Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate Confirms EPA Nominee Advances Commerce Nominee  CSPAN  February 17, 2017 3:59am-6:00am EST

3:59 am
president-elect trump promised to restore genuine rule of the people themselves. remember teddy roosevelt's quote that the sinister alliance between crooked politics and crooked business has done more than anything else for the corruption of american life against the genuine rule of people themselves. well, president trump promised to restore genuine rule to the people themselves, and yet it's looking more and more like shadowy descri-run groups will really run our government. this is a test also for the rest of corporate america. a lot of corporate america has good climate policy. in fact, most of corporate america has good climate policy, but when are they going to stand up about an e.p.a. administrator
4:00 am
who is dominion of the fossil fuel industry? what will coca-cola say to the georgia senators? what will wal-mart ask of its senators? what will riotinto advise the senators from arizona? awful these companies have taken important stands -- all of these companies have taken important stands on global warming. why not now? mr. president, let's talk a little bit about the due diligence that a nomination like this should get and particularly the due diligence about climate change that the present urgency demands. i wondered what due diligence my colleagues have done to assess
4:01 am
the reality of climate change before making this fateful and foul vote. the fossil fuel fox is on its way to the henhouse now, and i challenge the colleagues who will have put him there, have you gone to your home state university for a briefing on climate science to understand what your own universities are teaching? this nominee, mr. pruitt, never had. when we met in my office, he didn't even know who berrien moore was. berrien moore is the dean of the college of otomost spheric sciences. before this nominee and i met in my office for all this nominee's years of litigation against doing anything about climate
4:02 am
change, he had never bothered to go to his own university of oklahoma and find out from his home state expert what climate change was. and how it worked. and what it meant. why not? the most logical answer is because he didn't care to know. he'd already chosen sides and had been richly rewarded for doing so, although we don't know exactly how richly since his dark money operation is still a secret protected by the senate republicans who are shoving this nomination through. well, here's what mr. pruitt would have found out if he bothered to go to the university of oklahoma to ask the dean about climate change. the dean of the university of oklahoma's college of atmospheric and geograrveg sciences has said, and i quote,
4:03 am
on the increasing strength of earth sciences, we can now state that global warming is unequivocal. he has said, the fact that the planet is warming and the fact that co2 is a greenhouse gas gas and the fact that it's increasing in the atmosphere and that it increases in the atmosphere due to humans, about those things -- there's no debate. he has said, we know precisely how fast co2 is going up in the a atmosphere. we've made a daily measurement of it since 1957. we have ice core data before that. he continued, we know without any question -- i repeat, without any question -- that it has increased almost 40% since the industrial revolution and that increase is due to human
4:04 am
activity primarily fossil fuel burning. those are the words of the dean at the university of oklahoma, who is the expert in this subject, and mr. pruitt had never bothered to actually ever ask him. the fossil fuel industry had told him all he needed to know. and that is going to be a continuing problem with him as e.p.a. administrator. so i thought to myself, well, have any of the senators on the environment and public works committee who voted for this nominee out of committee done any better? which senator on that committee has troubled to go for, say, half a day to their own home state university and get a briefing on climate science? as i said, this matters to rhode island because we're a downwind
4:05 am
state. we've had bad air days where little kids and seniors and people with breathing difficulties are supposed to stay indoors in the air conditioning. not go outside. we're seeing warming rising, acidifying seas along our shores, hurting our fishermen, causing families to lose those coastal homes i showed. and the hits are just going to keep on coming. a child born today at women and infants hospital in providence, rhode island, can expect to see upwards of nine feet of sea level rise raging on rhode island's shores in her lifetime. according to the university of rhode island and our state agencies. well, it seems to me the least that a downwind state like rhode island might expect is some mo d
4:06 am
i come of due diligence by colleagues who are blocking action on this subject. at the university of rhode island, the due diligence is very clear. u.r.i. is working with rhode island fisher to help predict the harm from warming and acidifying seas. and to figure out twha means for our -- what that means for our fisheries and aquaculture. the senator is from a state that has a very distinguished fishing and aquaculture himself. and i'm sure his home state universities are doing similar research. u.r.i. and our state agencies are drilling down to generate fine local data on sea level rise and storm surge, and we are starting to be able to predict with specificity which homes are likely to be lost in storms, which roads will become inaccessible in coming decades, what plan "b" is necessary to get emergency services to
4:07 am
communities when flooding bars the way, and what water and seward and other public infrastructure is at risk. these are all now the daily questions of rhode island coastal life, thanks to climate change. and our university of rhode island is at the forefront of studying that. and of course u. r.e.i. is not alone. you can go to every state university and find climate change concerns. they just understand this stuff. they're not actually just learning climate science. they're teaching about climate change. it is astonishing that senators from those states won't thereon twhear own university -- won't listen to what their own universities teach. let's call the republican role of the environment and public works committee, all of whom voted to suspend the committee rules to jam this fossil fuel industry minion through to the senate floor as administrator of
4:08 am
the e.p.a., notwithstanding the black hole of secrecy around his dark money dealings with the polluting fossil fuel industry and notwithstanding his years of stonewalling dozens of open records acts requests, including the one that has just been ordered disclosed by the judge today of thousands of e-mails. let's see what our environment and public works committee colleagues who cleared the way in committee for this nominee would find at their home state universities if they looked. chairman barrasso could go to the university of wyoming, where he would find the university of wyoming center for environmental high district of columbia gee and -- hydrology and geophysics reporting that, many of the most pressing issues facing the western university hinge on the fate and transport of water and its response to diverse disturbances including climate
4:09 am
change. end quote. he would find the university of wyoming scientists publishing articles on, i quote, the effects of projected climate change on forest fire susceptible. end quote of the and the university of wyoming awarding university grants to study the effects of climate change on pollinators, on water flow, and on beaver habitat and on white bark pine growth. all work being done sincerely at the university of wyoming on climate change. next down the line we come to senator inhofe of oklahoma. the senior senator from oklahoma could also go, of course, and consult dean moore of the college of atmospheric and geographic sciences at the university of oklahoma. but if he really wanted to dig
4:10 am
in, he could also go over to oklahoma state and get an update from oklahoma state professor reilly dunlap, who has written in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, climat climate sciencew firmly established that global warming is occurring, that human activities contribute to this warming, and that current and future warming portend negative impacts on both ecological and social systems. portend negative impacts on both ecological and social systems is science ses for it's going to -- is sciencese for it's going to hurt people, as we rhode islanders already see all too plainly. oklahoma state's professor dunlap goes ton write something
4:11 am
more, there has been an organized disinformation campaign to generate skepticism and denial, to manufacture uncertainty, especially by attacking climate science and scientists. wow, huh? and he goes on, this campaign, professor dunlap reports, has been waged by a loose coalition of industrial, especially fossil fuels, interests and conservative foundations and think tanks. look at that. seems to be agreeing with dr. brulle at drexel university. that utilize a range of front groups and astroturf operations to manufacture that uncertainty. that's the research that senator
4:12 am
inhofe would find out of oklahoma state. that organized disinformation campaign that professor dunlap reports on and the massive political muscle operation that supports it explains a lot of what goes on around here. and if you cross-reference the entities that professor dunlap puts into that organized disinformation campaign, you'll find them on the record supporting this nominee. he is the nominee of the organized disinformation campaign. and that's because behind this whole mess of a nomination is the fossil fuel industry. so let's go back to the environment and public works committee and continue down the row on the majority side. we come next to senator capito. senator capito from west
4:13 am
virginia could go to west virginia university where the mountaineers could show her their mountain hydrology laboratory which tells us, climate change has important implications for management of fresh water resources. end quote. these include that and i quote again, the hille high lands lats expected to wet up, end quote, as warmer air which carries more moisture leads to what west virginia university is calling, and yo-- and i quote, intensifin of the water cycle. the laboratory warns that and i quote, the implications of this intensification are immense. west virginia university's wildlife conservation lab publishes regularly on climate change effects and one of wrest virginia university's climate
4:14 am
