued the epa with 12 lawsuits at least in the time that when george w bush was in his second term, cynthia giles, gina mccarthy. they were petitioners and plaintiffs filing suits against the epa and finally i'll submit an editorial where to point out
that this back to the tulsa world, over the past six years pruitt's legal team has consistently shown deference to the legal expertis and professionals at deq, the department of environmental quality. this was written by the executive director. i cannot recall an instance where they did not allow us to pursue legal action when deemed necessary. and then finally from mike actuary pin who is the former chairman of the oklahoma democratic party. the job of the epa is guaranteed clean air and clean water. pruitt has never kproes miezed those critical components with any actions he has taken. senator rounds. >> enthusiasm, mr. chairman. >> welcome attorney general pruitt. i notice that you didn't have the opportunity in the time allotted for senator booker's question, would you care to finish your response with regard to the role that the state's have and their ability to either participate in a suit and
whether or not they have standing would you like to finish your thoughts. >> thank you, senator. as i indicated in your office, the enforcement role in the state of oklahoma is different than other states. we have multiple agencies, department of agriculture that have frontline enforcement authority with respect to our environmental laws. the role that we play in my office largely is a general council role. we provide guidance and direction to those agencies. there are many cases we have initiated in conjunction with them but mainly those agencies enforce actions at their level. many of those agencies have dozens of attorneys on their staff and a general council in their own right bring those enforcement actions. you mentioned several of the cases from mads to clean air pollution the rest. i believe the cross air pollution rule say very important statute that epa should enforce. if there's down wind states contributing to -- up wind
states that are contributing to nonattainment of down wind states there should be responsibility for those states. we have this issue with texas at times. the lawsuit was not questioning the authority of the epa to regulate under the cross state air pollution rule. it was more that they were trying to assess damages against certain states that were in excess of their allocated share. each of those cases i would ask you to remember, i'm an advocate in behalf of the state of oklahoma. there's a state's interest as senator rounds indicated that has to be in play to say that any of those cases is about any one company is just simply not right. there's no parens standing that i have as attorney general to bring a case on behalf after a private citizen. there has to be a standing injury to the state's interest to bring those cases, i would ask you to consider that as we make -- >> thank you, senator rounds. >> thank you, sir for your
complete response. as the chairman of the i've had the opportunity to look at their the basis the way they've made their decisions known and the logic they use in get to go those decisions. we had a chance to talk about it in my office the other day and one of the items i brought about we have received comments from the small business administration office a copy i've gotten. i'd like to have put into the record, mr. chairman. thank you. this was a letter that was sent to the epa in october of 2014 requesting that the epa withdraw the proposed waters of the u.s. rule, and reevaluate the impacts the rule would have on american small business. now this is a federal agency requesting the epa take a second look at a proposed rule. the epa refused this request and issued the final rule that we have today. what are your thoughts on this
and would you if you are approved and become the next administrator of the epa would you take a second look for having a valid reason for having the waters of the u.s. rule considered again? >> i think senator the response to the sixth circuit and where we are presently with the litigation, there are definitely need to address that on a perspective basis. historically as you know under the clean water act and even before it was passed, waters of the u.s. equally navigatable, in fact, waters. we know from a couple of cases that let up to the most recent case that the clean water act it's something more than just -- what that more is has to be determined and assessed. as i indicated earlier, the most important thing is to provide certainty, to make sure that the clean water act helps those at the state level know where the boundaries are, where they have jurisdiction and where they don't so we can have regulations
that are fair and equitable. >> in the lawsuits that you've brought against the environmental protection agency on behalf of the state of oklahoma would it be fair to say that a number of those are based upon the environmental protection agency failing to follow it's own rules in the prom you'll gas station of those rules. >> yes. i think whether it's the mads case or the power plant case or a multitude of cases, the courts have agreed that the epa exceeded its authority. it's not acted within the framework that congress has established in performing the role that it's supposed to perform. that's the reason i mentioned in the opening statement the process matter. federalism matters. those issues matter because congress has said so. it is congress who gives authority to the epa. the epa's an administrative agency. it's important for that agency to act within the framework and authority that congress has provided it in doing its job. in leading the epa if confirmtd, think if i do that effectively
it will provide confidence, certainty to those that are regulated to know what's expected of them and improve our air and water because of that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> this morning noaa nasa has declared 2016 the hottest year in the 137 year old record that is been kept. donald trump has called global warming a hoax caused by the chinese. do you agree that global warming is a hoax? >> i do not, senator. >> so donald trump is wrong. >> i do not believe that climate change say hoax. >> okay. that's important for the president to hear. mr. pruitt, you've made a career working on behalf of the fossil fuel industry to eadvice rate regulations designed to protect public health and the environment. you have sued the epa 19 times to stop clean air and water protections. eight of those cases are still
ongoing including your litigation that challenges critical rules that reduce levels of hazardous smog, mercury and carbon pollution. as epa administrator would be in a position to serve as plaintiff, defendant, judge and jury on these ongoing eight lawsuits and that would be wrong. in your ethics agreement, you have said that you would not participate in any matter that is ongoing, litigation within one year but mr. pruitt, isn't it correct that these lawsuits may very well continue for much longer than one year. >> senator, i have the letter from the ethics council at the epa and the one year time period is addressed to cover entities. the southern theological seminary those entities are covered entity so if there's a matter that arises within the epa within a one-year period
that involves those entities then the recusal would be in order. that's the focus of the one year timeline. >> would you agree to recuse yourself from those lawsuits that you brought as the attorney general of oklahoma against the epa not just for one year but for the entirety of the time that you are the administrator of the epa, will you commit to doing that? >> for clarity, i think that it's important to note that the one year time period again is for those covered entities that were highlighted in the epa letter. with respect to pending litigation, the epa ethics council indicated with respect to specific matters there will be an opportunity to get down sill from the epa at that point to determine what steps can be taken to avoid appearances of re -- >> are you saying you will not recuse yourself from matters for the time that you are the head of epa? >> i'm not saying that at all. >> you are saying that.
