Scott Pruitt, Trump’s nominee for EPA administrator, had his confirmation hearing yesterday. What follows is a blow-by-blow account of the event.
In the morning, there were reports that people were paid to stand in line to keep protesters out. As the hearing started, Standing Rock protesters were arrested outside the room.
Senator Barrasso, introducing Pruitt, praised his supposed efforts to fight polluters. But the only specific action Barrasso could name was an oil clean-up issue. He didn’t list other environmental protection actions from Pruitt because. Of 700 press releases from Pruitt’s time as Oklahoma attorney general, zero describe actions to protect the environment.
Senator Tom Carper of Delaware gave a quick history lesson about the importance of the EPA. In addition to the sea-level rise already flooding parking lots in Delaware and the lead troubles of Flint, Michigan, Carper focused on cross-state pollution. It was a warning of things to come under Pruitt, whose states-first approach wouldn’t be sufficient to handle interstate pollution.
Sen. Inhofe was next to speak, and Barrasso praised him. With his mild drawl and heavy rasp, Inhofe followed Barrasso’s lead and heaped praise on Pruitt’s deference to polluters. “He’s a hero of the scenic rivers,” Inhofe falsely said before being interrupted by a protester shouting as she was removed. Rebecca Leber of Mother Jones said the protesters were “unlike anything [she] saw at Tillerson’s” hearing.
Inhofe took a moment to attack the Obama administration as radical, despite the fact that at least 60 percent of Americans want to see the EPA’s powers preserved. In the same breath, Inhofe praised the fossil fuel industry as protectors of the environment.
In his opening statement, Pruitt admitted, like other cabinet nominations, that the climate is changing and humans play some role. But, he stopped short of accepting the scientific consensus on its human causes. Instead, he fell back to the now common position that the extent to which we are changing the climate and what should be done about it remain questions for debate.
Senator Carper quoted Donald Trump’s statements about dismantling the EPA. Given Pruitt’s dismantling of the environment unit in the AG office and the lack of answers to questions given in advance of the hearing, Carper justifies the concerns of the protesters faintly heard outside.
On mercury, Carper tries to get a yes-or-no answer as to whether Pruitt’s lawsuits opposing the mercury regulation are based on the belief that mercury is not toxic. Pruitt tried to dodge, but Carper didn’t let him. Pruitt admitted, eventually, that mercury is something the EPA should regulate.
As Inhofe took the floor, scientists declared 2016 the hottest year on record. Inhofe tosses Pruitt a couple of softballs regarding water negotiations Pruitt has led.
Senator Whitehouse’s began: “The oceans off of our state are warming, due to fossil-fuel-driven climate change… I see nothing in your career to suggest you care one bit about” protecting those hurt by warming. He then brought out a poster detailing the industries who have funded Pruitt and his groups. Pruitt wasn’t sure if they maxed out contributions, or even if they’ve contributed at all. Whitehouse educated Pruitt about the hundreds of thousands of dollars the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) received from the fossil fuel industry under Pruitt’s leadership.
Pruitt said he was “unable to confirm” that funding, and refused to directly answer if he solicited money. Pruitt said he didn’t ask money of Koch, Devon or ExxonMobil, at least not “on behalf of RAGA.”
Whitehouse pointed out that Pruitt declared no conflicts of interest, yet has not disclosed any of his solicitations for his “Rule of Law Defense Fund.” Pruitt demurred and passed the buck before defending himself by pointing out that he’s suing ExxonMobil, referring to the double-dipping case, which as Whitehouse pointed out, “has nothing to do with the environment.”
Without directly addressing Pruitt’s conflicts of interest, Barrasso introduced a Wall Street Journal story about Hillary Clinton raising more fossil fuel funds than Trump and a Politico story that quotes someone alleging that Pruitt’s problems are actually a “fishing expedition” led by those with funding from “far left” groups.
Maryland senator Ben Cardin’s brought up the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan. The senator asked Pruitt if he would support the federal role in the plan that he sued to stop. Pruitt talked about legal precedent and process instead of environmental protection. He committed to supporting the policy though, which he praised.
Cardin turned to drinking water. Does Pruitt believe there is any safe level of lead in water, particularly for the young? Pruitt hasn’t “looked at the scientific research”, and would be “concerned” about any level of lead. That the potential head of the EPA doesn’t already know there’s no safe level of lead is one of many concerning issues that came up throughout the day.