scientists, professor hassle, has been recognized by west virginia university as west virginia university's benidum distinguished scholar. west virginia university even sends people all the way to china to study climate change. some hoax. on ward. my friend senator boozman is next in the line. his home state university of arkansas has actually signed on to both the first and second university president's climate commitments. the university of arkansas has undertaken what it calls an aggressive and innovative climate action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help prevent climate change. the university of arkansas explains the need to reduce greenhouse gases particularly
4:15 am
including carbon dioxide and methane. it's because these gases, and i quote, absorption of solar radiation is responsible for the greenhouse effect. explaininexplaining further, the university of arkansas describes is that the greenhouse effect occurs as these gases are trapped and held in the ernl's atmosphere, gradually increasing the temperature of the earth's surface and air in the lower atmosphere. a university of arkansas scientist predicts and i quote, that the spread of plant species in nearly half the world's land areas could be affected by global warming by the end of the century. on down the e.p.a. row is my friend roger wicker from mississippi. down in mississippi the university of mississippi ole miss actually has an office of
4:16 am
sustainability. the ole miss office of sustainability is there and i quote, to further the university's efforts to combat global climate change. believe it or not ole miss is another signatory to that university president's climate commitment, just like arkansas, and it's moving towards net zero grievehouse gas emissions -- greenhouse gas emissions. so, by the way, is the university of southern mississippi. the director of the university of mississippi center for hydroscience and engineering explains why this matters. i quote him. human influence and greenhouse gases are the dominant causes of the increase in global average temperature of the earth. the impacts are observed in rising sea levels, precipitation patterns, hide logic -- hydrologic regimes, floods and
4:17 am
droughts and environmental processes. he continues, we must reduce our carbon footprint and take the necessary steps to reduce our vul necialt -- vulnerability to future climate change imfacts, end -- impacts, end quote, from the university of mississippi. also at ole miss, anthropology professor marcos mendoza warns and i quote here, climate change is the greatest environmental threat facing global society in the 21st century. let me say that again. from ole miss. climate change is the greatest environmental threat facing global society in the 21st century. but the fossil fuel machine is going to see to it that we put a climate denier into the e.p.a. administrator's seat. so let's stay in mississippi and go over to mississippi state university where several
4:18 am
professors contributed to the american society of agone mys report and i quote the title, climate change and agriculture, analysis of potential international impacts. the forward to that volume states, and i quote, the threat of global climate change due to an throw pogenic modification of the atmosphere, the so-called greenhouse effect, could potentially be one of the major environmental problems of our time. down on the gulf all three mississippi universities are working together with seagram on what they call a climate team to assess, quote, the risk of environmental economic and societal impacts from rising sea levels and storm surges. my friend who is presiding knows well the effects in the gulf. well, when you're looking at the
4:19 am
risk of environmental economic and societal impacts from rising sea levels and storm surges, you've got something in common with rhode island as well. let's go on to nebraska. from where senator fischer hails. the university of nebraska has published extensive reports on what they call climate change implications for nebraska, end quote. one university of nebraska report leads with this blunt sentence. climate change poses significant risks to nebraska's economy, environment, and citizens, end quote. well, nebraskans, it turns out, agree. the university of nebraska has published research that, quote, most rural nebraskans believe
4:20 am
the state should develop a plan for adapting to climate change as do 58% of nebraskans 65 and older. so even the elder nebraskans by 58% believe this. and nearly 70% of young nebraskans from 19 to 29 years old. on the science, the university of nebraska reports the following. is there debate within the scientific community with regard to observed changes in climate and human activities as the principle causal factor? the short answer here is no. at least certainly not among climate scientists, that is, scientists who have actual
4:21 am
expertise in the study of climate and climate change. let me repeat that again from the university of nebraska. is there debate within the scientific community with regard to observed changes in climate and human activities as the principle causal factor? the short answer here is no. at least certainly not among climate scientists, that is, scientists who have actual expertise in the study of climate and climate change. the university of nebraska goes on. for more than a decade there has been broad and overwhelming consensus within the climate science community that human-induced effects on climate change are both very real and very large. and as to the scope of those effects, the university of nebraska warns the magnitude and
4:22 am
rapidity of the projected changes in climate are unprecedented. the implications of these changes for the health of our planet and the legacy we'll leave to our children, our grandchildren, and future generations are of vital conce concern, end quote. the university of nebraska has even published what it calls key climate change data for nebraska and this is the list. temperatures have risen about one degree fahrenheit since 1895. frost freeze season has increased 5 to 25 days since 1895. very heavy precipitation events have increased 16% in the great plains region. projected temperature increase of 4 to 5 degrees fahrenheit low emissions scenario or 8 to 9 degrees fahrenheit high emissions scenario by 2100.
4:23 am
projected summer of 2100 will have 13 to 25 days over 100 degrees fahrenheit. number of nights over 70 degrees fahrenheit will increase by 20 to 40 by 2100. soil moisture is projected to decrease 5% to 10% by 2100. reduced snow pack in rocky mountains equals reduced stream flow in our rivers. increasing heavy precipitation events, increasing flood magnitude, increasing drought frequency and severity. that is the university of nebraska's list of coming attractions to nebraska from climate change. on to kansas where senator would learn about climate change effects on agriculture in his home state. kansas state university
4:24 am
professor charles rice, distinguished professor of agronomy working with the national science foundation is using, quote, climate modeling tactics to predict the effects of climate change in the great plains and to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies for agriculture in the region to help meet what kansas state calls, and i quote, one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. evaluating and predicting the biological and ecological consequences of accelerating global climate change. kansas state brought the executive director of agricultural giant cargill to talk about climate change. news reports describe what the cargill executive stated that, quote, climate change is real and must be addressed head-on to prevent future food shortages.
4:25 am
specifically, the cargill executive said that, and i quote, u.s. production of corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton could decline by 14% by mid century and by as much as 42% by late century. this is a senior corporate executive in one of our leading agricultural companies warning of a 14% decrease in these essential crops by mid century and as much as a 42% decrease by late century. from an agricultural standpoint, the executive said, we have to prepare ourselves for a different climate than we have today. maybe that's why kansas state calls evaluating and predicting the biological and ecological
4:26 am
consequences of accelerating global climate change one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. let's head out to south dakota where center mike rounds -- where senator mike rounds would hear from south dakota state university about climate change on the dakota plains. south dakota state's lab call climate change, and i'm quoting them here, the signature challenge of the 21st century. so let's bear in mind we have the kansas state university calling climate change one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. we have south dakota's lab calling climate change the signature challenge of the 21st century. we have an e.p.a. nominee who is a climate change denier wrapped so tight with the fossil fuel industry you can't tell where
4:27 am
one ends and the other begins, and he has the support of the senators from kansas and south dakota. it's a riddle. south dakota state scientists aren't just saying that climate change is the signature challenge of the 21st century. they're out studying climate change around the globe from the upper forests of west africa to the west antarctica ice sheet. south dakota state university professor mark cochran is working with the u.s. forest service to determine, quote, how a changing climate impacts forest ecosystems. and reported that forest fire seasons worldwide increased by 18.7% due to more rain-free days and hotter temperatures, end quote.
4:28 am
the south dakota state university news center has reported that season shifting, climate changes, quote, are all being affected by warming from an increase in greenhouse gases due to human activity. all being affected by warming from an increase in greenhouse gases due to human activity. south dakota state university even brought in harvard professor and merchants of doubt author nye only my oreskies saying her work has, quote, laid to rest the idea that there is significant disagreement in the scientific community about global warping. somebody needs to translate between south dakota university and this e.p.a. nominee. so on we go to iowa continuing down the environment and public works republican roster where senator joni ernst could here
4:29 am
from a iowa state university who told a united nations conference that climate change was already affecting iowa farmers. this isn't just about the distant future, he said. iowa state has published extensive research and i'll just quote the title of it. global warming, impact of climate change on global agriculture. iowa state's prestigious leopold center, quote, views climate change not merely as warming but as a worse rching de-- worsening destablization of the climate's environmental systems, end quote. climate change isn't just warming. it is, quote, a worsening destabilization of the planet's environmental systems and yet the good senator voted to move this climate denying industry tool forward to be our e.p.a.