will you recuse yourself. >> i'm saying that the epa council has indicated those cases will require review by the epa ethics council. then recusal would potentially be in order and i would follow the guidance -- >> that is a clear line for the american public given your record from oklahoma in suing the epa on all of these matters that if you don't agree to recuse yourself then again you become plaintiff, defendant, judge and jury on the cases that you're bringing right now as attorney general of oklahoma against the epa and that -- the epa is for all of the people of the united states, not just the fossil fuel industry of oklahoma. so you're not committing and i think that's a big mistake, mr. pruitt to recuse yourself from those cases. it is critical and moreover, you also are in a position to initiate regulations that could
overturn smog protections, carbon pollution protections that are right now on the books that you are suing as attorney general of oklahoma to overturn. would you commit to not regulating promulgating new regulations where you right now are suing the epa? will you make a commitment to recuse yourself from doing that? >> let me be clear because we talked about this in your office. in addition to this area that we talked about, i have every willingness and desire to recuse as directed by epa ethics council. and if directed to do so i will, in fact, do so. there's a difference as you know between pending litigation of a particular matter with specific parties and perspective rule making. rule making is their process. >> what the american people are expecting here is the epa doesn't turn into every
polluters ally. the only way to ensure that is for you to recuse yourself from the cases that you have brought because most of them are to overturn the clean air, clean water, smog regulations. so to create an appearance of independence it's critical that you recuse yourself. >> i'll recuse. >> otherwise, honestly, people are going to think that it's not just the fox guiding the hen house, it's the fox destroying the hen house because you haven't distanced yourself from the actual litigation that you have initiated on most of the key issues that you are now going to have responsibility for protecting in terms of the public health of the entire country. >> and senator i can say to you unequivocally i will recuse. >> you should just start out saying i'm going to recuse myself from anything that relates to any litigation that i have initiated as the attorney
general of oklahoma that questions the clean air, clean water, climate change or smog or mercury protections which are right now on the books that the epa is honored to protect and if you don't do that, then we're going to have a fundamental conflict of interest that is presented by your presence as the administrator of the epa. it just gets down to being a matter as simple as that. >> senator's time is expired. thank you. for clarification, will you fully follow the advice of the epa ethics council. >> yes, mr. chairman. >> thank you. an additional clarification, i note the letter to this committee on january 4th and i'm submitting to the record, we this is the office of government ethics believe that this nominee is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing
conflicts of interest and then there was a letter yesterday from walter shob director office of ethics responding to a letter from senator carper and other democrats regarding pruitt and potential conflicts of interest. if the office of government ethics has transmitted a certified financial disclosure report and an ethics agreement to the senate which they have, it means the office of government ethics is satisfied that all financial conflicts of interest have been identified and resolved. >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you attorney general pruitt for appearing in front of us today. i enjoyed our conversation both one on one and then in a group setting as well and i would like to go back andry visit our discussion on the rfs as you know iowa is home to 43 edge nol refineries. we are the largest producer of ethinol west or east of the
missouri river. president-elect trump reiterated his support for bio fuels while he was campaigning across iowa and all across the midwest and those areas of the country overwhelmingly supported his candidacy and led to his victory and thank you for stating once again that you would honor his commitment to bio fuels by carrying out the rfs as intended by congress. policy certainty is key for economic growth and this is something that we discussed in my office. unfortunately as a result of uncertainty surrounding the epas renewable fuel targets in 2014, 2015 and 2016, second generation bio fuel investment decreased and proposed projects moved overseas. fortunately the epa has recently changed its course and released
updated volume targets for the rfs to meet the levels prescribed by congress. if confirmed as administrator what will you do to continue to provide certainty so that investment can continue to happen right here at home in the united states? >> senator, as you've indicated in our meeting the importance -- the infrastructure investment that has occurred in reliance upon the law was passed in 2005 and updated in 2007. as i indicated earlier to senator fisher's question the latitude discretion that's been given with respect to waiving those statutory targets should be ju dishly used. it shouldn't be automatic. it should be something that the epa administrator complies to because of the will of this body. i think those waivers are in order but with respect to market conditions, we have less consumption today, more fuel efficient vehicles. market conditions have changed since 2005 but despite that the
epa administrator should not use that or to put into question the commitments made by this body in the renewable fuel standard statute. >> thank you for your commitment and the intention of congress. i also want to touch on an issue you mentioned in your testimony which is the level of fear and distrust many folks have of the epa. when i'm home in iowa i host town halls all across the state and just want to hear what's going on in their communities. and what i hear without fail at these town houlz is that folks are frustrated with the epa and the gotcha mentality that is stemmed from the agency. my constituents tell me that the epa is out to get them rather than work with them and there is a huge lack of trust between many of my constituents and the epa. and if we take a look specifically at the woe tuesday rule iowaens truly fill the epa
ignored their comments and concerned, through them under the rug and moved forward. we know now that the epa relied on gimmicky mass e-mails and social media events to prop up their message and then they used those tactics to insinuate that anyone that had reasonable concerns about the wotus rule are somehow in favor of dirty water, which is absolutely ridiculous. and this type of culture that was created under the obama administration has no place. has no place here. so mr. pruitt, what do you plan to do in your first days as the administrator to improve the relationships epa has with the hard working folks across the country? >> this paradigm that we live within today that if you're proenergy you're antienvironmental is something that i think is just a false narrative. we can do better than that. this country has shown for
decades that we can grow our economy and be a good stuart of our air land and water and we need to get back to that. cooperative federalism is he heart of many environmental statutes and the reason for that is if the states many times that have the resources, the expert isand understanding what the unique challenges are. it's not that they don't care about it. senator whitehouse indicated would create a problem. that's not what i'm advocating and i think we here in the marketplace. we need a partnership between the epa in performing its role along with the states performing theirs. we have that partnership i think we'll have better air, better water quality as a result. >> i look forward to that partnership and transparency. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you. >> thank you. mr. pruitt, i'm -- i want to