Specifically asked about Flint, Pruitt said that more should have been done by the EPA since it was an emergency situation. Cardin pointed out that Pruitt has participated in “several lawsuits” arguing that local agencies should take charge in environmental matters. Pruitt confirms that the EPA has a role to play.
Democrat Jeff Merkley asked about methane regulations. Findings of methane’s warming potential were not well received by the fossil fuel industry, and Merkley referenced Devon’s letter on Pruitt’s letterhead. Merkley asked if Pruitt is aware of methane’s global warming potential. Pruitt says “yes.” Pruitt said he is concerned, though not “highly” concerned.
Pruitt refused to acknowledge that all but 37 of the thousand-some words in the aforementioned letter to the EPA about the methane rule were written by Devon Energy. “Did you copy the letter virtually word for word?” Merkley asked.
“You used your office as a direct extension of a company,” Merkley says. Then he asked, “do you acknowledge you presented a private oil company’s position and not that of the people?”
“I disagree,” Pruitt responded, declaring the industry was his constituency. Merkley hammered him on it. Pruitt retreated to process and cost-benefit analysis. Pruitt claimed to have consulted with other regulators on the issue, Merkley asked for the details to prove it.
“Why do you need an outside oil company to draft a letter for you when you have 250 employees?” Merkley asked as he ran out of time. Barrasso offered some time so Pruitt can answer. Pruitt claimed that the Devon Energy letter wasn’t particular to Devon, but to the industry as a whole.
New Jersey’s Cory Booker noted Pruitt’s record 14 lawsuits against the EPA challenging clean air and clean water rules. Booker rattled off Pruitt’s opposition to various regulations and his record of siding with polluting industries against the EPA.
Booker finally got to his question: “Do you know how many kids in Oklahoma, roughly, have asthma?”
“I do not, senator,” said Pruitt
Booker said more than 111,000 Oklahoma children have asthma, which amounts to more than one in ten kids in the state — one of the highest rates in the country.
“Did you let any of those children write letters on your letterhead?” asked Booker. Pruitt deflected.
Senator Rounds, a Republican from Wyoming, continued the pattern of GOP senators asking Pruitt defend himself. this time in reference to cross-state pollution, which was brought up by Booker. Pruitt believes it’s an important statute the EPA should enforce, a statement belied by his litigation history.
After some softballs from Rounds, Massachusetts senator Edward Markey asked Pruitt if he believes climate change is a hoax, like Trump. Pruitt does not.
With that on the record, Markey moves to the eight ongoing lawsuits Pruitt has against the EPA. Pruitt said he would recuse himself from these issues for one year, as mandated by law. Would he recuse himself his entire tenure as EPA Administrator. Channeling his inner Rick Perry, Pruitt danced around the question. When pressed by Markey, he took the Tillerson route and pointed to the ethical council as the decision maker on the issue.
Markey insisted that Pruitt should unequivocally recuse himself from anything dealing with lawsuits he’s filed. If not, it would be “a fundamental conflict of interest.” Markey added, “It’s not just the fox guarding the henhouse, it’s the fox destroying the henhouse.”
Barrasso then read from a letter from the Office of Government Ethics stating that Pruitt is in compliance with the conflict of interest rules.
Joni Ernst, Republican from Iowa, asked about ethanol. Pruitt responded to a question about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with some language about process, though he ultimately committed to the RFS, sort of.
Ernst then told Pruitt that her constituents feel like the EPA is out to get them, particularly on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. How would he help the EPA regain trust? Pruitt talked about growing the economy, protecting environment, and cooperative federalism.
Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth asked about Pruitt’s siding with fossil fuel companies that “slammed” the RFS. Which position would he actually take: the “nice sounding, but ultimately vague” position he offered to placate Ernst and herself, or the anti-RFS position he took with fossil fuel companies? Pruitt fails to give a satisfactory answer, and Duckworth slams his doublespeak.
Duckworth finished her time nailing Pruitt on the need for biofuels, pointing out that she’s “already been to a war for oil in the Middle East,” so Pruitt’s potential opposition to corn-based fuels troubles her.
Barrasso then introduced into the record a letter from the American Farm Bureau and a former Arkansas attorney general.
Arkansas Republican John Boozman offered up a softball question about about a “cooperative federalism” that would cede EPA authority to the states. How would Pruitt change the EPA-state dynamic? Boozman then accused the EPA of operating on “political ideology” instead of “sound science.”
Pruitt’s response was that there is a reason you study the impact of rules and regulations on “all Americans.” He offered more lip service to process and transparency.