4:30 am
administrator. a worsening destabilization of the planet's environmental systems, they call it, that will create -- an quoting from them again -- aggravated and unpredictable risk that will challenge the security of our agricultural and biological systems. aggravated and unpredid i unpre- unpredictable risk that will challenge the security of our agricultural and boy logical systems. that's i would state tawsmght they conclude, the scientific evidence is clear that the magnitude of the changes ahead are greater, the rate much faster, oont the duration of -- and the duration of climatic
4:31 am
destabilization will last much longer than once thought. now we come to the end of the row of the republicans on the environmental -- environment and public works committee. as an alaskan, senator dan sullivan would get double barrels from the university of alaska. first about climate change and second about ocean acidification. quote, alaska is already facing the impacts of climate change, end quote. the university of alaska reports. this question of facing the impacts of climate change matters enough to the university of alaska that on global warming
4:32 am
the university has stood up the alaska climate science center. the alaska climate science center has been established to help understand, quote, the response of alaska's ecosystems to a changing climate. the university of alaska's climate science center is charting the record-breaking year-over-year warming in alaska analyzing temperature trends and receiving awards for, and i quote, modeling and evaluating climate change impacts in the arctic. one thing for sure, the center says -- one thing for sure is
4:33 am
that the climate, quote, will continue to change as a result of various natural and anthropogenic forcing mechanisms, end quote. then there's that other climate change punch coming at alaska from the sea. in addition to its climate science center, the university of alaska is serious enough about this to have also stood up an ocean acidification research center to address what it calls growing concerns over increased acidity in the ocean. and the impacts this phenomenon will have on alaska's marine ecosystems, end quote. growing concerns over increasing acidity in the ocean and the impacts this phenomenon will
4:34 am
have on alaska's marine ecosystems. alaska's seafood industry is an enormous asset to alaska's economy and it depends on alaska's marine ecosystems. well, the university of alaska's ocean acidification research center warns that ocean acidification, quote, has the potential to disrupt this industry from top to bottom. to disrupt this industry from top to bottom. end quote. the ocean acidification research center identifies the culprit of this phenomenon as, and i quote, the transport of co2 from the atmosphere into the ocean.
4:35 am
indeed, as we have loaded up the at fear with more and more -- loaded up the atmosphere, ocean has actually absorbed chemically about a third that have co2 in addition to all that heat i mentioned earlier that the ocean had absorbed, more than 90% of the added heat the, it actually absorbed a third of the carbon dioxide and, of course, when carbon dioxide interacts with sea water, there is a change that takes place. indeed, why don't we see about doing a demonstration of that change. it'll take a minute to get that organized. but while we're getting that organized, let me continue.
4:36 am
here's a description -- thank you to the university of maryland for the graphic -- of how atmospheric carbon dioxide turns the ocean acidic. when you add additional co2 to the atmosphere, at the surface where it meets the sea there is a chemical exchange, and the co2 can be absorbed by the ocean, as i said a third of it has been. that dissolved carbon dioxide joins with the water chemically and it creates carbonic acid. the carbonic acid, in turn, creates bicarbonate ions and hydrogen ions and carbon at ions
4:37 am
and those interfere with the takeup of marine creatures with make their shells out of free carbon in the oceans. and some of those effects are pretty apparent. this is the shell of an ocean creature called a pterapod. it is at the base of the ocean food chain. there are studies off the northwest coast that show that more than 50% of this creature have experienced what the scientists studying them who caught them and studied them called severe shell damage. and here's what happens when you expose them to high concentrations of acidified sea water, higher thank usual. that's what it looks like day
4:38 am
one. that's a healthy shell. 15 days later starting to degrade. 30 days later beyond just starting to degrade, starting to actually come apart. and by 45 days, the shell is a wreck. that is not an animal that is capable of survieflg. -- surviving. so let's see how this works. this is a glass of water, and i have just put 20 drops of a ph test into it. that shows what the acidity is
4:39 am
of the water. and as you can see, it's turned the water rather blue. which matches roughly this level of ph. i ask unanimous consent to continue with this little demonstration. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: this is a very simple bubbler that anybody with an aquarium will recognize, and all you simply do is you put the bubbler in. i produce carbon dioxide as i exhale.
4:40 am
so ... i'm exhaling one breath into this same glass. do one more. not even a full breath, but there it is. and now it used to match that color, do you remember? now look what color it matches. just breathing carbon dioxide through the water has changed it's ph and has made it more acidic. i can do that right here with a breath. it is happening on a global scale, as the interaction between the atmosphere and the oceans transports co2 into the
4:41 am
owe shangs. and when that happens, the same chemical effect that we modeled here takes place and the oceans become more acidic. the effects continue to be damaging the previous shell that i showed was the pterapod, a humble creature but an important creature in the food chain. it's actually called the ocean butterfly by some because it's snail foot has been transformed by god's law of evolution into an oceanic wing that allows it to fly. -- in the seas. this is an oyster. the senator's state does a lot of work with oysters, as does rhode island's.
4:42 am
again, exposing oyster already a vai to ocean water with heightened levels of acidity. day one, day two, day four, and then with the exposure to acidity. here's what a healthy larva looks like, here's what one exposed looks like. here's what the homosexualitiy one looks like. here's what the exposed one looks like. there's a healthy one much there's one exposed. you'll see that the healthy already larva is growing day af. somebody is going to have a great oyster stew someday with that oyster with any luck. this one is shrinking and deforming, and the reason is that the little creature is trying to take the carbon out of
4:43 am
the ocean to make it's shell, the calcium, and because of those ions that i pointed out, it is bound up. and they can't get it. and so they deform this way. and when you're at a point more than 50% of ocean pterapods are experiencing severe shell damage, if you're not paying attention, you're going to take a big punch. i know around here we don't give a darn about god's creature as being god's creatures. i probably sound funny to some people talking about a funny little creature in the ocean called a pterapod. the things we care about here are things we can me money tiers this is the teem where gold rules. these little creatures, they are hay a little bit away from the
4:44 am
gold. but who cares about the pterapod? salmon care about the pterapod. and people care about the salmon. and alaska has a pretty good salmon fishery and the pacific northwest has a pretty good salmon fishery. and you drop out the pterapod from the bottom of the ocean food chain because it can't grow because the ocean has acidified, there's a big collapse that takes place. as scientists would say, the upper prophic levels fall as the lower kol lop collapses. so this is serious. ace went thri through all these senators' home state universitied, maybe you could say that all those home state universities are part of the climate change hoax that our
4:45 am
president is so pleased to tweet about. if so, my colleagues really ought to call their home state universities out about that. if they think that their home state universities are in on a hoax, i think it wouldn't be right, and they ought to call out their home state universities. if the home state universities are part of a big old hoax, say so. say so. but if all of my republican colleagues' home state universities right down the line of the public works committee aren't in on a hoax, if what they're doing is good science, why not listen to them? why not listen to them? what is the dark star in this
4:46 am
firmament that causes the real science from the home state universities of the senators to warp and twist around as it comes to this body? what is the power, what is the force that is causing every single one of these home state universities to be ignored by their home state senators? let me go back and review very briefly what they said. home state universities of the republican senators on the environment and public works committee warned of pressing issues related to climate change. that's wyoming, pressing issues. assert that the science of climate change is unequivocal, quote, without any question,
4:47 am
quote. that's from oklahoma. foresee, quote, immense implications related to climate change. that's west virginia, are out making antigreenhouse gas climate commitments to climate change. that's the university of arkansas. warned that climate change is the greatest environmental threat facing global society. that's mississippi. find these significant risks from climate change to be of vital concern. that's nebraska. remember, they were the one that had the hit list of coming attractions for nebraska from climate change. describe climate change as one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. that's kansas. call climate change the signature challenge of the 21st century. that's south dakota.