clarify your response to on this whole congressional intent when it cops to the rfs. what i want to know and the people of illinois we are also a great producer of edge nol where exactly do you stand on the rfs. are you the attorney general who only three years ago cited with big oil to slam the rfs and i quote said that rfs was unwork shall and also that it was a flawed program. so i'm a little confused about what you're saying today because are you that mr. pruitt or are you the scott pruitt today who's saying all the right things in this confirmation hearing and in these meetings to try to reassure a prior rfs states by repeating nice sounding but ultimately vague and hollow mantra that if confirmed you would enforce the rfs law as written by congress as you and i are quite well aware of such a statement essentially dojz the
critical issue for bio fuels producers and workers because under the law the epa has considerable discretion to adjust the renewable volume obligation in a manner that you would argue is contrary to congressional intent yet may be client with the explicit letter of the statute. so you could still technically be in compliance with congress with the law but actually be working against it and your answers today have not clarified that. so my question to you, mr. pruitt, is this, which specific actions has epa taken since 2007 while administering the rfs that you in your view are not consistent with congressional intent, can you name any? >> thank you, senator. the administrator and the epa routinely misses the statutory targets and publishing those each year creating great uncertainty in the marketplace. they've missed the timeline by over a year in some cases, in
some cases over two years. >> yes or no, do you believe that congress intended for the rfs to increase the amount of renewable fuel blended in our nation's liquid transportation fuel supply, yes or no. >> without question. >> without question. >> all right. my second question then is yes or no, do you believe congress intended for the rfs to be a stable policy that drives private investment in the renewable energy industry. >> yes. >> and finally if confirmed will you commit to opposing to move the point of obligation under the rfs program from refiners to blenders. >> as you know the epa is actually involved in a comment period on that very issue and to prejudge the outcome of that i would not be able to do that. there are many aspects of the program from the trading program, the monitoring of fraud in the system that need to be better administered by the epa. we talked about it a minute ago with the senator about the
amount of investment that's gone in to the infrastructure because of the 2005 law. those individuals need to have certainty and confidence that the rfs is going to be enforced and administered pursuant to the desires of congress. >> but if you were to do that then you would actually have to answer yes, because to move the rfs program from refiners to blenders is actually one of those ways that you are actually undermine the rfs standards as intended by congress which you yourself just now said was intended to increase the amount of bio fuels blended into the fuel supply of the united states. this is my problem. on the one hand your entire track record shows you to be someone who owe poses the rfs and in meetings with senators you are giving these vague answers that sound right when it comes to the rfs butts really opens all sorts of bag doors and that is very trouble some because all across the
midwest -- you know, for those of us who fought to strengthen national security by lessenning our country's dependence on foreign oil i'm concerned about the future of rfs under a scott pruitt led epa and i'm also concerned about what you're going to do in terms of protecting the environment. in your answer to one of my colleagues about what the role of the epa is, what is the job of the epa one of the first questions you got you spent five minutes talking before you actually said protect the environment. you talked all about reducing epa's influence over states for a good five minutes before you actually got to the environment. and then for my farmers, my corn and soybean producers, the rfs is critical in order to continue that and i would rather burn american made american grown corn and soybean in my gas tank than i would oil from the middle east. i've already been to a war fought over oil in the middle east and i don't intend to allow
us to continue to do that which is why the rfs is so critical not just for the jobs in illinois, not just to support agriculture but for our national security when it comes to where we're going to get our energy supply. i'm out of time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> if i may. >> senator, let me say to you the role of the administrator of the epa is to enforce and administer the rfs program to carry out the objectives of that statute. those targets that have been put in that statute by this body need to be respected, the discretion authority the waiver authority of the administrator meeds to be judicially used to addressed those concerns that we've talked about and so i don't want you to have any concern about the intent, objective or will if confirmed of carrying out the rfs mandate or the statute. >> that very answer concerns me because you've not actually said you're going to stick with it. >> i like to submit for the record one letter from the american farm bureau federation
which strongly supports the nomination of scott pruitt and urges vote in favor of his confirmation. the second is a letter from the democratic attorney general of the state of arkansas former democratic attorney general dustin mcdaniel who has this to say about scott pruitt's work on the stem fossil levels. recent press accounts regarding these efforts unfairly mischaracterized the work that was done by general pruitt and his team. he was a staunch defender of sound science and good policy, has appropriate tools to protect the environment of his state. i saw first hand how general pruitt was able to bridge political divides and manage multiple agency agenda that was her arlded by most credible observers. senator bozeman. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you attorney general brewit for your willingness to serve. i think your buddy realizes that
these really are family affairs that truly effect everyone. >> in recent years epa has made it increasingly difficult for arkansas to manage its delegated national pollution discharge elimination system. too often the permits or rule makes or other actions sent to epa for review are returned with demands far more restrictive, additional expensive data collection is required and other costly onerous requirements. new leadership at epa is an opportunity to correct this course if federalism and instead restore cooperative federalism as intended. the state's have the expertis and local knowledge necessary to administer environmental programs. epa has the opportunity to play significant role support aig move back to cooperative
federalism. can you please explain how you change to the epa dynamic? being on transportation in the house, being ranking member of the senate is the epa is -- their attitude is we're with you unless you come out with a finding that is contrary and then we're going to do it our way. can you address that? >> i think two things, senator, one is we indicated earlier rule of law in making sure that the authority granted to the states under state implementation plans, delegation. also i think the epa needs to provide more assistance to the states in working in partnership, to be proactive. those regional administrators that we have across the country need to be seen as partners and not adversaries. i think restoring that confidence and relationship in seeking to do so is very
important in carrying out this partnership that we know exists under the various environmental statutes. >> very good. for the past eight years epa has acted as a political arm of the obama z-ogs time and time again. we've seen rules developed not based on sound science but on political i hadiology. when rules have been released states and private sector and even congress have had trouble getting epa to show the science that helped develop these rules. under your leadership, can we expect epa to be more transparent in other words, how the rules have been developed the science behind them and you've continued eluded to this as administrator of the epa can we count kount on you to base all of your decisions on the rule of law, not on the administrator's or even your own political yidology. >> absolutely, senator. public participation's important.
