U.S. Senate Confirms EPA Nominee Advances Commerce Nominee CSPAN February 17, 2017 5:59am-8:00am EST
mr. carper: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: good morning, mr. president. mr. president, i wanted to continue to share with you and my colleagues the reason why i am opposed to the nomination of attorney general scott pruitt to be administrator of the environmental protection agency. from what we know about mr. pruitt's past record, there is still a good deal we don't know and we're not able to learn in committee. we know that mr. pruitt abandoned his responsibilities to protect oklahomans from harmful pollution. instead of holding polluters and
bad actors in the states accountable, mr. pruitt spent his time -- a lot of his time as attorney general in oklahoma suing the environmental protection agency. these days, going after the e.p.a., public health protection seems like a popular thing to do. in fact, the e.p.a. is often the target of nasty tweets from our current president. without the burning rivers or thick smog or soot in the air that used to be all too common, some may presume that there is not much more for the e.p.a. to do to protect the public health of our country from pollution. people may presume their environmental protection problems are behind us and states can take care of themselves when it comes to clean air and clean water. as mr. pruitt has suggested time and time again. i'm a recovering governor, a former governor for eight years. i have huge regard for what governors do, what states can do, and there is a lot we can do, but not everything. that is not the idea that states
can simply take care of themselves when it comes to clean air and water, and there is no need for federal oversight. it's just wrong. i think it's untrue. the e.p.a. continues to play a critical role in protecting our health and especially for the most vulnerable, including the very young and the elderly. the environmental threats that we face today are real, do not respect state borders. and one such threat is ozone, known to some as smog pollution. mr. pruitt has sued the e.p.a. over regulations to require new ozone smog protections five times, and several of these lawsuits are still pending before the courts. mr. pruitt's actions against those health protections are deeply concerning to me, as i represent a state as i said earlier that is at the end of what many of us call the east coast or america's tailpipe. emissions come up from the midwest largely and blow from west to east, end up in our air and in our water. 90% of the smog and air
circulation in delaware comes from outside of my state. 90% comes from outside of our state. from power plants hundreds of miles away, in places like kentucky, ohio, indiana and across the midwest. i've said many times as governor of delaware, i would have eliminated every source of pollution within my state, shut down our factories, cleared every car off the road, stopped the trains in transit and boats. delaware would still face deadly doses of air pollution, not from our own admissions but from those blowing into our state from hundreds of miles away. we have a chart here to my left. we call it an ozone report card. again, ozone is smog pollution. but it deals not with quality of air pollution in delaware, but it's a report card for oklahoma. cross-state ozone pollution continues to be a major problem
for our state but it also is for many states across the country. in mr. pruitt's home state of oklahoma, every county with an air quality monitor -- that would be 16 counties. they have more than 16 counties, but 16 of them have air quality monitors, but every one, every county with an air quality monitor has an unhealthy level of ozone pollution, according to the american lung association, every one. and the american lung association assigns grades, just like for our pages here in school, it grades in subjects. my hope is they all get a's and b's, but in oklahoma, the american lung association assigns for ozone pollution in these six counties, the only ones that have air quality monitors, they assign a grade of f. not just a one, two, three, four, five, ten. all 16. and for decades, we have known that the air pollution is linked
to serious health pollution like asthma attacks, strokes, heart attacks and other respiratory ailments. more recently, ozone has recently been linked to early deaths. we have another chart here that refers to oklahoma's asthma rate. according to the center for disease control, 6.3 million children in this country have been diagnosed with asthma. think about that. 6.3 million children diagnosed with asthma. one in ten children in mr. pruitt's home state of oklahoma have asthma, which is higher than the national asthma. that's 6.3 million children nationwide and more than 123,000 in oklahoma that have to worry during high ozone days if they're going to have an asthma attack. recognize the very real dangers of ozone pollution, congress tasked the e.p.a. to provide our country with the ozone air quality standard based on the best science available and reviewed that standard every -- review that standard every five
years. after reviewing more than a thousand medical and scientific studies, a thousand medical and scientific studies, the e.p.a. concluded about two years ago in 2015 that the 2008 ozone health standard was too weak and no longer adequately protected public health. the e.p.a.'s 2015 rule was purely a statement of fact to protect our health. we need less ozone pollution in our air. and to protect the 6.3 million children with asthma, we need less ozone pollution in our air. to protect the 123,000 children with asthma in oklahoma, we need a stronger health air quality standard. fortunately, many of today's biggest emitters of ozone pollution such as older coal plants are already scheduled to be cleaned up. this means the costs of compliance are not as high as they might have been two, four or six years ago. as attorney general, mr. pruitt had a choice between two paths. if he had taken the first path,
mr. pruitt could have worked with his department of environmental quality and the business community to ensure ozone polluters in his own states cleaned up. he would have worked with the e.p.a., not against it. by doing so, he would have protected oklahomans and citizens living in downwind states from ozone pollution and helped economic growth in his state at the same time. it is important to note that many attorneys general decided to take just this path, including our own attorney general in delaware. instead, mr. pruitt took a second path, the one that led to suing the agency e.p.a. in an attempt to weaken protections. and it's no surprise that mr. pruitt chose to sue the e.p.a. based on his clear record. i have a poster here with some of his own words. if after all it was mr. pruitt who just last summer explicitly said it bothers him when congress and the e.p.a. work together toen sure americans
have clean air to breathe, or at least it appears to say that, and specifically here's what he said. he said, legislation should not be we like clean air, so go make clean air. and he goes on to say that's something that bothers me. that congress then gives this general grant of authority to the e.p.a. and that was at hillsdale college in july of 2016. i would just ask what then does mr. pruitt think the role of e.p.a. is? it's hardly some kind of extreme overreach to keep deadly pollutants out of the air that we breathe. at least i think that and i think most people do, but mr. pruitt chose to sue the e.p.a. over the science used to justify and write just regulations -- new regulations, siding with the medical and scientific experts who published over 1,000 scientific studies that the e.p.a. has reviewed.
but mr. pruitt did not stop there. he also sued the e.p.a. over protections for downwind states. delaware is one of them. let me repeat that. mr. pruitt not only sued the e.p.a. over the science views in the 2015 ozone rule, he also sued the e.p.a. over the good neighbor rule to make sure all states do their fair share to clean up the air. without the good neighbor rule, delawareans and all americans living in downwind states will be forced to live with the consequences of the decisions made by polluters. hundreds or even thousands of miles from them. mr. pruitt took the stance that every citizen in this country does not have the right to breathe clean air. mr. pruitt took the stance that the lawyers and polluters know better than scientists and medical experts when it comes to ozone pollution and health. now the president is asking us, this body, to confirm mr. pruitt as our e.p.a. administrator.