4:48 am
predict aggravated and unpredictable risk from climate disruption. that's iowa. and prepare for fisheries risk that could shake the states' seafood industry from top to bottom. that's alaska. right down the row of republican senators who voted for this climate denying nominee, you have home state universities that say the opposite, that say that it's real, that it is beyond scientific debate at this point, that its effects are here, that its effects are worsening, and that it's going to shake industries like the fisheries industry from top to bottom and create significant risks and disturbances in agriculture. but not one of those senators stood up against a nominee who
4:49 am
is the shameless tool of the industry that is causing all that harm. so i've got to ask how does that end? if you listen to what your home state universities are saying, this pressing and immense grand challenge, this greatest environmental threat, it doesn't go away. this is truth measured by science. god's and nature's truth. and truth always demands a reckoning. if we listen only to the fossil fuel industry as it lies and
4:50 am
prevaricates and problem gandizes and -- problem began todayizes and does all its nonsense to protect its all important right to pollute for free, how do we expect this turns out in the end? do you think these acidifying shells give a red hot dam what a fossil fuel lobbyist says? they are responding to laws of chemistry and nature that we don't get to repeal or amend. let me make one last point in closing, as i saw senator carper here. he is our distinguished ranking member, and i'm sure he wants to speak.
4:51 am
our republican friends claim to support market economics. they're big on how you've got to trust the market, you shouldn't repg late, market -- regulate, markets is the way to go, market economics is the most sufficient tool for allocating resources. market economics is how we create wealth. actually i agree so let's look at market economics, what i believe and what economists say on all sides of the political spectrum is that it is market economics 101 that for the market to work, the harm of a product has to be built in to the price of a product. the fossil fuel industry, the
4:52 am
dark star of our politics, absorbing and bending all of this home state information absorbs and bends even conservative market principles so that they disappear here in congress, at least wherever those principles conflict with what appears to be our first principle, the well-being and the power of the fossil fuel industry. the fact that senators do not hear or do not care about this science from their home state universities tells you all you need to know about the brute political force of the fossil
4:53 am
fuel industry here in congress. let me go back just for one moment to something i said earlier since we have been joined by the senator from iowa at this fine early hour in the morning. just before she arrived i was talking about iowa state. so since she is here, i'll go back to those remarks and to the iowa state university professor who told a united nations conference not long ago that climate change is already affecting iowa farmers. this isn't just about the distant future, the iowa state scientist says.
4:54 am
i noted that iowa state has published extensive research on, and i quote, iowa state university here, global warming, the impact of climate change on global agriculture. iowa state has a center called the leopold center which perhaps, madam president, you can confirm is a fairly prestigious institution within the university of iowa. iowa state's leopold center, quote, views climate change not merely as warming but as a worsening destabilization of the planet's environmental systems. i hope that the distinguished senator from iowa will review iowa state's view that this worsening destabilization of the planet's environmental systems
4:55 am
will create, and i quote iowa state university again, aggravated and unpredictable risk that will challenge the security of our agricultural and biological systems and consider their conclusion. quote, the scientific evidence is clear that the magnitude of the changes ahead are greater, the rate much faster, and the duration of the climatic destabilization will last much longer than once thought. let me close out while we wait for senator carper who is nearby
4:56 am
with my final exhibit. this is a page from "the new york times" -- this is a page from "the new york times" in 2009. it is a full-page ad that was taken out in "the new york times" in 2009, and it reads, dear president obama and the united states congress, tomorrow leaders from 192 countries will gather at the u.n. climate change conference in copenhagen to determine the fate of our planet. as business leaders -- here's larger text of the same advertisement. as business leaders, we are optimistic that president obama is attending copenhagen with a
4:57 am
mission's targets. additionally we urge you, our government, to strengthen and pass united states legislation and lead the world by example. we support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the united states and the world today. please don't postpone the earth. if we fail to act now, it is sieskly ir-- scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet. please allow us, the united states of america, to serve in modeling the change necessary to protect humanity and our planet. that's this text on this advertisement in "the new york times" in 2009, and guess who signed it? donald j. trump, chairman and
4:58 am
president, donald j. trump, jr., executive vice president, eric f. trump, executive vice president, ivanka m. trump, executive vice president, and the trump organization. i will close with the sentence from this "new york times" advertisement signed by donald trump that the science of climate change is irrefutable and our failure to act will have consequences that are catastrophic and irreversible. president trump's words, not mine. i yield the floor. mr
4:59 am
a senator: mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
5:00 am
5:01 am
the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: madam president, i would ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: thank you very much. good morning, madam president, to our pages and members of our staff, who have been up all night. i just walked over here from my office in the hart building and along the way ran into capitol police and others who are putting in a long day, long night. and i, on behalf of all of us, want to express my thanks to them. i've said on several occasions, madam president, that i take no
5:02 am
joy in going through a chapter like we're going through tonight. i come from a state on the east coast where we get along pretty well. democrats and republicans like each other. we tend to be mainstream both on the democratic side and the republican side. we have something called the delaware way. it's sort of based on the three c's -- communicate, compromise, collaborate. that's what we do. we have done it for a long time. it seems to work for us. hopefully when we get through this chapter, we get through the nomination process, we'll be able to get back to the three c's. i have the privilege, as the presiding officer knows, when i got out of the navy, i moved to delaware. i had an opportunity to serve in a couple of different roles,
5:03 am
treasurer, congressman, and even governor for eight years. in my time as governor, in the constitution of delaware, the governor anonymous people to -- nominates people to serve as cabinet members, to serve as members of the judiciary on a lot of boards and commissions. during those eight years that i served, that i was privileged to serve as governor, the legislature was split. the house was republican, the senate was democrat. and when it came time to nominate members of my cabinet, my predecessor as governor was a fellow named mike castle, who the senator from rhode island knows. a moderate republican. he had been our governor, before that our lieutenant governor. he was a state legislator, a very successful attorney. when i was elected governor, he was elected congressman. we traded places. he took my job as a congressman
5:04 am
in the house. i took his job as governor. it was a wonderful transition where i tried to help him make that transition to be successful in the house of representatives. he was. he tried very much to help me be successful as a new governor. i actually went to something called new governors school hosted by roy romer who was the chairman of the national governors' association, a wonderful guy. we were in new governors school out in colorado. newly elected democrats and republicans, including people like george w. bush, including people like -- let me think -- tom meech, including people lik. if i had more sleep, i could remember every one of them. but just wonderful -- mike leavitt, who later became head of the e.p.a. was one of them. but we learned, we learned a lot at new governors school about how to set up and establish an
5:05 am
administration, put together an administration. mike castle, delaware's governor, was part of a faculty, if you will, of current governors who mentored us in new governors school. and it was a blessing in my life. i asked governor castle as we were going through that transition to sort of walk me through his own cabinet and guess who might want to stay, stay on a new administration, my administration, and who maybe would not. and it ended up when i nominated people to serve in my cabinet, there were several there who actually served in his. we had mostly democrats. i'm a democrat, but some republicans as well. and below the cabinet level, we had division directors and we kept almost all -- not all but almost all of the division directors we asked to stay, too. for eight years as governor of delaware, i would nominate people to serve in either cabinet positions or on the judiciary and other posts, but for eight years, we batted a
5:06 am
thousand. the state executive committee was terrific in approving people, confirming people to serve in these roles, and it wasn't like i just like rushed in and said here's who we're nominating. that's not the way it worked. i asked for their ideas. we solicited their ideas, not just for the cabinet but the judiciary. at the end of the day, it was my role to actually nominate people and it was their role to provide advice and consent, and they did. a little bit before, but certainly throughout the nominating process. it worked pretty well. it worked pretty well for our state. i'm proud of the eight years that -- that our administration worked with the legislature. a lot of the nonprofit community, the faith community, business community, what we accomplished. i was trained as a -- a leader from the age of 12.