there's a reason why in rule making that you take comment. there's a reason as i indicated earlier that you involve those that are impacted by rule making because you want to understand the impact both economically and otherwise in the benefit of the environment as well as making sure that you craft rules and regulations that take all those things into consideration so hearing the voices of all americans in that rule making process, responding to those comments before rules are finalized, transparency, objectivity, a commitment to process is very important in my view of restoring the confidence of the american people in the rule making process that's occurred here in washington, d.c. >> so, again releasing the scientific data behind that would be something that you'd very much support. >> yes, senator. >> a problem that the epa -- epw's faced is a lack of communication. time and time again epa did not respond to questions from committee members or at the very least it took months to respond.
under your leadership can we expect epa to get committee members answers in a timely fashion. >> yes, senator. as i indicated in my opening statement, listening san important role of leadership and listen to the voices of the folks here in congress as i went through and met with many of you through this process there were issues particular to your state that you made me aware of and i if confirmed as epa seek to be very active and respond to this body with respect to questions. >> let me just comment on the arkansas/oklahoma issue. i was the congressman in that district and so i inherit that had in 2001. i've been workering on this for 15 years and i appreciate you and attorney general mcdaniel doing a very good job of getting things done. on the other hand, the idea that somehow you are soft, in fact, i would argue that -- the
agreement that was reached was way too restrictive and is probably one of the most restrictive water sheds as far as fossil requirements of any place in the united states. >> as you know, senator, in that process we actually selected a bile gist from baylor university to engage in a scientific study on what the level should be and it was determined at the end of that process that .037 is the right standard and is now enforceable on both sides of the border for the first time in history. >> i understand it and i commend you on the process. the implication here that you came up with a deal that was too soft and if anything i would argue that it was perhaps a little bit too harsh but i do appreciate the process. i know that you and our former attorney general were able to do something that had been going on for decades. >> thank you, senator.
>> you've been at it now for about two hours. if you can stay with us until we finish the first round of questioning, we have about five or six additional questions coming. senator harris is next and we'll break about 12:30. >> i'd like to unanimous concept to submit for the record the legal brief against the mercury and air toxic rule which mr. pruitt supported in that brief and i'll quote it, human exposure to methal america resulted in coal fired electric generating utilities is exceedingly small, close quote. i ask unanimous concept to submit for the record a recent article that quotes i think from the "the new york times" it quotes a 40 year career employee of the oklahoma department of environmental quality that has him saying these words, mr. pruitt has vated and stood up for the profits of businesses be it poultry companies or the energy industry and other
polluters at the expense of people who have to drink the water or breathe the air. and other statements have been introduced for the record saying quite a different thing about mr. pruitt. i think it's only fair to go to someone who's worked there for 40 years that has quite a different view. thank you. >> without objection. as an attorney general, we as attorney generals have several duties which include representing our problems, state agencies and also the discretion and power to initiate lawsuits in our independent capacity as attorneys general, would you agree with that? >> some states provide more latitude. >> does your state? >> our state is not provided constitutionally -- >> have you never exercised your independent capacity as attorney general to bring a legal action? >> senator, i would have to know more specific about what you're referring to but in response to your question --
>> have you ever exercised your independent capacity as the attorney general of your state to initiate a legal action, yes or no? >> the litigations that we've engaged in largely have been consultation with. >> largely so you have also exercised your independent capacity as the attorney general of your state is that correct? or not? >> i don't. >> you've been attorney general of your state for almost seven years. >> six years actually. >> i've read that you have initiated and it has been mentioned before 14 lawsuits in your independent capacity as the attorney general of oklahoma and apparently seven of those cases have been resolved, six of which you have lost. my question is, i hear that you are a lover of baseball, what was your batting average then be. >> it was generally about three hundred which is pretty good for second baseman. >> my calculation is .142. moving on would you agree that as attorneys who have the responsibility for doing the work of justices in particular
as an attorney general that we make decisions based on propropriety and impropriety. we make decisions based on what is not only an actual conflict but what is an appearance of conflict would you agree that's important? >> i believe that's important, senator. >> on this issue of whether or not you would be recused if you are nominated and actually voted in as the administrator of the epa, you have said that you will recuse yourself from the case your office has been involved in if direct today do that. do you agree that you have the z-egs to remove yourself from those case snz. >> i believe the -- >> do you believe you have the discretion to recuse yourself. >> i actually have an obligation in those instances as directed by ethics council -- >> independent of any direction from ethics council, do you agree you have the discretion to recuse yourself from those cases? >> i believe that it's important to maintain -- >> i'm asking about whether or not you actually have the
discretion, the power to recuse yourself, do you disagree or agree with that? >> there's a discretion to recuse. >> clearly. your familiar with the clean air act, yes? >> i'm sorry, senator? >> you are familiar with the clean air act. >> i am. >> and as you may know section 209, subdivision b of the clean air act recognizes california's authority to issue air pollution standards for new motor vehicle vehicles that go above and beyond federal standards. the epa has historically recognized california's new motor vehicle standards that go above and beyond federal standards. in your opening statement you write, it is not epa's mission to be against particular states. will you commit then to upholding that stam standard in recognizing california's authority to issue it's own new motor vehicle air pollution standards. >> as you indicated california was regulating those standards before the epa was actually created which is why the california waiver exists under