as senators, we can also choose between two paths. the first path is protecting public health and ensuring those who elected us have clean air to breathe. the second path is protecting polluters. i will be taking the path that protects the health of my constituents. i urge my colleagues to do the same for theirs. and in just a moment, mr. president, i'm going to pause, but before i do, i mentioned this good neighbor rule. some people call it crossborder rule. the idea behind that is that we ought to treat one another as neighbors. where does the good neighbor rule come from? it actually comes from the bible. and it comes not just from the bible. it comes from almost every major religion in the world. the idea that we ought to treat other people the way we want to
be treated. if you look at every major religion in the world, it pretty much says that. in the new testament, some of you may recall there is a passage where the -- the fair i sees were after this young -- pharisees were after this young rabbi, trying to put him on the spot. they said you are so smart, young rabbi, why don't you tell us the greatest commandment of all. he said there is not one but two. he mentioned the first. he said the second is to love thy neighbor as thyself. one of them said to him who is our neighbor? he went on to tell them the parable of the good samaritan. a man traveling through the country, attacked, left for dead in a ditch. later in the day, three people walk by. one person was from a part of the country which is really -- this guy was sort of his neighbor, he walked on by. next a person of the cloth, a rabbi, walked on by, didn't
stop. the third guy that came through was from a place called samaria. they are sort of like an enmity, at odds with one another, not friendly, at odds with one another. the guy from samaria actually stopped to see what was wrong. saw the fellow had been beaten and left for dead. he administered to him and put him on his animal and took him to an inn. for a day and night tried to help him get better and after the second day, the guy had to leave and go someplace else. he said: the fellow still isn't well enough to travel, but here's some money to help pay for his care for another day or two. and when i come back through, if you need more money, i'll even help with you. and -- and he left. but he left the guy who had been beaten in a lot better shape.
after telling his story, the young rab eye turned to -- rabbi turned to his friend and said, who was the good neighbor? he said, it was a guy who came by and left him for beaten and dead and treated him in the way he would want to be treated. that is really the foundation of the good neighbor rule that the e.p.a. has promulgated. it is the idea that pollution does cross borders and if we can't pass a law, we need to pass a rule to make sure that pollution is taken care of. we could close down power plants and still have air quality problems. i think next we're going to look at some -- some editorial
statements that are in opposition to mr. pruitt. i know there are editorial statements that support him. i don't have any of those today, not surprisingly. but i do want to go over a couple from newspapers around the country, "l.a. times," "chicago sun-times," "dallas morning news." and i received a number of letters from delaware and they are concerned about the nomination of mr. pruitt to lead the e.p.a. for the record, mr. president, as of, i guess last night p-rbgs my office has received a total of seven letters, emails or faxes support p-ing mr. pruitt's nomination. this is from all sources. i received 1,880 letters opposing his nomination. pretty amazing. we don't get these kind of
volume of letters, e-mails or faxes or letters. 1,800 opposed. other the past three months editorial boards across the country have expressed their own serious concerns about this tpho*eupl as well. i -- nominee as well. i want to share a few of those with my colleagues and the world this morning. back in december "the new york times" wrote these words and i will read them. this is december -- a couple of months ago. had donald trump spent an entire year sko*uring the country for someone to weaken the clean air and clean water laws to repudiate america's leadership role in the global battle against climate change, he could not have found a more proper
candidate. that is a pretty bold charge. it goes on to say that he is a an aggressively bad choice. again, the e.p.a. wasn't created in a law signed by a democrat, it was by a republican. the clean air act clean water act, the same, but the "times" goes on to say, bad choice, a poke in the eye, this is an agency depended on for healthy air and drinkable water and to the 95 countries who agreed in paris to reduce air emissions and the belief that the united states should show the way. the "times" concludes, mr. pruitt is the wrong person to lead the agency. the senate cares about public good and needs to send his nomination to the dust pin. close quote. i know not everyone is not a pan
of "the new york times." let's go up to maine and they have a paper up there called the "banger daily news." i have a poster for them as well. last month -- the last month the "bangor daily news" wrote. as attorney general of oklahoma, pruitt has been openly hostile of the e.p.a.'s mission of protecting human health by regulating dangerous pollutants such as mercury and carbon dioxide. somebody who has repeatedly tried to prevent the e.p.a. from doing its job surely should be disqualified from overseeing the agency.
you know, we generally believe -- we generally believe that presidents have wide latitude in choosing the members of their cabinet. i think governors should have a wide latitude. as a former governor, i said to the delaware legislature, i have been elected, let me put together my own team and judge us on our performance. however, some nominees for some presidents -- probably democrats and republicans -- but especially in this case with this president, some nominees are so unqualified that senators should use their constitutional powers to reject them. scott pruitt, president trump's pick to head the e.p.a. is one of those nominees. i voted for more of the nominees for this president than against. several of them, i think, are quite good. i serve on a committee called
homeland security to succeed jeh johnson, retired marine general john francis kelly who is a terrific soldier, marine, leader for our country and will be a great secretary. i wish they were all of his kal better. i -- caliber. i wish they were. but the bangor paper went on to write that the agency is involved in writing law that is known to protect animals, but the major mission is to safeguard the clean water act and clean air act. finally they got to what is really at stake in the paper. with scott pruitt at the head of the e.p.a., we will have a president who repeatedly said he would like to get rid of the e.p.a. in almost every form.
this is what they said in bangor news, we are under no illusion that president trump is going to become a champion of environmental protection even if it iscy none muss to -- synonymous to protecting life. putting pruitt in charge of the e.p.a. would move the country backwards. it is not just the east coast editorial boards that are worried about scott pruitt's nomination. in california, a state that led the way in environmental protection, the "los angeles times" editorial board wrote -- let's see if we have a date on this. february 4, this month. this is what they wrote: yes, trump won the election and as president he is entitled to appoint people who reflect his political views. but when the president's policies pose such a fundamental
threat to our nation even the fellow republicans whose loyalty should be the people of the united states should put them ahead of party loyalty. mr. pruitt wouldn't lov -- he actually disagrees with the fundamental mission of the e.p.a. he argued that the federal government should play a lesser role in environmental protection. the primary control should be given to the states. that is wrongheaded. putting west virginia, my native state, in charge of the coal industry or texas in charge of its oil industry would lead to horrific environmental damage not just there, but in the neighboring states downwind and downextreme according to the "los angeles times" editorial board. they conclude by saying putting mr. pruitt in charge poses a
universal risk to the planet and the senate needs to hen sure that doesn't -- needs to ensure that doesn't happen. the "denver post" noted that -- their words -- and this is from two months ago, december 8, 2016. it looks like trump truly does not wreurb to dismantle -- wish to dismantle the e.p.a. his pick of scott pruitt to lead it strikes us as unnecessarily reckless. and we urge the senate to deny confirmation and demand a better way forward. he went on to add in the denver paper, does our nation really want a big oil mouth pease whpie
peasepiece -- this is the "chicago sun-times" in an editorial entitled, foe of e.p.a. is the wrong person to lead it." this looks like december 8, a couple of months ago. here's what he said: we are living in a time that calls for stepped up efforts across the board to protect our environment for future generations. unfortunately president-elect trump has elected scott pruitt an open foe to head the environmental protection agency. that shows a callous disregard to protect our nation to hold out hope for avoiding the worst effects of climate change. he went on to say, during his campaign mr. trump said he would dismantle president obama's environmental policies and pull the united states out of 195-nation paris accords to reduce greenhouse gas and climate change.