New California senator Kamala Harris asked whether Pruitt has acted independently. She also asked about Pruitt’s batting average on his lawsuits against the EPA. Pruitt guessed his success rate is around .300. Her calculations put it closer to .142.
Does Pruitt have the discretion to recuse himself from cases he’s involved with? Pruitt, after significant badgering, finally admitted he has the discretion, setting up further questions about whether or not he would exercise that discretion if not explicitly instructed to do so.
Harris changed tack to the fuel efficiency standards and California’s authority to do so independently of the EPA. Would he uphold that standard? Pruitt said that he will review it. Harris considered that lack of commitment “unacceptable.”
Harris continued by asking if Pruitt could “name a few instances that you have filed a lawsuit against a corporate entity?” He named one, the poultry farming case. But that was hardly something for him to brag about, considering his predecessor filed the case. When Pruitt came in, he “put on the brakes.”
Barrasso ended Harris’s time, introducing a letter that initially sounded like it is from Mr. Strong, an Oklahoma retiree and vice-chair of the Oklahoma Sierra Club chapter, praising Pruitt. It’s unclear what that letter really was, because the Sierra Club’s Oklahoma chapter president very clearly opposes Pruitt.
Alaska’s Dan Sullivan asked yet another question about regaining trust in the EPA and “cooperative federalism.” Pruitt explained the separation of powers.
Then Sullivan really turned up the heat with a hard-hitting pair of questions: “Do you care about Oklahoma’s children?” and “Do you care about the environment?” Pruitt said “of course” to the first and repeated the process language for the second. Sullivan defended the oil industry, citing the American Petroleum Institute’s job figures for Oklahoma. About the gas station attendants and oil drillers, Sullivan asks “Are these people bad actors?… Are they evil people?”
New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand asked if Pruitt believes sea levels are rising. Pruitt acknowledges that the EPA has obligations to address the CO2 issue, but it has to follow the process. Gillibrand goes back to the details of sea-level rise, “because lives are at stake.” Turning to his record of lawsuits defending businesses and not protecting people, she asks about mercury.
What does Pruitt think should be done? He reaffirmed that the EPA should regulate CO2, but it should follow the “cost-benefit obligations.” Process is Pruitt’s go-to answer for dodging questions about human health.
After Pruitt’s weaving, Senator Carper introduces into the record the fact that the only example Pruitt could give of defending the public against polluters — his egg case — was initiated by his predecessor.
Barrasso responded by citing the Cornwall Alliance, a climate change denying group that uses Christianity as a front to advance its pro-polluter agenda.
Then Mississippi’s Senator Roger Wicker reiterates the previously mentioned Wall Street Journal story about Clinton raising more oil and gas money than Trump. False equivalences make for convenient distractions.
Next up was Senator Sanders, whose office has received “a great deal” of concerned comments about Pruitt’s nomination. Sanders asked Pruitt about the 97 percent scientific consensus that climate change is real, man-made and already causing devastating problems. Does Pruitt “believe climate change is caused by carbon emissions, by human activity?”
Yes, Pruitt believes climate is changing and humans are contributing “in some manner.”
Sanders pressed that the consensus is that humans are the fundamental reason. Pruitt responded that he’s still uncertain about the “precision” with which we can measure things, and dodges direct questions about why the climate is changing. Pruitt responded with process about the EPA administrator being beholden to Congressional intent. Pruitt says that his views are immaterial. Sanders scoffs, asking “do you believe we have to transform our energy?” Pruitt says that “the administrator has an important role” in regulating CO2.
Sanders also talked about Oklahoma’s frack-quakes. “Can you point me to any opinion that you wrote, any enforcement action you took against the companies injecting waste fracking water?” Pruitt said he’s “very concerned” about it, and Sanders interrupted to ask what public statements Pruitt has made about it. Pruitt acknowledged his concern, but he clearly did not make any declarative statement that would alleviate Sander’s concerns.
Sanders finished his time saying, “If that’s the kind of EPA administrator you’re going to be, you won’t get my vote.”
Inhofe then introduced the debunked Wall Street Journal op-ed, “The Myth of the 98 Percent” followed by Barrasso introducing Jeb Bush’s CNN op-ed praising Pruitt and Barrasso’s own report, “Red Tape Making Americans Sick,” about the health impacts of unemployment.