statutes. >> do you agree to uphold that same standard that has been held by your previous. >> i agree to review that as each administrator before me has. it's been a granted at times. >> do you agree to uphold, reviewing and upholding are two different points. >> administrators in the past have not granted the waiver and, in fact, have granted the waiver. that's a review process that will be conducted. >> what is your intention, sir? >> i don't know without going through the process to determine that, senator. and one would not want to presume the outcome. >> in the 14 cases that have been previously mentioned in each of those cases regulated companies were also a party to your suits, is that correct? >> in some instances, yes. >> in most of them. can you name a few instances in which you have a filed a lawsuit in your independent capacity as attorney general against a corporate entity for violating state or federal pollution laws. >> can you name them please? >> sure. there's a list that. >> can you name one? >> yes, the first is the may
hard egg farm in clean up of large hen operation that effected water quality. >> did you file a lawsuit in that case? >> i did, senator. >> okay, and what was the outcome of that case? >> we received a good outcome against them. >> and the name of that entity was what? >> mayhard egg farm. >> can you name any other cases where you have actually filed lawsuit against a corporate entity for violating federal pollution laws. >> in fact, that case was brought in conjunction with the epa and i want to address something senator earlier when you say independent capacity, those cases that you refer to the list of cases were an extension of the deq in the state of oklahoma, an extension of agencies at the state level. that authority granted to them by this body -- >> i understand that role as a former attorney general but that is you representing your client. i'm asking about your independent capacity as the attorney general of your state. let's move on. >> i would suggest that the senator's time is expired.
>> thank you. >> moving on. >> thank you. i would like to introduce for the record a letter by j.d. strong who is the director of the oklahoma department of wildlife conservation who in reference to the commission recently by the ranking member makes reference that a former employee who is retired from the state of oklahoma and is currently serving as vice chairman of the oklahoma chapter of the sierra club so the references are from now someone who is no longer a state employee but the vice chairman of the oklahoma chapter of the sierra club but this letter from mr. strong goes to talk about the efforts of attorney general pruitt who says for the past six years general pruitt has been instrumental in many of our successes and has never asked me to compromise regulatory efforts to benefit industry. he says on the contrary all of our projects and case that's involved his offices were given staff support at the highest
level and more often than not resulted in more stringent environmental protection. he has been a strong ally in defending our ability to continue the great progress that we made in protecting oklahoma's environment. >> mr. chairman, let me ask in response, let me just ask for -- for the record this is on be half of senator white house rebuttal arguments for mr. pruitt's claim in litigation against fossil companies, top line points from these articles fraud cases first and foremost. some were brought by his predecessor. case against bp was filed and left dormant at least per e and e publication. >> without objection. senator sullivan. >> thank you mr., chairman and
general pruitt, good to see you again. thank you for your willingness to serve and to your family as you know it's team effort so i want to thank them as well. i appreciated your opening statement particularly your written statement and i want to emphasize we all want clean air, we all want clean water. my state of alaska has some of the cleanest air and cleanest water, pristine environment literally in the world but your emphasis on the ability to do both to grow an economy, to develop our resources responsibly and protect the environment is very important and i appreciate that focus. i believe the epa needs a serious course correction as senator earn of the talked about there's a lot of anger, even fear of this agency throughout many parts of the country and i believe you are the right person to provide that course correction and do something that's very important which is regain the trust of the american people that i think has been
lost in a lot of places in america because of the overreach, because of the lack of focusing on the law. so there's been a lot of discussion this morning about cooperative federalism and can you explain it in a little more detail? is that your term or -- did you come up with that or is that something that was actually directed by congress? >> directed by congress, senator. >> and so in the clean air act and the clean water act, who is given what entity in our republican form of government was given the primary responsibility over clean air and clean water in the united states. >> as you know snoerks, under the clean air act something called state implementation plans that the epa and the state's review together but the states had that responsibility adopting the plan. >> isn't it correct actually in the law the primary responsibility under the clean air act and who directed that. >> congress. >> so when you're talking about
cooperative federalism that's not something scott pruitt invented, you are focusing on the intent of the congress. >> probably more so than any statutes that have been adopted by congress. the environmental statutes that we know from clean water to clean air to safe drinking water act many pieces of legislation, congress has been very explicit, very specific at saying that cooperative federalism, the role of the states is respected and emphasiz emphasized. >> let me show you a chart here. this is the waters of the u.s. in the states and entities that sued to stop that rule. 32. democrats and republicans and independents. do you think this is an example of cooperative federalism and if not if you're confirmed what are you going to do to get back to what is not a scott pruitt idea, it's the direct direction of the
congress of the united states. >> senator, when you think about the relationship between the epa and the states, the states are not mere vessels of federal will. they don't exist to carry out federal dictates. they are substance requirements, jurisdiction granted to the states under our environmental statutes. that needs to be respected. when it's not respected, that is what spawned most of this litigation that has been referenced here today. and why does it spawn it? because it matters. it matters that the state's participate in the way that congress is directed and they've been unable to do so for a number of years. >> so again, cooperative federalism, what your carrying out the will of congress when you're focused on that issue. >> that's exactly right. the expertise, the resources, how to fix environmental issues at the local level it something that's important for the entire country to know. >> so i am i former attorney general myself who's sued the