after the election trump tempered and moderated his tone and said he has an open mind about climate change. his appoin appointment of pruits that if he is -- suggests that if he is open to anything, it is more pollution. they conclude, at a time when scientists worry about climate change, we can not afford to put our future in the hands of an apologist with the fossil fuel industry. america needs an e.p.a. chief who understands the value of environmental successes. we have achieved critical importance of building on them. but programs these aren't convincing enough. travel down to texas, because they have a problem even in texas, in the lone star state. one of the newspapers there, the "dallas morning news" wrote just last week this is what they
wrote -- oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt a veteran of year's long courthouse campaign to undermine the environmental protection agency is the wrong choice to lead the agency under donald trump. it's hard to imagine a worst choice. they hide a long-term impact of putting mr. pruitt in charge of the e.p.a. they said: the post of the e.p.a. is a critical one and nowhere is that more tangible than here in energy-rich texas. again, in is the "dallas morning news." many industry voices have raised -- including his plans to vitiate the e.p.a.'s regulatory oversight of oil and gas companies and other polluters will strengthen the state -- in this case the state of texas -- economic fortunes. they went on, our senators, again the senators from texas, must look beyond the short-sig
short-sighted calculus, put simply, texas economy will be stronger over time if its environment is cleaner and its people are teltsdzier. -- healthier. mr. president, this is just one of a handful of editorial boards that have raised serious and substantive objections to mr. pruitt's nomination and for a very good reason. they don't just come from the northeast or east coast, they don't just come from the southeast or midwestings they come from the -- midwest, they come from the west coast an even texas -- and even texas itself. we ought to listen to them. they are not all wrong. in fact, i fear that they are right. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. i see we have been joined on the floor by a young man from connecticut who is here to share some of his own thoughts with us on these important topics.
i just want it thank him for the good work he does in so many areas. he and i have been partners together on trying to make sure that the people of this country have access to affordable health care and we get better results for less money and i applaud him for those efforts. an as he knows, probably better than me, to try to ensure that people are healthy is not enough to just provide health care for them when they get sick. we call that sick care, but to try to make sure we are doing things up front to prevent people from getting sick and enable them to get healthy. a lt is due to the work of the environmental protection agency. leadership is so important in everything that we do. the most critical factor in everything that i have ever seen. leadership is the key to success of any organization, large or small, that i have ever been a part of or observed. i don't care if it's a business, i don't care if it's a church, i don't care if it's a school, i don't care if it's a military unit, a sports team, the united
states senate, leadership is key. e.p.a. is key. so many enlightened -- show me enlightened, well-qualified leadership, and i will show you a successful operation. you need to be real careful in making sure that e.p.a. has the kind of leadership that will lead them well into our future. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy. i ask to dis -- mr. murph mr. murphy: i thank the staff for pulling another overnight. it isn't easy. *r time we have done -- every time i have done one of these i have been here in the late night orle early morning hours, i express my gratitude to those who are making this possible. and while i am grateful for those who are here, i think it's also incredibly important and vital that we are here. this is exceptional to have had so many late nights to have pushed through the evening, stayed in
session for 24, 48 hours at a time. i understand last week we engaged in the -- i understand we engaged in the longest session -- second-longest continuous session in the history of the chamber. and i think we're doing so because we're living through truly exceptional times today. we are living through a moment where this administration is simply not prepared to govern and many of the individuals who are being appointed to cabinet positions being selected to
serve in this administration simply aren't ready to get the job done. we saw that with respect to michael flynn who was named to quite possibly the most important position in the national security cabinet -- the national security advisor on most days is the first person and last person that the president talks to about national security, about protecting the nation, and many of us raised alarm bells when mr. flynn was selected for the job. his radical statements on islam, his questionable connections to russia, having sat next to vladimir putin at a celebration of russian propaganda didn't seem right to us. something didn't smell right to many of us. we expressed those objections when mr. flynn was chosen. our objections did not prevail,
and within 30 days mr. flynn was fired from his position. it's still unclear as to why he was fired. the president was out in front of the cameras and defending mrg just fired him 30 days into the job, but it seems it was some combination of undermining a sitting president by attempting to coordinate with the russian ambassador right after president obama levied sanctions on russia, potentially making some promises to the russians that they didn't have to worry about it because once the trump administration got into office they would modify or lift the sanctions or perhaps it was lying about what the substance of those conversations were. regardless, within 30 days, the
most important person in the cabinet position was fired in the shortest amount of time. more news in the last 48 hours there were a host of other officials ushered out of the white house because they didn't pass the security checks. why were they in the white house if they hadn't already taken criminal background checks? that's a preut kpwreu important -- that's a pretty important question that we should get answers to. but these were people serving in sensitive posts who weren't ready for the job. betsy devos didn't know the basic facts will federal -- about federal education law. she couldn't identify the difference between measuring pro
tperbcy and -- prefish enzi, and -- pro fish enzi and measuring growth. she seemed very confused about the federal law that protects children with disabilities, guarantees them an equal education. she told senator kaine and senator hassan that it would be okay for states to ignore that law or protection. that's not the case. every state has to observe the individuals with disabilities law as it relates to students. and just this week, we had a nominee withdraw after a drip, drip, drip of allegations regarding his personal conduct and his business practices made it pretty clear that somebody whose restaurants are -- half the time -- in violation of federal labor laws, somebody who
employed an undocumented worker shouldn't be the chief director of workers as the secretary of the department of labor. it just doesn't seem that a lot of thought has been put into some of these selections, and so we are taking our time. we are using our prerogative as members of the minority party to make sure that there is a full, complete debate on all of these nominees. to make sure at the very least the american public knows what they are getting. our worry is not just that these nominees are often, woefully -- often woefully unprepared for the job. it's that many of them appear to be fatally compromised. i listened to a lot of what president trump said on the campaign trail, and i heard him spending a lot of time attacking
the way that business had historically had been done in washington, dc maybe some of us kind of privately cheered him on when we heard him say that. because we have watched corporate america own this town for a long time. i've watched the drug industry essentially have veto power over health, i have watched oil and gas run the show. from a personal basis nothing aggrieves me more than seeing the gun industry get whatever they want from this congress. if you've got a coupl couple$00 million of market capitalization and a good lobbyist, you can get a lot done in washington. so maybe when i tried to think of that silver lining to the
election of donald trump to the presidency of the united states, something that, you know, was deeply, morally objectionable to me, it was that maybe there's a possibility to take on some of these special interests, to say enough is enough. the size of your wallet shouldn't have anything to do with the amount of influence that you command here. but then those hopes were dashed as we watched who president trump decided to nominate for the cabinet. over and over again billionair billionaires, sometimes millionaires, but more often than not billionaires, were selected for this cabinet, many of which had ties to the very special interests or were members of the very special interest that donald trump told people he was going to take on when he became president of the united states.