Later, Barrasso asked if there was anything Pruitt would like to clarify. Pruitt circled back to the “double-dipping” issue, pointing out that he’s brought cases against two other oil companies as well. But this is an administrative issue, not environmental one. Barrasso asked about environmental litigation Pruitt brought. Pruitt insisted that he brought the case, and mentions some other work they have done, but no specifics.
Barrasso continued by attacking form EPA administrator Lisa Jackson’s pseudonymous email account. Will Pruitt commit to not taking such actions? Yes, Pruitt answered, because transparency is important.
Senator Tom Carper brought up mercury emissions from fossil fuel power plants, and the fish warnings that result. If Pruitt believes the EPA shouldn’t move forward on MATS, what should states do and what are the health impacts of mercury emissions?
Pruitt claimed he hasn’t stated that the EPA shouldn’t regulate mercury. The table of contents of the suit determines that to be false.
Carper talked about the money to be made in clean energy, and Pruitt mentioned Oklahoma’s wind power and the utility questions that come before him. Unmentioned is his siding with coal over clean energy.
In her second round of questioning, West Virginia senator Shelley Moore Capito pointed out the coal miners who had been invited, helmets and all. (They appeared to be outnumbered by Mom’s Clean Air Force t-shirts.) Eventually she returned to Pruitt’s EPA antagonism, asking him to explain the suits, specifically the process questions.
Pruitt offered the same jargon he had been using all day to excuse his polluter protection efforts.
Senator Whitehouse then asked about potential conflicts of interest, and the “dark money operation that supports the Republican Attorney General Association… If you had raised a significant amount of money for the Rule of Law fund…might that place you in a conflict of interest?”
Pruitt shifted responsibility to the EPA’s ethics office. Whitehouse pressed that he’s asking for Pruitt’s opinion, noting that the EPA rules predate Citizens United. “Might it be a conflict of interest, in your definition of the term,” if Pruitt had raised money from companies that might be regulated by the EPA?
Pruitt said he wasn’t in charge and again deferred to the EPA’s ethics office. Whitehouse was having none of it, bringing the question to see if Pruitt would acknowledge the appearance of conflict of interest.
Pruitt stonewalled. Whitehouse looked agitated. This went back and forth for a painful length of time, running out Whitehouse’s time with no resolution.
Barrasso entered into the record the AP story of the EPA’s ethics office clearing Pruitt — the same clearance Whitehouse explained was not sufficient to address the “dark money” at issue here.
Senator John Boozman then accused “the other side” of raising millions in dark money before asking about “over-regulation.” No doubt Pruitt was relieved for this chance to catch his breath, wipe his brow and recite what was probably a scripted answer.
Senator Merkley began his second round of questioning by asking Pruitt to identify an asthma inhaler. This was the basis for his question about the EPA’s ozone regulations — ozone triggers asthma attacks —Pruitt challenged. “Was the basis for your challenge cost-benefit analysis?” It was not, Pruitt replied. So what was? In a muddled response, Pruitt gave more vague answers regarding the attainability standard.
Merkley listed off the hundreds of thousands of children who would be saved from asthma attacks and deaths, according to estimates, by this regulation. Merkley hammered Pruitt for fighting “so hard for the oil industry, and not on behalf of the people of Oklahoma.” Pruitt’s answer may be in conflict with SCOTUS rulings.
The senator from Oregon disagreed: “none of the standards are attained when they’re set. That’s the point.” Merkley finished strong: “Valuing the profits over people is a character question.”
As Merkley’s time ended, Barrasso submitted a report from the fossil fuel funded Black Chamber of Commerce about the job losses associated from EPA regulations.
Senator Fischer of Nebraska asked what Pruitt would do to make sure the “EPA sticks to its core mission” and protect those who have been “subject to bullying” by the EPA.
Senator Cardin asked about WOTUS rules and how Pruitt defines “navigable waters,” which determines the EPA’s jurisdiction. Pruitt didn’t answer, pushing the question to Congress. Cardin explained this is the real problem, since Congress had not decided on a definition, asking, “What did the [Obama] administration do wrong?”
Pruitt’s answer was unclear, and Cardin attempted to get more specificity. Pruitt punted, at least three times in a row, before Cardin moved on to fracking.
What should the federal role be, versus the states? Pruitt’s response was that it’s not a new process and Oklahoma has been regulating it for many years. Specifically on earthquakes, Pruitt “shares” the concerns of the Oklahoma officials in charge of overseeing the issue.