epa and some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, judge bookers comments, i think he tried to equate a little bit suing the epa not carrying for oklahoma's children, do you care about oklahoma's children. >> without question. i've got a couple sitting behind me. >> 14 lawsuits and again center boozman mentioned this, what has been the primary focus of those lawsuits? it's not that you don't care about the environment, is it? >> absolutely not. i care very much about the environment. it's to restore the relationship and ensure the relationship that congress is directed, the role of the states in improving our environment. there's an idea in washington that the states, those in oklahoma or in alaska or other parts of the country don't care about the water we drink or the air we breathe. the farmers and ranchers, those in industry in the state of oklahoma, most of them are very committed to that. when they have not been we've taken enforcement action against
them. >> one final question, a lot of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, senator sanders is up next vilifying the oil and gas industry, somehow bad actors polluters, according to the american petroleum institute 364,000 oklahomaens work in the oil and gas industry are related service sectors. are these people bad accounters? are they polluters? can you describe -- you talk about the good people in your written statement? who are these people and are you representing them when you're bringing these kinds of actions? are they evil people? >> no, senator. they want to comply with the law. they want to know what's expected of them. they care about the air they breathe and the water they drink and they want to make sure that the epa is partnering with state agencies and industry to ensure that that outcome occurs. >> and aren't these hundreds of thousands of people part of that industry? >> absolutely. 25% of our entire state budget
in oklahoma is from that industry. this is a state concerned. and more than that we have significant regulation over this industry, our corporation commission has oversight over many of these issues so we have regulatory bodies from deq to the corporation commission to others that are involved in making sure that the air we breathe and water we drink is clear in the state of oklahoma. >> thank you. >> thank you mr., pruitt for willing to serve this administration for your interest in public service and your past public service. >> thank you, senator. >> i want to talk to you about some of the constituents in my state antichallenges, the very real challenges we face. first we had millions of people lives up ended with superstorm sandy. we had parents who lost their children who drowned because of surges of water coming through their homes through the streets. the devastation was literally unparalleled in my state. it was just something we had never seen before.
and we are going to be looking to you to protect these families and protect these communities because we know with global climate change, the incidents of super storms and violent weather has changed. it's very different and you've already told folks that you do believe that global climate change is real. it has been caused by human activity. do you believe also that sea levels are rising? >> senator, i believe that the epa addressing this issue because of the endangerment has obligations to address the co 2 issue. they need to follow the processes set up by congress so i think it's very important to do both. >> but you've studied this issue of sea level you do realize they're rising and one of these storm surges were so high and devastating communities all across new york city so i need you to be vigilant because lives are at stake and i think you have the purview to do that.
will you be vigilant. >> senator, we will obviously address those issues that we talked about in your office and i appreciate your passion on this issue. >> one of the other issues that we talked about that i think is equally as concerning is issues of mercury that have been raised about asthma rates, about ground water polluted. i've looked at your record. most of the lawsuits you filed as attorney general were related to businesses, specifically what was important for your state in terms of employers and businesses. and the few lawsuits you did file about human safety were few and far between but this role anesthesia head of the epa you're going to have a much more important role to play and i want to talk specifically about mercury. if you believe that mercury say threat to public health but oppose the remedy of reducing mercury air pollution from power plants because it's too costly what then do you think you should do or what should be done to address the mercury pollution?
>> let me say, senator, the mercury is something it is a hazardous air pollutant. it is something that epa has authority to regulate and should regulate. it should do so within the framework saebed by this body and the supreme court said that the epa did not follow the cost benefit obligations. it's not that the benefits outweigh the cost, it's just that they simply didn't engaining in a proper record base support for their rule. so that goes back to earlier questions with other senators about the process, mattering, being committed to the rule of law and the rule making authority that congress has given the epa in making sure that its rules are past, that they can be upheld in court. >> i need you also to be worried about human health. i understand there's a cost, but when you're talking about lives, when you're talking about children who can't breathe, i've been to the emergency room at 2 in the morning when with a child who can't breathe. it's a horrible thing. we've had children die in new york city because none of their teachers knew what to do
when a child has an asthma attack p. it's a huge problem. so i need you to care about human health and really believe that the cost when human helening is at risk when people are dying is far higher than it is the cost to that polluter to clean up the air and change their processes. i need you to feel it as if your children sitting behind you are the ones in the emergency room. i need you to know it. >> and senator, i would say to you there are certain instances where costs can't be considered as you know. cost is not in a factor because human health is the focus. >> so let's talk about that. you and i previewed this in my office. we have a horrible problem in new york city with super fund sites and with ground water that is polluted. we have pfoa in our water. we have the largest pcb super fund site in the hudson river. when families who don't have money, fish in the hudson river they eat those fish they get ill. it is horrible. the contaminants are real.