so we had one of the biggest fast food operators being installed into the department of labor -- somebody who attacked workers and said that break time was a nuisance, that robots should replace his employees. we had an oil executive nominated to serve as our chief diplomat, and now we have an individual who has very publicly and unapologetically done the bidding of big energy companies being enlisted to be the chief environmental protector in this country. and so we are here tonight because the nomination and selection of scott pruitt to be the next administrator of the e.p.a. fits neatly into a pattern of behavior by this administration in which very, very rich people, or people that
have very close ties to powerf l interests are being put into government and our worry is they are being put there not to serve the american people, but to serve those interests. scott pruitt has a very interesting history of defending the oil and gas industry, which i admit is important to his state of oklahoma, more important than it is in my state of connecticut. but he's had a very interesting history of defending that industry against the e.p.a. scott pruitt has sued the e.p.a. to overturn standards to curb mercury and other toxic air pollutants, standards that would prevent 11,000 premature deaths and up to 130,000 asthma attacks per year.
he sued to void standards to reduce soot and smog pollution, projecting to prevent 34,000 premature deaths and almost 400,000 asthma attacks every year. he sued unsuccessfully to overturn the e.p.a.'s scientific endangerment determination that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping air pollutants are harmful. and he even sued to block limits on water pollution into the chesapeake bay, which has no connection to oklahoma. scott pruitt has been a crusad crusader. he has been a crusader on behalf of the energy industry against environmental protection. and he would probably tell you that there is a choice to be made between protecting our
environment and protecting our economy. that's ridiculous. that's patently ridiculous. if we don't protect our planet, if we don't protect the quality of our air and the quality of our water, there will be no planet for businesses to grow. and every kid that suffers through a lifetime of asthma is a fundamentally less productive worker to be able to add value to the american economy. when you're attacking health standards that would reduce asthma attacks by over 500,000 a year, you're attacking the economy, not just the environment. it is really hard for a kid to learn and become an
entrepreneur, a business creator if they are not healthy. and, frankly, it's really hard for a family to be able to manage their own economic affairs when they have kids that are that unhealthy. and so scott pruitt, in continuing to attack the e.p.a., continues to stand up for the oil and gas industry is weakening our economy. but maybe even more importantly, when you're standing up for only one segment of the energy industry, you're ignoring all of the potential jobs that come through a true energy transformation. i get it that today there are a lot of oil jobs in oklahoma. but there could also be a lot of wind and solar and advanced
battery and fuel cell jobs in his state as well. and, frankly, as you look at the jobs that will be created over the next 50 to one00 years -- not just in this -- 100 years, not just in this country, but across the globe, the real job growth of the energy sector is not going to be just in the oil and gas sector, it will be in the broader renewable economy sector. i don't know if these statistics are up to date, but a few years ago i read that of the top ten solar companies in the world, the united states has one of them. of the top ten wind turbine companies in the world the united states has one and of the top ten battery companies in the world the united states has two. there are going to be millions and millions of jobs to be had all across the world in the renewable energy economy.
but so long as our energy policy is only about protecting oil and gas and coal and not about truly advancing renewable energy, we are hurting our economy. we are preventing massive job creation from happening. and we are letting other countries eat our lunch because nine out of those ten top wind turbine companies, top solar companies, eight out of those ten advanced battery companies, they are in other countries, other countries that have decided to have policies that create internal markets for those new renewable technologies, unlike here in the united states. and so germany is pumping out wind turbines, selling them all over the globe not because germany has any more wind than the united states, but because they decided to pursue a policy in which they give advantage to those renewable energy companies. the united states has decided to pursue policies by and large
through giving advantage to fossil fuel companies. and so in making his name as a crusader against the e.p.a., not only is scott pruitt endangering the health of our kids, but he's endangering the health of our economy as well. and it's not guesswork when it comes to the connection of scott pruitt to the industry. you know, if he had really studied the facts and he had sat down and sort of weighed the benefits of the industry's claims against the benefits of the claims of 99% of scientists in this country, it would be worth a listen. but as attorney general of oklahoma, he sent a letter to
the e.p.a. securing its efforts to limit methane leaks from oil and gas companies. and he didn't write the letter. he didn't write the letter. nobody on his staff wrote the letter. oklahoma's devon energy corporation wrote the letter and pruitt's office changed a few words and sent it on to the e.p.a. on the attorney general's stationery. that's how close the relationship is between scott pruitt and these energy companies. he just takes what they write, what they say and forwards it on under his own signature. now if he did that in a classroom, that would be plagiarism. you'd be kicked out of school. but if you do that as the toning of oklahoma, you -- as the attorney general of oklahoma,
you get nominated to be the administrator of the e.p.a. and it might get a lot worse. you might find out that it was a lot worse on tuesday of next week, because for some reason scott pruitt has been hiding e-mail correspondence between his office and these energy companies, and he has put up roadblock after roadblock to try to stop freedom of information requests to get these e-mails, these correspondence. and finally yesterday a judge ruled that you can't stop that information from coming out. they are public documents. and on tuesday of next week they are going to be made public. i don't know what they are going to say, but, you know, as i suspect with donald trump's tax returns, when you are expending great effort to hide something from the american public, there is probably a reason why you are hiding those things.