5:07 am
our presiding officer was traipped as a leader probably from about the same age. we both served in the military. she is a retired lieutenant colonel. i'm a retired navy captain. but i was trained that leaders are humble, not haughty. i was trained that leaders should be -- have the heart of a servant. our job is to serve, not be served. i was trained that we basically call on people not to do what we say but to do what we do. i believe in leadership by example. i believe that -- i was taught that leaders don't hold their finger up to the wind and see which way the wind is blowing but should have the courage to stay out of step when everyone else is marching to the wrong tune. i was trained that leaders should not lead by dividing folks but by uniting people, by building bridges, not walls. i was trained that a leader should be purveyors of hope. we should appeal to people's
5:08 am
better angels. i was trained leaders ought to focus on doing what is right, not what is easy or expedient. that we should embrace the golden rule, embody the golden rule, treating people the way we want to be treated. focus on excellence in everything we do. throughout ourselves -- surround ourselves with the best people we can find. when a team does well, they get the credit. when a team we lead does not do so well, the leader would take the blame. and i was trained as a leader tu know you're right, you're sure you're right, you just never give up, you never give up. and those are leadership skills that were infused into me by my family, my faith and the military for 23 years plus four years as a midshipman and helped make me who i am. and those are really the -- the leadership thoughts that i bring to my job here. we have some great leaders in
5:09 am
this body. we have some great leaders in this body. we could use leadership like i have just described at the top of the food chain in this country in this administration. we could use that. and i thus far, two months into this -- one month into this administration, i haven't seen those kinds of -- really haven't seen that kind of leadership that i had hoped for, that we have seen not that long ago. i want to commend everyone who's come to the floor in the last almost 20 hours. on our side, the democratic side and republican side, to explain our points of view with respect to the nomination of scott pruitt to be administrator for e.p.a. in this country. when donald trump was running for president, he said pretty consistently that part of what he wanted to do as president is
5:10 am
to degrade and essentially destroy the environmental protection agency. he didn't just say it once or twice, but again and again. when he won the nomination, he said the same thing. if elected president, part of what his goal would be would be to degrade and essentially destroy the environmental protection agency. when he was elected president, a couple days after being elected, he repeated that pledge, that pledge. sometimes people may not believe what we say. they will believe what we do. and for me, the first clear indication that what he said with respect to the environmental protection agency was something that he intended to do was the selection of a person to lead the environmental protection agency.
5:11 am
and he chose the attorney general of oklahoma, scott pruitt. scott was introduced at our confirmation hearing before the -- his confirmation hearing before the environment and public works committee by two senators from oklahoma, james lankford with whom i serve on the homeland security, gaffers committee, he's a great member, and with jim inhofe, who is our senior republican on the environment and public works committee. they have very high regard for scott pruitt. they have spoken here on the floor with regards to him and his service. and when someone who is -- whose service and friendship i value as much as i do james lankford and jim inhofe speak so highly of a friend and colleague from their state, it's not easy for me and it's not easy for the rest of us to oppose that
5:12 am
nomination, their friend. but we've done that and we've done that for weeks now and we've done that now for throughout this night. i take no joy in doing this. i take no joy in doing this. having said that, i take no joy in the fact that the levels -- levels of seas around my little state of delaware are rising, and we are the lowest lying state in america. we see every day the vestiges of sea level rise. i take no joy that when i catch the train in the morning to come down here -- i go back and forth every day, but i take no joy, standing on the platform at the wilmington train station, looking at a beautiful riverfront, which we've worked on for 20 years to transform an industrial wasteland into something that is lovely and
5:13 am
beautiful and clean, but even now the fish that swim in the christina river, we can't eat them. in fact, most of the bodies of water in my state, we can't eat the fish, and that is because of the mercury that's contained in them. and it's not just my state, it's not just our neighbors, maryland and new jersey. it's states all up and down the east coast. we live at the end of what is called america's tailpipe. a lot of emissions that are put up in the air come from coal-fired plants to our west, from ohio, indiana, kentucky, west virginia, my native state. other states. they have in many cases really tall smokestacks. they put their pollution, air emissions up through the smokestacks. hundreds and hundreds of feet up into the air. the air just carries them out of their states, carries the
5:14 am
pollution out of their states. and where does it settle? it settles in ours. it settles in ours. in states from virginia on up into maine we live at the end of america's tailpipe. i take no joy that the fish, freshwater fish in our state and a lot of other places on the east coast and frankly other places around the country, you can't eat those fish anymore. i want to take a few minutes, madam president, and pivot from that as a back ground. i want to look at some charts here in a minute. before we do, i want to talk about why we can't eat the fish in too many places around this country, and the reason why is because we have -- we have got about -- we get about 40% of our electricity from coal today. now it's down to maybe 25% or 30%. maybe 25% or 30% from natural gas. we get maybe 20% from nuclear.
5:15 am
and the rest is from the renewable forms of energy. a lot from wind and a growing amount from solar as technology has gotten better and better and better. one of the reasons why my colleagues particularly on this side have great concerns about the nomination of scott pruitt has to do with mercury. with mercury. as i have shared with the senate, a review of mr. pruitt's record yields some troubling information about how he managed the suit within his own office in oklahoma charged with responding to environmental matters. upon taking office, i said how he managed the unit within his own office to environmental issues. upon taking office, mr. pruitt essentially gutted his own environmental protection unit within the attorney general's
5:16 am
office. it appears he abandoned his responsibilities to use his office to protect the public health of oklahomans and declined to use his authority to hold polluters and bad actors accountable. a review of mr. pruitt's record yields nothing that shows how he will change this behavior if he is confirmed to be e.p.a. administrator. in fact, "the new york times" reported earlier this month on february 5 that mr. pruitt is drawing up plans to move forward on the president's campaign promise to get rid of the e.p.a. just remember the e.p.a. is not just involved in clean air and clean water and the cleanup of hazardous waste sites, the implementation of toxic substance control act that deals with has douse materials -- hazardous materials and the
5:17 am
products we use every day but the environmental protection agency is a huge player in the public health of our country, not just adults like us. young people like these pages, like my children, our grandchildren, all of us, our parent, grandparent, all of us. e.p.a. is in large part responsible for our being a healthier nation. i'm a big believer in going after root causes for illness and sickness and if you've got mercury in your fish and you've got bad stuff in your air that degrades our health, that's a big problem. it's a big problem for us in delaware because we spend a whole lot of money -- 90% of the air pollution in my state doesn't come from delaware. it's not stuff that we generate and put up into the air. it's bad stuff. air emissions that come from other states, i said earlier, to itself west, they are able to burn coal, get cheap electricity.
5:18 am
because they put stuff up in the air in tall smoke stacks and send it over to us, they end up with cheap electricity, lower health care costs. we end up with having to clean up our emissions dramatically, more so than we otherwise would. it's expensive. so we end up with expensive electricity and also health care costs that are higher than the places where the pollution is coming from. that's just not right. i said earlier i get no joy from going through this nomination battle with my friends on the other side over mr. pruitt, but believe me, i get no joy from the idea that we end up with expensive electricity in my state and higher health costs because other people in other parts of our country don't embrace the golden rule to treat other people the way we want to be treated. i'll get back to that in just a minute. going back to the "new york times" article on february 5, that indicated that mr. pruitt is drawing up plans to move forward on the president's campaign promise to get rid of
5:19 am
the e.p.a. they had these landing teams in the course of the transition that had gone into each of the agencies. the person who apparently was leading the administration's landing team came into the e.p.a., called for reducing the head count at e.p.a. they didn't say they were going to have a hiring freeze in the environmental protection age. he didn't say we'd have one or two or three percent reduction. he didn't say we're going to reduce it by 5, 15, 20, 25 percent. he said we were going to reduce the head count by two-thirds, by two chirds. well, i -- two-thirds. well, i guess it's possible whoever the person is to head up the landing team at pa, maybe -- at e.p.a., maybe they don't have pollution in their state. maybe the air is pristine. they can eat all the fish they want from the rivers, lakes, and streams. they don't have any worry about toxic waste sites or any of that stuff.
5:20 am
i doubt it. i doubt it. and i think part of our job is to make sure, sure, the e.p.a. can do their job better but the kind of draconian changes that he was talking about, that president trump has talked about, and when you look at the record of the fellow they nominated to lead e.p.a., you get the feeling that maybe they're not just talking. well, there's an old saying sometimes people may not believe what we say. they'll believe what we do. let's take a look to see what mr. pruitt has done in his own state in oklahoma. i say normally there are two sides to every story and we're hearing the two sides to every story. in some cases what i'm going to do here is to just to draw on his own words. the nobody sometimes story goes on to say -- the new york sometimes story goes he has plans to close offices and weaken the agency's regulatory authority.