they are pervasive and they are destroying lives. they're also destroying the economy because when you have contaminants all over the place you can't sell your house or put in industries that are relying on towerism. it's a huge problem. it's an example of a chemical that needs to be tested. i need you to put number one on your list to test it and if it is kars know general that many scientists have said it is it needs to be ban. >> the authority that's been granted by this body, you and i talked about that in your office, it needs to be addressed quickly even under the safe drinking act as well. >> will you commit to doing that work. >> yes. >> thank you. >> i'd like to submit for the record -- this sort of response to a question raised by senator harris and mr. pruitt in his response to her question on whether he had ever filed a lawsuit against a corporate entity for violating federal or state pollution apparently was not correct. i will want to commit for the record a list of cases that have
been active under mr. pruitt's leadership. it notes which ones were started by its predecessor and it shows the case in which he mentioned with his exchange with senator harris actually was initiated not by mr. pruitt but by his pred sayser. >> without objection. i'd like to submit to the record as well having heard that some of my democratic colleagues have expressed their concern that attorney general is not opening to the finding of science especially as it relates to climate change. i'd like to call the committee's attention by the cornwall appliance for the stewardship. 230 citizens urging foreign general pruitt's confirmation. the group include a ph.d. in clie ma tolling at the university of delaware. the author praises pruitt, he
has also demonstrated understanding of and open mindedness toward scientific incites crucial to the formulation and implementation of environmental regulation. the organization's founder and national spokesman is quoted in the press release, some environmental activists are determined to prevent mr. pruitt's confirmation painting him as a science denoir. he is neither. he is a solid, common sense attorney general who will bring much needed reform to the epa. without objection the letter will be submitted for the record. senator wicker. >> thank you. i think it's been a good hearing so far. i think we have a lot of information that will be reassuring to the american people. one thing i do object to, though is something that's happened for years since i've been a member of this committee and that's somehow to list political
contributions and suggest that somehow they make an individual suspect or not qualified. my dear friend from rhode island showed some posters and based on those contributions from companies like southern company for example, who's contribute today my campaign, that his appropriateness for the job should be challenged. so i'm glad that the chairman had added to the record this article from september 6th "the wall street journal" pointing out the democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton raised significantly more money than donald trump from the oil and gas industry. individuals who work for oil and gas companies donated 149,000 to mr. trump's gop campaign as of the date of july 30 compared
with 525,000 to mrs. clinton. mr. chairman, i'm glad you put this in the record and presumably based on that argument hillary clinton would be suspect were she to have been nominated for the position of heading the epa. now mr. attorney general, let's talk about states as partners. and i enjoyed your exchange with senator carden about the chesapeake bay program. as i understand, you actually applaud the chesapeake bay program and particularly the way the epa worked with states as partners, is that correct? >> senator, i absolutely applaud the effort by the states to join together in a six state coalition to address the quality of the chesapeake's bay's water quality. that's what we did in arkansas, oklahoma and arkansas did with their rivers. it's already been talked about. i think the effort they engaged
in is something the other states ought to model and epa came alongside and is providing assistance with respect to that agreement. >> now with regard to the clean power plan and the waters of the united states rules, where did those regulations go wrong in this respect? >> with respect to the clean power plan in the case the supreme court has actually said it was an unprecedented step that the supreme court took. never in history had the supreme court issued a stay against the rule like the clean power plan and they did so because of the likelihood of success on the mer its in the sense that the clean power plan did not reflect the authority of congress given to the epa to regulate co 2. as an example with respect to power generation. there has to be a significant finding that poses risk to public health and welfare. they did not do that. they did not go through the proper processes of inside the fence and regulations of
facilities, power generation facilities, so those matters, senator, are about rule of law and the same is true with the waters of united states rule. >> i have not delved into this as an attorney as you have but i can tell you that the department of environmental quality in my state told me very emphatically that the clean power plan would put us out of business because we -- we would not have had an alternative to the coal that we use and so i hope we can continue to make progress on this issue. >> let me ask you about wood products. federal government buys a lot of lumber, uses a lot of wood in construction and procures a lot of wood. there are standards certifying that the forests are appropriate, one is the american tree farm system, another is the sustainable forestry initiative.
epa seems to like a certification program called the fsc, the forest stew edwardship council. the problem is certification program, it excludes 90% of the lumber grown in the united states of america. we have had a lot of activity on both sides of the aisle in challenging this, and i object also to a so-called interim recommendation made by epa in this regard. as far as i'm concerned it is discrimination against domestic wood and now they have come back and told us that this interim recommendation is under review. could you comment about both of these? the idea of an interim
recommendation being imposed on an entire industry and also give us any thoughts you have about using the forest stewardship council certification model opposed to these other perfectly good sustainable forestry initiative and american tree farm system. >> if i could ask you to do it bri briefly? >> as you and i discussed in our meeting, i'm very concerned about the latter issue, making sure all options are considered and should do and i would seek to do if confirmed. as to the interim step, there is a concern many have offered throughout the last several years, regulator s in washingto not just the epa are seeking to use guidance or other steps to avoid formal rule making that congress has obligated those agencies to perform to insure exactly what you just described, that all voices are heard. that's unfortunate when agencies do that because that's an abuse of the process. >> thank you, sir. thank you, mr. chairman.
>> senator sanders. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i apologize for being late but we were at a hearing with congressman price, the nominee for hhs and perhaps not a great idea to have important nomina nominating hearings at exactly the same time so i apologize for not being here earlier. my office has received a great deal of comments from people in the state of vermont, which t e takes environmental protection very seriously as well as all over the country. the fear is the nomination of mr. pruitt is a nomination designed to protect the fossil fuel industry and not the environment. i would like to ask mr. pruitt a question. as i understand it earlier in this hearing, you said that mr. trump was wrong in suggesting -- in stating over and over again climate change was a quote-unquote hoax. is that in fact the case? >> that is correct, senator.
as you may know, some 97% of scientists who have written articles for peer reviewed journals have concluded that climate change is real. it is caused by human activity and it is already causing devastating problems in our country and around the world. do you believe that climate change is caused by the emission -- by carbon emissions by human activity? >> senator, as i indicated, you weren't here in my opening statement. as i indicated in my opening statement the kilometer is changing and human activity contributes to that in some manner. >> in some manner. >> yes, sir. >> 97% of the scientists who wrote articles in peer review journals believe that human activity is the fundamental reason we are seeing climate change. you disagree with that?