there's something incredibly damaging, embarrassing or illegal in those tax returns. and there is probably something very damaging, embarrassing or illegal in those e-mails. and so we are rushing through a nomination of scott pruitt tomorrow which will not allow us to see this e-mail correspondence which is going to come out next week. i mean, is it likely we'll show us how close that connection has been between the administrator of the e.p.a., the next administrator of the e.p.a. and the energy companies that he has been regulating and will be charged to regulate. i get really concerned about scott pruitt when i think about
the kids in my state. i'll tell you about one very specific way in which i think about it and then i'll talk a little bit more broadly. we talked a lot about lead mostly in the context of this just tragedy that's played out in flint, michigan. but in connecticut, the tragedy of lead poisoning plays out every single day. why? because we have really old housing stock. we have old infrastructure. we have lead that's in paint. we have lead that's in pipes. we have lead that's in fixtures that exist in old homes. and so while our state has been just plugging along trying to do better and remediate these old homes and clean up lead and test kids earlier, lead poisoning has been a reality for us in connecticut for a very, very long time. and, boy, there are a lot of awful things that can happen to you as a kid in this country,
but lead poisoning is at the top of the list. watching a family go through the horror of serious lead poisoning is nothing that you want to witness because once lead gets into your system, once it gets trapped inside your brain, it is impossible to reverse. and so in his confirmation hearing, mr. pruitt was asked whether there is any safe level of lead in drinking water. if you're going to be the administrator of the e.p.a., you should probably know the answer to that question. the answer is no. there is no safe level of lead in drinking water. and given all of the tumult and attention over what happened in flint, you would think that that would be something you'd be prepared for. his response was, senator, that is something i have not
reviewed or know about. lead is a neurotoxin that can have devastating long-term effects on the lives of children, and the correct answer, of course, is that there is no level of lead that is safe in drinking water. i don't want to be too tough on him because i don't expect somebody that hasn't spent their lifetime in the field to know every answer about environmental standards, but this one was a pretty important one. and for those of us who do think he's ultimately going to do the bidding of industry rather than the bidding of kids, not having an awareness about something as simple as acceptable lead levels in water makes us wonder whether he's really prepared to do his homework. because on the other side of the lead fight are special interests. i mean, this is one that has special interests too. you know, whether it be the home builders or other folks that might have to pay a little
bit of money out of their pocket to fix up old homes. there are people who are not always with us on this. but more broadly, mr. president, you know, i worry about my kids. my kids are not going to suffer from lead poisoning, but if we don't get serious about the pace of climate change now in the next five to ten years, the problem may not be available to solve for my kids. it may too late once they become of age to try to do something about it as a public servant, as a scientist, as an activist. and any scientist can explain the reason for that. the reason is that for many greenhouse pollutants, carbon
in particular, carbon dioxide in particular, as they get released into the atmosphere, they stay and they continue to warm, heat up, as time goes on. there are some pollutants that don't act that way, fast acting climate pollutants like methane that are released into the atmosphere, are powerful heaters for a short period of time but then they dissipate. carbon dioxide is different. that one sticks around forever and ever, a long, long time, and continues to heat, continues to heat, continues to heat. and so if you don't reverse the trajectory of of the human contribution to climate change soon, it may be too late. and as folks have read just in the last 60 days, that phenomenon is playing out in
parts of the globe already at a pace that was unimaginable just five years ago. in the arctic we are seeing just unthinkable warming. unthinkable warming. i don't make policy by anecdote, but about a year ago i was in the arctic. i was on a submarine doing an exploration under the ice, truly amazing thing to be part of. i was on the u.s.s. hartford, a ship that was made in connecticut. and the ports in connecticut. and we were up there as part of an exercise, an exercise to try to understand what's happening in the arctic, try to understand what the implications are for humans of this massive melting of arctic ice. and there was supposed to be two weekends of exercises in which there was a camp on a very
stable piece of ice and experiments were happening at the camp and the submarine was helping to engage in those experiments, and we were part of the first weekend's exercise and then the next weekend another group of congressmen were going up to witness the second group of exercise. the second group of congressmen did not make it. they were on a van to the plane when they were told of there was an emergency evacuation at the camp because the ice was melting underneath the camp. this was a spot that was picked because of how stable they thought it was and in the short period of time in which the camp existed, that march on the ice it started to break up and melt underneath them, and they had to engage in an emergency evacuation. that's just one story, and i understand that we don't legislate or regulate by an
anecdote. but you piece it with all the evidence that tells you every single year is the warmest on record, that shows you this massive trend line of melting in the arctic. and even scientists that were, oh that 1% that were sort of judged or deemed to be climate skeptics, are now saying there is clearly something nonnatural happening in the arctic. resulting in this massive melt that happens season after season and if that melts that is being mirrored in antarctica continues at this pace, it will be too late for my kids to do something about it. and in my state of connecticut, a coastal state, a state in which the majority of our economic assets are buffered right up against the water, the long island sound, we cannot
survive in a world in which sea level rise doubles compared to what it has been over the last 1,000 years. we cannot survive in a world in which by the end of this century average temperatures are eight degrees higher than they are today. when i came to congress in 2007, the worst-case estimates were by the end of this century global temperature rise was six to eight degrees beyond what it is today. those are now mainstream estimates. it's not politicians. it's not activists. that is scientists, mainstream scientists making those estimates. and yet, we are going to put somebody into the e.p.a. who probably has been a mouthpiece for the idea that climate change
is a hoax. a hoax. i mean, there is this tiny group of scientists that say, well, it's not really clear whether human activity is leading to climate change. there's a tiny group of scientists that say that. 90 plus percent of scientists say that humans are contributing climate change. scott pruitt said that climate change -- he said this over and over again. he said that climate change is a hoax. what does that mean? it means it's an intentional campaign by people who try to fool people into believing that climate change is happening. all right. that's an extreme position.