5:21 am
mr. pruitt knows the integral intricacies of environmental regulation and deregulation. as oklahoma's attorney general the last six years he has taken part in 14 lawsuits against the e.p.a. his changes may not have the dramatic flair favored by mr. trump, but they could weaken the agency's authority even long after mr. trump has left office. and how will he achieve his objective of weakening the agency's authority, madam president? first by diminishing the scientific basis by which the agency makes decisions. mr. pruitt does not seem to value or understand the science that is at the core of this agency's actions to protect public health or the important role that e.p.a. plays to ensure all states are doing their fair share so every american can breathe clean air and drink cleaner water. one area where his propensity to
5:22 am
disregard science is especially evident in mr. pruitt's extreme views on mercury and other air toxic pollution from electric power plants. much of our country's ongoing efforts to clean up air pollution hinges on every state, every state playing by the rules and doing their fair share to reduce air pollution because pollution generated in one state does not just stay in that state. the air carries it across state borders. streams, rivers carry it across state borders as well. and i said earlier in my home state of delaware, we've made real strides in cleaning up our own air pollution that we generate. unfortunately, none of the upwind states next to us have made the same commitment. they said a few minutes ago over 90% of delaware's air pollution comes from our neighboring states. the air pollution is not only a
5:23 am
danger to our hearts, to our lungs, to our brains, it also costs a lot in doctor bills and hospital bills and air equality of -- air quality of life. some, not all, but some pollution is toxic. comes across our borders as a silent killer. the toxins in the air get in the food we eat as well as the air we breathe, build up in our bodies without our knowledge. buildups can lead to cancer, mental impairment, in some cases even to death. delaware depends on the e.p.a. to ensure our neighbors do their fair share so we can protect our citizens. it hasn't always moved as quickly as we had liked about you without the e.p.a. our state of delaware wouldn't have many options at our disposal. mr. pruitt, however, seems to have spent a good part of his career fighting to dismantle the federal environmental protections that my state, our neighboring states, those of us who live especially at the end of america's tailpipe depend on
5:24 am
cleaner air and cleaner water. i have a poster here. it's a fish, not one we'd want to eat. the poster says why isn't scott pruitt convinced? scientists and doctors tell us that mercury is a harmful toxin. mr. pruitt has been part of multiple lawsuits against the federal environmental protection agency and i guess the protections offered by e.p.a. many of these lawsuits are against clean air protections. he's fought against a rule that reduces mercury and other air toxic pollutions in this country three separate times. three times. 1990 congress had enough scientific information to list mercury as well as 188 other air toxins such as lead and arsenic as hazardous air pollutants in the clean air act. lawmakers at the time, including me, serving the house of representatives, thought this
5:25 am
action would ensure our largest emitters of mercury and air toxins would soon be required to clean up. unfortunately, it took 22 years for the e.p.a. to issue the mercury and air toxic rule which reduced mercury and other air toxics from coal-fired power plants, our largest source of mercury emissions in this country. the e.p.a. modeled this rule after what was being done in the states and required coal plants to install existing affordable technology that could reduce mercury and toxic emissions by 90%. the reason why e.p.a. ended up having to go through all this process and these years in issuing this reg is because we did not act. the congress did not act in passing legislation which we should have done. we couldn't. we tried. bipartisan effort. lamar alexander and i, wonderful senator from tennessee and i and others sought to get it done. we were unable to get it done legislation late tifl and we were -- legislatively and we
5:26 am
were opposed in the end. for lawmaker who supported the clean air act amendments of 199 on and someone who represents a downwind state, this rule is a long time coming. would you not know that from the claims of mr. pruitt's lawsuits. since 1990 medical professionals and scientists have learned quite a bit about the environmental and health impacts of mercury. the mercury emitted into the air deposits into our water. it then builds up in our lakes, rivers and streams and eventually makes its way to our food supply through fish and through fowl that we eat. children are most at risk, as many of us know. pregnant mothers that eat the mercury-laden fish can transfer unhealthy doses to thain earn born -- to their unborn children. prior to e.p.a.'s mercury rule, the centers for disease control estimated that 600,000 newborns were at risk a year from mercury poisoning. 600,000. in 2012 dr. drone paulson from
5:27 am
the american academy of pediatrics testified -- this is what he said. there is no evidence demonstrating a safe level of mercury exposure. dr. paulson, the american academy of pediatrics testifying before our committee 2012, again he said there's no evidence demonstrating a safe level of mercury exposure. our nation's most representable pediatric organization dedicated to the health and well-being of our children has made clear that medical research shows there is no safe level of mercury exposure for our children, none. mr. pruitt has come to his own conclusions about mercury. the 2012 lawsuit that mr. pruitt joined with coal companies against the mercury and air toxics rule stated, this is what the lawsuit said, the record does not support e.p.a.'s findings that mercury, nonmercury hazardous air pollutant metals and acid gas
5:28 am
hazardous air pollutants pose public health hazards. i got to read that again. 2012 lawsuit in which mr. pruitt joined with coal companies against the mercury and air toxics rule which is like 20 years in the making finally adopted because -- because congress refused to act said these words. the record does not support e.p.a.'s findings that mercury, nonmercury hazardous air pollutant metals and acid gas hazardous air pollutants pose public health hazards. this is not the first time that mr. pruitt contradicted the medical and scientific community on mercury and the threats it poses to public health. as i said, the e.p.a. took 22 years to get our nation's coal plants to clean up their mercury emissions. every year that our country delayed the cleaning up of mercury emissions, more and more mercury settled and accumulated in our rivers, streams, lakes and fish. i don't know how many lakes they
5:29 am
have in oklahoma, but i no he that -- but i know that in 2010 there were fewer than 20 that -- on which there were issued fish consumption advisories because of mercury. and i know that last year that number had more than doubled. more than doubled. but every state, including oklahoma has fish consumption advisories because of mercury and as we see here, the number on your -- under mr. pruitt's watch has seen mercury cause fish advisories to actually more than double in the last six years. 2012 dr. charles driscoll from syracuse university, one of the leading mercury scientists in the world testified before our committee, environmental and publipublic works committee. dr. driscoll told us because of the long-term emissions from coal plants there, these are his words, hot spots in the region
5:30 am
such as the adirondacks, the great lakes region of the midwest and large portions of the southeast where the fishery is contaminated with mercury. he went on to say this. he said there are more fish consumption advisories in the u.s. for mercury than all other contaminants combined. instead of agreeing with leading scientists on this issue, mr. pruitt has come to a different conclusion. i think we have a poster that speaks to this. mr. pruitt's 2012 lawsuit with the coal companies against e.p.a.'s mercury protection stated that the record -- the record does not support e.p.a.'s finding that mercury poses public health hazards. human exposure to methylmercury resulting from coal-fired electric generating units is exceedingly small. exceedingly small.
5:31 am
mr. pruitt argues that despite the fact that every state has at least one mercury fish advisory, consumption advisory and despite there being 40 lakes in his home state of oklahoma now that have mercury fish advisories, we shouldn't worry about the mercury pollution from our country's largest source of emissions. that denial of facts makes, to me, no sense. luckily, the courts rejected mre mercury and air toxics rules should be vacated. four years later, more coal plants are meeting these new standards and we're already seeing the benefits. just a few weeks ago, some of my environment and public works colleagues and i heard from dr. lynn goldman, pediatrician and former e.p.a. assistant administrator for toxic substances about this very issue when she said, her quote, u.s. efforts to reduce mercury emissions including from power plants are benefiting public health faster than could have been predicted in 1990. great news.