>> i believe the ability to measure with precision the degree of human activities an impact on the climate is subject to more debate whether the climate is changing or whether human activity contributes to it. >> while you are not certain the vast majority of scientists are telling us if we do not get our act together and transform our energy system away from fossil sfyoul, there is a real question of the quality of the planet we are going to be leaving our children and our grandchildren. so you are applying for a job as administer tore for the epa to protect our environment, overwhelming majority of scientists say we have to act boldly and you're telling me there needs to be more debate on this issue and we should not be acting boldly? >> no, senator, as i indicated the climate is changing. >> you haven't told me why you think the climate is changing. >> senator, the job of the
administrator is carry out the statutes passed by this body. >> why is the climate changing. >> in response to the co2 issue the epa administrator is constrained by statutes. >> my personal opinion is im material. >> really? >> to the job of -- >> you are going to be the head of the agency to protect the environment and your personal feelings about whether climate change is caused by human activity and carbon emission is im material. >> senator, i've acknowledged to you human activity impacts. >> impacts. scientists don't say it impacts, it is the cause of climate change and we have to transform our energy system. do you blyouf yelieve you have >> i believe the epa has an important role. >> you didn't answer my question. do you believe we have to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to do what the
scientific community is telling us to make sure this planet is healthy for our children and grandchlidren. >> i believe the administrator has a very important role to perform in regulating co2. >> can you tell me, as i think all of us know, oklahoma has been subjected to a record breaking number of earthquakes. scientists in oklahoma. scientists say oklahoma is almost certain to have more earthquakes with heightened risk of a large quake probable to endure for a decade and that the cause of this is fracking. can you point me, picking up on senator harris' discussion with you, can you point me to any opinion that you wrote, any enforcement actions you took against the companies that were injecting waste fracking water. >> senator, let me say i'm very concerned about the connection between activity in oklahoma -- >> and therefore you must have
taken action. can you tell me who you fined for doing this. >> the corporation commission in oklahoma is vested with the jurisdiction and they have actually acted on that. >> you have made public statements expressing your deep concern about this? >> we have worked with -- >> you have made public stateme statements. you are in a state that has seen record breaking earthquakes. you are the attorney general. obviously you have stood up and said you will stop future earthquakes as a result of fr k fracking. >> i have acknowledged i'm concerned. >> you have acknowledged you're concern. if that's the kind of administrator for the epa, your state is having a record number of breaking earthquake, you acknowledge you are concerned, if that's the kind of epa administrator you will be, you're not going to get my vote. >> senator inhofe. >> mr. chairman, i ask at this point in the record, that we reprint the "wall street
journal" op-ed piece written by two outstanding scientists, called' t"the myth of the climae change 97%." >> no objection. >> i have a little bit of questions from the first round asking about overregulation. you have the same concerns with the overregulation of u.s. manufacturing over the last eight years exporting manufacturing jobs over, jobs that go with them in terms of the manufacturing of those goods to places like china and indiana that will produce those products in a less environmentally friendly way. you agree with this motion this approach harms not just our environment but our own u.s. economy? >> i believe it puts us at an economic disadvantage when we don't hear all rule making processes with respect to these issues, absolutely. >> i would like to submit to the record an op-ed on cnn by jeb bush saying scott pruitt is
ready to turn around the epa and i cannot think of a person more styout to lead the environmental agency than oklahoma general scott pruitt. he supports a robust effect about its effects and what the government should and shouldn't do to address it. also submitting for the record a report i did as ranking member on the subcommittee of clean air for this committee a couple years ago, called "red tape making americans sick." i put this together as a physician, we talk about long-term unemployment increases the likelihood have hospital visits and premature deaths and hurts children's health and family well-being and quote scientists who point the unemployment rate is well establi established, a risk factor for elevated illness and mortalitity rates in epidemiological studies since the '80s and influence on mental disorder, suicide,
alcoholism, spouse abuse, drug abuse, so that the regulations that come out of the epa that do cut into employment of hard working americans actually contributes to a deterioration of their health. i don't know if you have any comments on that or what you may have seen in oklahoma at times of unemployment? >> we have seen similar issues in oklahoma and have prescription drug abuse that occurs at a rate unprecedented as in other parts of the country. there is a similar concern we have in oklahoma. >> i appreciate your patience, your honesty, your forthright presentation this morning. we will go to a second round. i now have about 12:45. if it's all right with you, we will come back in an hour and take an hour break and resume a second round of questioning at 1:45. the committee is in recess. >> thank you, senator. congressional republicans continue their retreat in philadelphia. thursday, president trump, vice
president pence and theresa may will speak to the gathering. president trump is tentatively scheduled to speak at noon and vice president pence at 2:00 p.m. and prime minister may will speak about 3:30. during prime minister's questions, prime minister may answered questions from opposition leader, jeremy corbyn about meeting president trump while in the u.s. >> will the prime minister, mr. speaker, also take this opportunity today to congratulate the 100,000 people who marched in britain last weekend to highlight womens' rights after president trump's inauguration and express their concerns about his miss ogny. many have concerns in her forthcoming meeting with mr. trump she will be prepared to offer up for sacrifice the opportunity of american companies to come in and take over parts of our nhs or our
public services. will she assure the house that in any trade deal none of those things will be offered up as a bargaining chip? >> prime minister! >> again, i would point out to the right honorable gentleman it is this government that introduced the national living wage and this government actually made changes to contracts. on the issue of my visit to the united states of america, on the issue of my visit to the united states of america, i am pleased that i am able to meet president trump so early in his administration. that is a sign of the strength of the special relationship between the united kingdom and united states of america, a special relationship on which he and i intend to build. can i also say to the leader of the opposition, i am not afraid to speak frankly to a president of the united states. i am able to do that because we have that special relationship, a special relationship that he would never have with the united
states. >> c-span will be covering the march for life in washington, d.c. orn friday and groups are tweeting about their plans to be here. the acyg youth ministry says tonight, leave for d.c. on pilgrimage to the pro-life march. join us for kick-off mass at 7:30, park away from bus, prayers. another one, i am young, i am woman, i am for life. in hollywood, florida, sending out the message, we're so proud of our students taking part in the march for life in washington, d.c. our coverage of the march begins at noon eastern on friday. some speakers include kell lip ann conway, counselor to the president and senator joni ernst and mia love. you can listen live on the free c-span radio app. the senate energy and natural resources this week