i don't even know sort of how you explain what the genesis of the hoax is. what benefit do people get from trying to create this fiction? and of all the people out there that could possibly be the e.p.a. administrator, president trump chose someone that calls climate change a hoax. now, he had a confirmation conversion. he backtracked on that and said, you know, something before the committee about, you know, not being completely sure about the human contribution to climate change, but acknowledging that probably exists, and it's not the first confirmation conversion that we've had. the presiding officer and i were in a very interesting hearing yesterday in which the nominee
to be the ambassador to israel recanted everything he ever said that was strong in tone about the people he disagreed with on the position of u.s.-israel relations. and so scott pruitt has changed his rhetoric in order to get confirmed, but he said that climate change was a hoax enough times to understand that likely in his gut that's what he still believes and it was a convenient position to have if you were, as attorney general, concerned with doing the bidding of big energy companies and special interests. it fit into their narrative as well. so, mr. president, these are exceptional times, right? i am sorry we are back on the
floor overnight again, but we can deeply, deeply concerned that this special interest cabinet -- this billionaire cabinet -- is not being put in place to do right by the american people. it is being put in place to do right for big corporations that don't need anymore allies here in washington. that for all the rhetoric about upsetting the way things are done in washington, president trump is doubling down on special interest influence by handing them the keys to the secretary's offices at major departments, now including the environmental protection agency. that was not a president at that
press conference yesterday. that was hard to watch. i imagine for both democrats and -- that was hard to watch i imagine for both democrats and republicans. that was not a higher calling for anybody. maybe there was a 20% base that applied to, but that was not an advertisement for america. these are exceptional times and they command those of us who are worried about the direction of this country to use all the purr that we have to -- all the facts that we have to get the information out there to the country. i was standing next to senator king at the press conference talking about this issue of climate change and our
responsibility as public servants to protect the quality of our air, the quality of our water. we were recalling how this wasn't as partisan an issue 40 years ago as it is today. right? the e.p.a. was established under a republican president -- the clean water act, the clean air act had bipartisan support. there was a time in which republicans were for environmental protection and now we're nominating somebody to be the administrator of the environmental protection agency to made his name fighting environmental protection, who made his name suing the agency that was established by a republican president, whose called the global climate change
phenomenon supported by 99% of scientists a hoax. it is disturbing to many of us how deeply politicized this issue is. because it used to be relatively nonpartisan. it used to be that for all the things we disagreed on, we at least recognized that one of our responsibilities as stewards of this spear that we live -- sphere that we live on that it is in the same shape it is today for our kids. senator king said that in maine they have the rollcall voteo till -- the rtoto -- roto tiller rule, which is if you borrow a piece of equipment from your neighbor, you have an obligation, when you're done with it, to return that piece of equipment to your neighbor in at
least of good of condition as you found it. that makes sense. you borrowed the rototiller, and if you break it, you should fix it before you hand it back or you should be careful with it and you don't break it so when you give it back to your neighbor, it's in that condition. senator king applied that standard to the standard we should hold ourselves to when it comes to protecting this planet. my kids are going to inherit this planet. my grandkids, hopefully, will inherit it from them and our charge should be to hand this planet to our kids in at least as good of shape as we found it. if we break it or damage it, we should fix it before we hand it over. we are breaking this planet right now. we are releasing so much pollution into the atmosphere to have compromised its integrity
for the next generation. right? we've broken the rototiller and the rule tells you that before you give it back to your neighbor, you should fix it, and we have it in our power to do it. when we damaged the ozone layer through the release of cfc's, we got together and fixed that problem. we engaged in a global conversation to regulate cfc's through something called the montreal protocol. we were able to attack that problem and fix it at no significant cost to the economy and show that if we really do care about the quality of this globe, there is nothing outside of our power.
there is no choice to be made between observing the rototiller rule, protecting our planet and growing our economy. but if scott pruitt becomes the next administrator of the e.p.a. and the oil companies and the gas companies essentially get whatever they want, well, their bottomlines will probably be improved. shareholders in those companies will probably do a little bit better, but our kids' health, our larger economy's future will be compromised and so that's why we're here on the floor objecting to mr. pruitt's nomination. that's why we have asked for this nomination to be delayed until later next week so that we can see what's in these e-mails where you already have some pretty concerning evidence of this deep connection between mrs that he will regulate at
e.p.a. -- a letter that they wrote for him that he sent under his name. what if there's more information like that in this correspondence? what if there is more evidence that he, as attorney general was just a mouthpiece for industry rather than a mouthpiece for consumers? what if that is predictive of his behavior at e.p.a.? i think that would be something that both democrats and would be concerned with. because i think i know my colleagues and while my colleagues have certainly been more protective of industry's interests than democrats, we both agree that you shouldn't -- the industry shouldn't have an unnatural advantage in these agencies above the prubl interest. i'm -- public interest.
i'm pretty sure we both agree on that. and in four short days we'll get a better understanding as to whether that is definitively the case for scott pruitt. so i would urge my colleagues to either delay this vote that's happening later today or to vote against the nomination, and i appreciate, again, everyone who has been part of facilitating another very late night on the floor. mr. president, i would yield the floor and ask for the roll to be called. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. a senator: may the quorum call be dispensed with. ms. harris: thank you. mr. president, i come before the floor to convey my wholehearted opposition to the nomination of scott pruitt as the administrator of the united
states environmental protection agency, the e.p.a. the e.p.a. at its core is an agency established to protect the environment and the public health of our nation. this agency looks to established policies and guidelines that would benefit all americans and in essence is not an agency of partisanship. in fact, the e.p.a. was created through legislation led by a republican president, richard m. nixon, and enacted by a bipartisan congress in 1970. the e.p.a. has a duty to protect the air we breathe, the water that we drink and the environment that we hope to pass on to future generations. in accomplishing this mission, it enforces some of our most valued laws like the clean air act and clean water act, which have been in effect for more than 30 years. unfortunately, this president has asked the united states senate to confirm a nominee that
has dedicated his career to undermining the very agency he is asked to lead. mr. pruitt's record and consistent failure to commit to being a fair administrator of the e.p.a. further demonstrates that the administration's agenda is to weaken protections that guarantee every american access to clean air and clean water. from his actions as attorney general of oklahoma up to his testimony at the hearing before the environment and public works committee, it is clear that mr.y unqualified. i express my strong concerns as a senator from california, a global leader in environmental protections that allow our residents to live healthy lives. it is my hope that smart regulations which are led by the e.p.a., our nation can enjoy these same benefits that i have seen californians experience firsthand. californians have always been and will continue to be proud of
our environmental leadership. in 1977, california passed the first energy efficiency standards in the country. our friends from the states of florida, massachusetts, connecticut and new york quickly followed suit. this set precedent. federal officials agreed that having responsible renewable energy guidelines should be a priority. ten years later the e.p.a. implemented national standards across the united states saving a tremendous amount of energy, sustaining our precious environment and resources for future generations, and providing financial benefits for families and households across the country. to put it in perspective, one of the national energy standards for refrigerators that was the result of policy initially enacted in california has saved more than 130,000 megawatts of electricity to date. this is equivalent to the production of energy that
roughly 250 power plants might produce. this example is not a rare occurrence. energy policies have continued to be adopted from smart initiatives started in various states. starting as early as 1978, california passed an energy efficiency standard for newly constructed buildings. this standard is now adopted not only in our nation, but worldwide. the state legislature listened to the objection -- the objective and factual data from scientists on the dangers of climate change and as a result passed the california global warming solutions act of 2006 which required california to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. we created the california cap and trade program which implemented an innovative market-based system to allow companies to continue to produce while also helping to reduce emissions.