5:32 am
dr. goldman's comments stand in stark contrast to the ones made in mr. pruitt's latest mercury lawsuit, filed just two months before his confirmation hearing. in his most recent lawsuit, mr. pruitt argued that the benefits of power plant emissions are, quote, too speck speculative, close quote. and again his words, not supported by the scientific leadership. not supported by the scientific literature. really? really is my words, not his. the lawsuit goes on to conclude that it is, quote, not appropriate or necessary, close quote, for the e.p.a. to regulate mercury and other air toxic emissions. so mr. pruitt argued just three months ago that it is not appropriate or necessary for the e.p.a. to regulate the largest source of mercury pollution, a pollutant that we know damages children's brains and can impact up to 600,000 newborns every
5:33 am
year. just six months ago, mr. pruitt and the industry instead listened to our nation's pediatricians when determining what is good for our children's health. just three months ago, mr. pruitt cited coal companies instead of leading scientists. just three months ago, mr. pruitt argued that states should be on their own when it comes to dealing with toxic pollution that crosses states' borders. in mr. pruitt's confirmation hearing, i asked about these lawsuits and his views on regulating mercury and air toxics from power plants. he was evasive, he was misleading, i believed, in his answers. he blamed his lawsuits were merely about process, process. well, let's be perfectly clear. mr. pruitt's lawsuits are trying to undermine a role that protects the health of our children and our grandchildren. his extreme views on mercury pollution clearly shows that mrs
5:34 am
have to make a choice between having a strong economy and a safe, clean environment. we must have a vote. his extreme views on mercury pollution also show that mr. pruitt will side with mercury science and doctors. maybe not every time but way too often. americans deserve an e.p.a. administrator who believes in sound science, who will listen to the experts when it comes to our health and be able to strike a balance between strong environment and a strong economy. i don't believe that mr. pruitt will be such an administrator, which is why i'm asking my colleagues to join me in voting against his confirmation. i see we have been joined on the floor by the senator from indiana. i'm prepared to just hit the pause button for a few minutes
5:35 am
to welcome my friend. it's good to be here at this hour of the morning. i welcome you and thank you for your commitment to not just the people of indiana but to our country in embracing the golden rule, the idea that we have to look out for each other, we're all one another's neighbors. with that, i yield the floor. mr. donnelly: it is an honor to be here with my friend and colleague from delaware. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. donnelly: it is an honor and a privilege to be here with my colleague from delaware. and, madam president, i would like to take a few moments to talk about the nomination of scott pruitt to be the administrator of the environmental protection agency. i have expressed my fair share of constructive criticism of the e.p.a. over the years. i wish the agency would work more effectively with states and stakeholders. collaborative partnerships are the best way to ensure that our environmental policies meet our
5:36 am
fundamental responsibility to be good stewards of the environment while also being narrowly tailored to avoid overburdening hoosier families and businesses. team work. teamwork is what will give us the best chance at responding effectively to emergencies like the ones facing my friends in the east chicago neighborhood of west calumet. cooperation with farmers, not overregulation, is how we keep nutrients and inputs in the field and improve water quality. if confirmed, i hope that scott pruitt will focus on improving the e.p.a.'s working relationship. with state partners and all stakeholders as the agency engages in its mission to protect our environment. that's an issue i have been working on for years, and i will continue to do so.
5:37 am
i cannot, however, support scott pruitt's nomination to lead the e.p.a. when i think of who should lead the e.p.a., given all the hoosiers who are impacted by the rules and policies developed by this agency, i think of how we are all dependent on clean air and water, but i also think of the last time an e.p.a. administrator visited my home state. it was in 2013 in a cold barn in whiteland, indiana, when then-administrator gina mccarthy visited with me and a number of my good friends. hoosier farmers from across the state. it was the morning after the e.p.a. had announced drastic cuts to the renewable fuels standard. not an ideal time to be administrator of the e.p.a. in a
5:38 am
barn with a group of hoosier farmers. that morning, farmers told the story of how important the renewable fuel standard is to rural economies and our national security. they told administrator mccarthy how her agency's decision had eliminated market opportunities for their products, for all of the things they have been growing, and it meant that we were putting our energy security at risk as well. because the less ethanol and biodiesel being used meant importing more foreign oil instead of growing our fuel on hoosier farms. a few days later, scott pruitt sent out a press release calling those r.s.f. cuts good news and highlighting his earlier efforts suing the e.p.a. in an attempt to block the regulatory approval of e-15.
5:39 am
i cannot support an e.p.a. nominee who has sued the e.p.a. to stop the sale of e-15 and who praised the erosion of a policy designed to strengthen our energy security and to promote homegrown hoosier biofuels. if confirmed, however, i look forward to working with scott pruitt to develop a better and more collaborative approach to regulation by the e.p.a. we have very, very important work to do, including cleaning up environmental dangers in our communities like those in east chicago, ensuring the safety of dripping water systems, developing a better wotus rule and finding a workable solution to address climate change. that work in east chicago is going to prevent me in -- from
5:40 am
being able to be here to vote against the pruitt nomination. the governor of our state has called a working meeting this -- today in east chicago with the mayor, with the state, with local elected officials, representatives from h.u.d. and e.p.a. and other neighborhood stakeholders. it is of utmost importance for me to be on the ground with the community to let them know we are listening and we are working to get the resolution they deserve and to protect their health and safety. as i will be heading back home to indiana before the vote on the scott pruitt nomination, i would like the record to state that if here, i would have voted against the nomination of scott pruitt for the e.p.a.
5:41 am
mr. doom: i'd like to recognize my colleague and friend from delaware, who has done such an extraordinary job in protecting the resources of this dunn. mr. donnelly: and in protecting the security of this country as well. his love for his home state with the beautiful beaches, beautiful oceans. in my home state, we have the great lakes, which are an extraordinary resource, which we are so blessed to have. and which is a trust we keep for one generation after another, that it is -- i have always felt my obligation to make sure i turn over those lakes and in fact the oceans in better
5:42 am
condition than we received. i'd like to yield to my colleague from delaware. mr. carper: i thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: i thank my friend for those kind and generous remarks. thank you for coming to delaware. i have been privileged to visit the hoosier state any number of times. i have a basketball, madam president, in my office from notre dame, and i know our friend from indiana is a huge notre dame fan. their basketball coach, mike bray, is the former basketball coach of the university of delaware. just like air pollution, water pollution can move across borders, so can head coaches of great basketball teams. tomorrow night, god willing, i will be at the bob carpenter center at the university of delaware to watch the men's university of delaware men's basketball team play. and our new head coach is one of mike bray's assistants who has come to our state to head us up.
5:43 am
we look forward to seeing how he and our fighting blue hens do. thank you for sharing a whole lot less air pollution, and thank you for sharing with us, after stealing our basketball coach, a very good replacement. i guess the coach to be named later. thanks. mr. donnelly: thank you. your efforts on this have been extraordinary. and to see the depth of concern you have for our oceans, for our lands. we have both worked so hard to make sure that we can work together with our farm communities to keep inputs on the farm, to protect our rivers, to protect our streams, and we know how hard our farmers are working on that as well, and i know you have a tremendous community in delaware. and this is something that it
5:44 am
was a privilege to sit and listen to you while you were speaking before, and i will note, as you said, that you may have sent us a basketball coach, but in return, we sent you one as well. and so i turn the floor over to my colleague from delaware. mr. carper: i thank my friend. one of the things that i love about the senator from indiana is he -- he understands that there is a golden rule. we are one another's neighbors, and we need to treat other people the way we want to be treated, and states need to treat other states the way that they would want to be treated. he also understands a very valuable principle. it's actually possible to have cleaner air and cleaner water and strengthen our economy. and we have -- when i was an undergrad at ohio state, a midshipman there, i remember a time up north of us in cleveland, ohio, when the cuyahoga river caught on fire. and the kind of smog we had and other parts of the country. i was stationed in california in the navy for a while. there were days when i ran, i
5:45 am
knew i wasn't doing a good thing for my lungs. we have done a lot better than that. while we have cleaned up rivers like the cuyahoga river and cleaned up a lot of places around the country, we still have work to do. but we have made those improvements and developed technologies that we have been able to sell all over the world, all over the world, and that's a good thing. i thank my friend for getting up at this hour of the day and for joining us here, for his leadership, not just in indiana but here in the senate. it's been a joy. thank you. i want to go back to what i was talking about earlier, scott pruitt's views. i think they're extreme, uninformed views on mercury regulation. but, madam president, mr. pruitt's views on core clean air and clean water laws and the somewhat misleading and oftentimes evasive answers he's given to members of this body, including myself ought to be reason enough for members of this body to reject his nomination. too much prior to his
5:46 am
confirmation hearing, madam president, mr. pruitt filed his third major legal action against the e.p.a.'s mercury and air toxics rule. this case is still pending before the courts. for those who don't know the e.p.a.'s mercury and air toxics rule requires our nation's largest source of mercury pollution, coal-fired plants to reduce mercury in a wider range over other air toxins. e.p.a. issued this rule in 2012. because of the low cost of compliance, most utilities are already meeting the standards. it's the sort of deal we can actually make more progress in a faster time at a lower cost than was actually anticipated. the same is true with the elimination of acid rain in the new england part of our state. a deal was worked on out which is really -- sort of the cap and trade approach. the idea was developed when george walker bush was
5:47 am
president. we ended up with better results and faster time. we can do this stuff. mr. pruitt filed his latest lawsuit alongside with one of the nation's largest coal companies arguing the benefits of cleaning up power plant and mercury and air toxics are too speck live, his words, too speck live and not necessary. he goes on to argue air toxic emissions from power plants. imagine that, hypothetically exposed persons. again, i would say really? finally, mr. pruitt argues that the -- i'm quoting directly, his quote, the e.p.a. cannot properly conclude it is appropriate and necessary to regulate hazardous air pollutants under section 112. i would say -- of the clean air act.