we instituted the low-carbon fuel standard which reduces the carbon intensity of all transportation fuels in california. we passed the sustainable communities and climate protection act of 2008 which urged local transportation planning agencies to consider statewide greenhouse reduction standards and goals in their long-term transportation plans. and we set a renewable portfolio standard which implored retail sellers of electricity to provide 33% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2020 and 50% by 2030. we are proud indeed of what we have accomplished in california, but the importance of this issue goes beyond just the environment. it is an economic issue, and it has been undeniable in helping california grow to be the sixth-largest economy in the world. california shows that a healthy environment and a healthy
economy and the choice between two is a false choice. we can have both. from 1990 to 2014, california's population and economy grew while achieving a 36% drop in emissions per gross domestic product. this clearly demonstrates that you can successfully have economic growth and reduce carbon intensity. the state has done a great job of creating employment through the promotion of clean energy technology and clean companies. a report by the university of california labor center found that the california renewable portfolio standards contributed to the creation of 25,500 hours for what was referred to as blue-collar job of opportunities and 702 hours of what was
referred to as white collar jobs. most importantly the environmental laws the e.p.a. enforces protects the health of future generations. science has shown children living in communities with a higher concentration of particulate matter developed respiratory difficulties and those children living in regions with higher ozone levels were more likely to develop asthma and to miss school. this is only a small part of the impact that ignoring protections on our environment can cause to the ones we love most. and on that point about children missing school because of health concerns, there is a significance to this in terms of a connection of what we need to do to educate our population and also what we see in the criminal justice. for example, it is well known and established the significance of third grade reading level. by the end of third grade if a child is not at third grade reading level they literally drop off.
before third grade a child is learning how to read and then comprehension kicks in and they're reading to learn. if they've not learned how to read they cannot read to learn and they drop off. what is the connection between that and the concern we have about pollution in the air and water? well, there is a connection between pollution in the air and asthma rates. asthma causes children to miss school. what we know is that we have seen that an elementary school truant is three to four times likely to be a high school dropout. 82% of the prisoners in the united states are high school dropouts. african american men between the age of 30 and 34 if he is a high school dropout is two-thirds likely to be in jail, have been in jail or dead. there is a real connection between elementary school truancy and what we see in public safety systems. what we also know is that it costs money when children miss school. it costs us money in terms of the money that schools miss out on because they're not being
reimbursed for attendance every day. all of these issues are connected. as a former attorney general, i have worked to enforce california's cutting-edge environmental laws. this is what an attorney general should and is obligated to do as a representative of her state. without reservation, i can say that i am proud of the work of my office with my former office, the california department of justice and the work that is happening and has happened throughout the years during the right thing for the people of the state and for the environment. in february of 2011, i filed an amicus brief in the ninth circuit court to support the efforts of the port of los angeles to reduce air pollution through its clean trucks program. in 2011, i had the pleasure of being a voice to protect an area of southern california known as mira loma village, a town of
hardworking people, by representing them in a lawsuit to assure that a project would not significantly deteriorate the air quality in their community. and i will tell you i have been hearing stories of the grandmothers in that community for years asking that they would be heard. i have been hearing for years before i visited mira loma about the fact that studies showed that the children of that community had the lowest rate of lung development of any region in that part of california. there was a serious concern about the pollution in the air and the children of that community and their ability to be healthy. so this is what we did and what i was able to do as the attorney general of the state that year. we met them with the developers in that community. we sat down, we had some tough discussions, but we agreed that there had to be mitigation. they had to reduce the emissions in that community that were resulting in public health problems for that community. and two years later that
resulted in the city and the developer moving forward with a project which implemented measures to protect the residents from being exposed to diesel contamination. litigation was critical, and the role of the attorney general to be able to intervene and be a voice for that community and so many voiceless and vulnerable people was critical. in june of 2014, as attorney general of california, i publicly opposed the lack of environmental review for the expansion of a chevron refinery project in a place called richmond, california, and demanded that they consider the public health of the nearby residents. these are examples of the role and the responsibility of a state attorney general, to take seriously their oath in terms of protecting the health and welfare of the residents of their state. and i offer these examples to
further support the concern that we have that this nominee, when he has held such an important position, has taken an oath to represent the people, has failed to perform his duties. and i would suggest, mr. president, that his past is prologue for the future. his past is an indication of what he will do if he is confirmed as the next head of the e.p.a. and i would hope that instead we would have a nominee, someone who would head these most important agencies in our government that could say the same thing about their record as i am proud to say about the record of the california department of justice. in my opinion, our current nominee can cannot in good conscience speak to the same type of record. instead mr. pruitt has talked about how he wants to protect states from what he believes is, quote, overreach of the federal government.
his commitment to what he would call states' rights is so strident that a december 6, 2014, "new york times" article reported that mr. pruitt has a painting in his office that, quote, shows local authorities with rifles at the ready, confronting outsiders during the land rush era. he also established what he described and named a federalism unit in the oklahoma attorney general's office that was committed to fighting against federal regulations. when he came before the environmental protection -- environment and public works committee for his confirmation hearing of which i'm a member, mr. pruitt stated that it is, quote, our state regulators who oftentimes best understand the local needs and uniqueness of our environmental challenges. he then went on to speak about how states possess the resources
and the uniqueness of our environmental challenges. these statements might lead one to believe then that mr. pruitt would be in support of any opportunity possible to give power back to the states, to create environmental regulations. however, when i asked mr. pruitt at the committee when he came before us if he would commit then to upholding california's right to set its own vehicle emission standards, he would not commit to doing so. and, mr. president, i will remind this body that the e.p.a. has a long tradition of respecting california and other states' ability to set higher standards where they can control the emissions and the greenhouse gas emissions that as we mentioned before, directly have an impact on the health and well-being of the residents of our states, and in particular
the children and the elderly of our states. under the clean air act, california has set its own standards for how it wants to regulate vehicle emissions. we have done this for decades now, and previous e.p.a. administrators have upheld california's right to set them. although there is precedence for doing so, mr. pruitt would not commit to granting california the waiver to allow my state to continue to set its own vehicle emissions standards. this, mr. president, is simply unacceptable. and it is a blatant double standard for someone who claims to be committed to breaking down regulations at the federal level and giving power back to the states. in fact, it makes me wonder how truly committed mr. pruitt is to states' rights or if states' rights is just a convenient argument for him in order to pursue actions that are
beneficial to industries that pollute instead of the residents and the people of his state and, by extension, our country. just look at his record as attorney general of oklahoma. a position he used to challenge the laws of other states. as attorney general, he challenged a california law when he joined a lawsuit that targeted a re referendum that california voters approved in 2008 to require more space in cages for egg-laying hens. that measure, california proposition 2, prohibited the confinement of hens used to produce eggs in california in any manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. the law's popular and it was passed by the voters in my state by 63.5%. in 2020, the california
legislator expanded that law so it applied to all eggs sold in california. mr. pruitt joined a lawsuit suing california over this law presumably because he did not like that regulation approved by our voters and affirmed by our state legislature would do a good job. mr. pruitt's case was ultimately objected by the federal appellate court because, of course, his lawsuit failed to demonstrate how this california law presented a harm to his state. you would think that a state's rights proponent would appreciate that one state passes a law and it should be respected, especially when it doesn't create any harm to his own state, but that was not the case. mr. pruitt has filed seven
lawsuits against the e.p.a. that has since been settled. in those lawsuits he opposed the clean power act and the clean water act. he sued over regulations to make electricity engineering and generating powerplants install technology to curb air pollution. he sued over a plan to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants and a regulation aimed at refusing greenhouse gases. he sued and filed a lawsuit that claimed that the e.p.a. encouraging environmental nonprofits to bring lawsuits. but it is important to note mr. pruitt lost six out of those seven lawsuits. now mr. pruitt is a baseball fan, as am i. i love my giants, but i find it hard to believe that my san francisco giants would look at a hitter who slogged through a
spring training with a .12 batting average and have no concerns calling him up to the big league roster. why does the united states senate have a lower standard for reviewing a nominee who would be charged with safeguarding human health and our environment? now, what about the opportunities that mr. pruitt has had to defend the interests of the people he was elected to represent? what about issues that directly impact the people of oklahoma? in 2011, 49 states signed on to a $25 billion mortgage settlement. there was only one state's attorney general who decided not to sign on, and i think you know where i am heading. that one attorney general was scott pruitt. mr. pruitt said he didn't think that it was the appropriate role of the state attorney general to
advocate for homeowners for their states but wanted to be sure to protect the banks instead. as a former state attorney general, i am here to say that the role of an attorney general is to represent the people of your state. when an injustice is committed to one person, an injustice is committed to all of the residents of your state. in fact, doing the work of attorney general over the course of seven years in california, i will tell you, mr. president, every time we filed a suit, that document, that complaint never read the name of the victim versus the name of the offender. it always read the people versus the offender because in our system of democracy and in our system of justice as a country, we have rightly said a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us. mr. president pruitt has failed
to a -- mr. pruitt has failed to appreciate the significance of that point. he has, in fact, developed a long list of lawsuits filed, but through all of that litigation, he has delivered very little for the people of oklahoma, the very people who elected him to represent them. and why should he then -- why should we expect that he will protect the interests of all americans and the environment that we all share? during his six-year tenure as attorney general of oklahoma, scott pruitt stated only in one instance a lawsuit against an egg farm that he could recall initiating an independent lawsuit as attorney general against private air polluters. it was later revealed that even this claim was misleading. that it, in fact, -- it turned out it was his predecessor that had actually done the leg work and initiated the proceedings along with the assistance of the e.p.a.
in the 2014 "new york times" article, it was reported that mr. pruitt used his official position as oklahoma attorney general to protect the interests of a private gas and petroleum company, devon energy, not the people of oklahoma. again, using his official government position, mr. pruitt sent a three-page letter to the e.p.a. stating that devon energy did not cause as much air pollution as was calculated by federal regulators. in open records of exchanged e-mails between devon energy and the oklahoma attorney general's office, it was discovered that the lawyers at devon energy were the ones who actually drafted the letter and that mr. pruitt used a nearly identical letter to express it as his state's
position. following the letter, devon energy wrote to his office that, and i quote, outstanding, exclamation point, the title of this letter is great given our meeting with the e.p.a. and the white house. outstanding, the energy company said, not the people of the state of oklahoma. it is also unclear how far this abuse of power has gone. a lawsuit by the centers of media and democracy has been filed in an oklahoma district court to release information on mr. pruitt's dealings as attorney general. it is with great concern that we would try to rush this nomination without these records coming to light. senators should have all the facts before us before we vote. should mr. pruitt be confirmed as e.p.a. administrator, i am deeply concerned he has refused to use his discretion to recuse
himself from litigation that he was involved with in his role as oklahoma attorney general unless required to do so by the ethics commission. i asked him about this, mr. president, during our hearing at the environment and public works committee. i asked him -- would he be willing to recuse himself, notwithstanding a finding by the ethics commission, but based on just what is right. he agreed, after many questions, that he has the discretion, regardless of action, regardless of waiting until the ethics commission rules, he has the discretion to recuse himself from those lawsuits that he, as attorney general of oklahoma, brought against the agency he wants to lead. he agreed he had the discretion, and yet, failed to agree that he would exercise that discretion and recuse himself because of an
appearance of a conflict. this is simply unacceptable. it is so important that in our government the public has confidence in us, that they trust that we will do the right thing, that they will trust that we will use our discretion in an appropriate way, but this is a nominee that has asked us to trust him to lead the e.p.a., a people's agency, that has been charged with protecting the resources that are vital for all of human life, a nominee that has has failed to represent his own constituency's interest by micking a career of -- making a career of partisan is not the right nominee for this office. he is a nominee that has lobbied for corporations rather than the people he was charged with representing. he is a nominee that has a clear record of using his position in a way that has not been in the best interest of the people he serves and there is evidence, unfortunately, of this record that is before us as a body.
we should take heed of this evidence. we should pay attention to it and we should not confirm this nominee to be the next head of the e.p.a. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: may i have a moment to comment? i was a naval pilot officer and lived in the sunny state. i remember the hangars that we used during the time i served on active duty. and i had the privilege of knowing a number of attorneys general from california. we are appreciative to have
senator harris here and she gave her maiden address here on the senate floor and i thought, she's pretty good. i will say, you are even better than i thought. those were wonderful comments. i know our presiding officer is also the chairman of our committee. i thought you were evenhanded and fair in sharing that. mr. president, the presiding officer is a pretty good friend of mine. i don't know if he is a big baseball fan. i am. you're a giants fan, and the leadership in baseball is important. it is good to have -- we need good outfielders and pitchers. but what is important is leadership. leadership is always the most
important ingredient in everything i have been involved with. tigers just lost a former player at the tender age of 86. in terms of leadership, the tigers, or the giants, you wouldn't want to hire somebody to coach a team who -- a baseball team who is a football coach or someone who is really great with a basketball team. i don't doubt that scott pruitt is a skillful lawyer. i met his family, like them. i think he's arguably a good guy and husband, but it's a little bit like asking -- i don't know -- hob is -- somebody who is maybe a passive he'sest to -- pass visit to lead the department of defense. i thought you outlined that very
well, and i just want to say welcome to the big leagues. we are going to learn a lot before you're done. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: i rice to speak -- i rise to speak about scott pruitt to be the head of the environmental protection agency. we have heard a number of colleagues come to the floor and hour after hour with 24-hour sessions, 1, 2, 3, 4 in the morning to complain about this or that nominee to express their concern about this nominee or that nominee. many times i think there is opposition to the nominee is that they disagree with the nominee because it wasn't hillary clinton who made the nomination. we heard countless people come to the floor today to talk about their opposition to the trump admini