5:48 am
his boiled down arguments before the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit is basically this. if e.p.a. cannot quantify benefits in dollars, then those benefits don't count. never mind that we know the real world, health threats to people that this kind of air pollution poses. the idea of looking at public health protection only through the lens of dollars and cents is not a new one, but it can be a dangerous one. the tools we have for projecting costs and putting a dollar value on the health benefits are not gospel and are not the only way of analyzing the economic impacts of reducing pollution on a community. where toxic substances such as lead, arsenic, mercury, health benefits are sometimes difficult to be quantified.
5:49 am
meanwhile the e.p.a. is chock full of examples where benefits are underestimated and costs overestimated once programs are imp mrntsed an businesses find -- imp mrntsed and business -- implemented and businesses find such ways of cutting pollution. in my part, we call it yankee intuition. mr. pruitt's argument ignores that it's difficult if not impossible to quantify the loss of i.q., increased risk of cancer, or other long-term health effects known to occur when exposed to mercury and air toxic emissions. in mr. pruitt's world if we can't accurately translate the loss of i.q. and dollars lost, the benefit of cleaning up for children is too speck live, unquote, for it to be, quote, necessary and appropriate, closed quote for e.p.a. to act. as a father of three sons, i just find this way of thinking alarming. i have a poster here from a
5:50 am
woman in wilmington, delaware, a message from a woman in dwir. wilmington is the northern part of the state where our congressional delegation, our governor, his family lived. i would ask -- this is from sarah in wilmington. she says, i would ask mr. pruitt this. how much does it cost to lose an organ like i have, to lose a parent or child from cancer? how much sick days and inhalers cost? families already struggling to make ends meet. many of these costs are not in dollars alone. thank you, sarah. sarah is a mother, a registered nurse. she wrote to me earlier this month to express her concerns regarding mr. pruitt's nomination. in her letter she explained to me that she was born in 1978 in
5:51 am
western new york state, just miles away from the love canal neighborhood, the site of one of the most appalling environmental disasters in american history. for those who don't know, don't recall, love canal was a planned community that eventually had to be evacuated after 22,000 barrels of toxic waste were dumped in the nearby canal, 22,000 barrels. families whose homes were contaminated with chemicals and toxic waste had to leave. many faced serious health challenges later in their lives. these were the real threats we faced before we had the e.p.a. or laws on the books to help polluters accountable for dumping hazardous chemicals into our waters. sarah was pregnant while love canal was being evacuated just seven miles from their home. fast forward a few decades. when sarah was 30 she found out she had thyroid cancer. doctors told her that exposure to radiation perhaps from the
5:52 am
radiation, radioactive hot spots near her hometown is a proven risk factor for thyroid cancer. sarah now has a daughter of her own who unfortunately suffers from reactive airway disease that causes her trouble breathing and symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours at a time. sarah in her letter said to me, and i quote, mr. pruitt believes that the e.p.a. places economic hardships on businesses through unnecessary regulation. true economic hardship is experienced by those who often are least protected by environmental laws. she went on to say, i would ask mr. pruitt this. how much does it cost to lose an organ like i have? to lose a parent or child to cancer? how much do sick days and inhalers cost families already struggling to make ends meet?
5:53 am
what is the life path of a person who starts on out with compromised lungs? many of these costs are not in dollars alone. sarah couldn't be more right. an e.p.a. administrator must be able to understand the human cost of rolling back or eliminating critical environmental regulations. mr. pruitt's persistent and extreme views, at least extreme views in my mind on the mercury and air toxic rules are some of the reasons that i have grave concerns about his nomination to be e.p.a. administrator. i can't help but wonder if mr. pruitt will continue to fight this rule but from inside, not outside the agency but inside the agency. i wonder if mr. pruitt would uphold the clean air protection that has bipartisan support or would he seek to kill the rule and take what i think are extreme views of cost-benefit analysis broader to other issues such as cleaning up lead in our water or addressing climate
5:54 am
change. that's why i ask:not once, not twice -- asked him not once, not twice but three times about his views on the mercury and air toxics rule. i asked him directly three times if pa should move -- if e.p.a. should move forward with the rule and if e.p.a. should be regulating mercury and air toxic emissions from power plants. each time i asked the more evasive and misleading the answers became. in our three exchanges i was very clear that i was asking about e.p.a. regulations and authorities to address mercury emissions from power plants. however, mr. pruitt's answers he was very careful to mention that mercury pollution should be regulated under the clean air act but never said that mercury and other air toxic emissions from power plants should be or must be regulated. mercury as it turns out is emitted by many sources. coal-fired plants happen to be the largest emitter of mercury in this country.
5:55 am
under section 112 of the clean air act congress listed mercury as a hazardous air pollutant and required the e.p.a. to regulate all major emission sources. it seems that mr. pruitt tried to avoid the question i asked him about controlling mercury and air toxic power plant emissions. instead he answered about regulating mercury more broadly. while he was trying to evade the questions, what he did say was very misleading to the committee. in our second exchange i mentioned his three lawsuits against the mercury and air toxics rule. i asked mr. pruitt if he believed the e.p.a. should not move forward with this rule and if there were no rule, how would states clean up mercury? mr. pruitt answered, quote, i actually have not stated that i believe the e.p.a. should not move forward on regulating mercury or adopting rule making in that regard. he went on to say, there's not a statement or belief that i have that mercury is something that
5:56 am
shouldn't be regulated under section 112 as a hazardous air pollutant. his comment. well, anyone that supports the mercury and air toxics rule that might be very encouraged by these comments. sadly, mr. pruitt is on record stating many times that e.p.a. should not move forward regulating mercury and air toxic power plant emissions. here are a few quotes from the legal briefs that mr. pruitt filed in his many lawsuits against this rule that directly contradict his statement in our hearing. in his first lawsuit against the mercury and air toxics rule called white stallion versus e.p.a., mr. pruitt argued in his words, finally the record does not support e.p.a.'s finding that mercury, nonmercury hazardous air pollutant metals and acid gas hazardous air pollutants pose public health records, quote closed. in his most recent case he
5:57 am
argues with power plant and mercury emissionsing, the e.p.a. quote cannot properly conclude that it is proper and necessary to regulate hazardous air pollutants under section 112, closed quote. the statements go well beyond questioning the process. instead they suggest the e.p.a. should not be regulating mercury and air toxic emissions from power plants, period. this is not even what trump voters voted for in november. they did not go to the polls hoping that the new president would make their air dirtier or their water more polluted. this is another case of this nominee trietion to mislead or at least -- trying to mislead or at least obscure the truth before congress. it is a troublesome pattern, a troublesome pattern that i fear will only get worse if mr. pruitt is confirmed as e.p.a. administrator. with that, madam president, i
5:58 am
reserve the balance of my time. and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
5:59 am
quorum call:


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on