Inhofe then explained PACs and defended Pruitt’s fossil fuel funding. Inhofe put Tom Steyer’s funding promises into the record in a bald attempt to distract from the conflict of interest questions at play with Pruitt. Carper pointed out that since those donations were disclosed, they are not dark money at all. Inhofe ceded that point, chuckling.
Then, Inhofe brought up Climategate. He alleged that it’s a “lie about what causes global warming.” Inhofe quoted an unnamed scientist and other coverage about the fraud. He wanted that to be part of the record. He did not mention that scientists had been exonerated.
Inhofe’s eventual question was about fuel standards, which Pruitt assured Inhofe he’ll review.
Cory Booker then brought up the Illinois River issue and the poultry case with Arkansas. Booker “really dug into this” and went deep into the details. Booker laid out the history of the case, eventually getting to the point: Pruitt let polluters off the hook for another three years, instead of enforcing compliance.
Barrasso, predictably at this point, introduced an op-ed supporting Pruitt.
Senator Markey returned the so-called endangerment finding that “carbon pollution poses a danger to America.” Would Pruitt keep that finding on the books?
Pruitt answered that the finding is “the law of the land” and as the EPA administrator he would uphold it. He said there’s nothing he is aware of that would cause him to revisit that finding — an important reassurance.
After talking about fuel standards, Markey asked Pruitt to support the right of states to do more to fight climate change than the federal government, turning Pruitt’s states’ rights position on its head. Pruitt dipped into legalese, stumbling over the word “adjudicated” as he refused to make any concrete statement.
Markey artfully called out Pruitt’s hypocrisy that states like Oklahoma should have the right to resist protecting the environment, but Massachusetts’ right to set more stringent policies needs “review.”
In response to that damaging line of questioning, Barrasso introduced another document about the negative effects of regulations on job growth.
Senator Ernst of Iowa then brought up a map of the state of Iowa, showing that, using the expanded definition of the WOTUS rule, 97 percent of Iowa would be counted as a Water of the United States. After Ernst misrepresented the rule, Pruitt indicated that he would do something about it.
Duckworth asked a yes or no question about the RFS, to which Pruitt did not give a yes or no answer. Instead he balked, noting the comment period is being open. Duckworth’s question, Pruitt contends, can only be answered once Pruitt is confirmed and has reviewed comments. For some reason, this line of reasoning doesn’t apply to the WOTUS rule.
Duckworth was still “very concerned,” but she moved on to safe drinking water, specifically in Flint Michigan. Duckworth says she was “flabbergasted” that Pruitt didn’t know about safe levels of lead in drinking water. “You’re seeking to be the EPA administrator, and you haven’t looked into the issue of lead in our water supply?” She seemed incredulous and offended, asking “Have you even studied the Flint water crisis in preparing for this hearing?”
Pruitt again blamed the EPA for what happened in Flint.
Barrasso entered into the record more praise for Pruitt.
Barrasso asked about reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act. Pruitt assured Barrasso that, as administrator, he would make it a priority. Barrasso then turned to the EPA’s handling of a gold mine spill. Will Pruitt review the issue to help those that have been harmed? Yes, Pruitt replies.
Carper noted that while Pruitt’s been was suing the EPA over ozone standards, 17 counties in Oklahoma failed clean air tests. What did Pruitt do about it? Pruitt did not provide a clear answer, indicating that he’s done nothing.
Senator Whitehouse noted that regulations should also count benefits, not just costs. For once, Whitehouse and Pruitt agreed on something. Then Whitehouse gets back to business — Pruitt’s lack of transparency regarding fundraising for the Rule of Law Defense Fund, RAGA and the rest.
Whitehouse pointed out that a RAGA agenda lists private meetings with Murray Energy and Southern Company, both funders of Pruitt affiliates. The conflict of interest run around began again, with Whitehouse unsuccessfully trying to get Pruitt to acknowledge even a hypothetical possibility for the appearance of impropriety.
Then Whitehouse hit Pruitt for slow-walking FOIA requests for emails between his office and the companies that fund his groups. After more than 740 days, Pruitt’s office has yet to comply. Pruitt blamed the compliance officers, passing the buck yet again.
Are these 3,000 emails perhaps relevant to this hearing, Whitehouse asked? Pruitt’s answer was, yet again, that he will defer to the EPA ethics council. Whitehouse finished his time by pointing out that, since he hasn’t disclosed this info to the ethics council, they can’t rule on it.
Barrasso entered into the record support for Pruitt from Oklahoma lawmakers, and a complaint about the egg case showing Pruitt to be the one who filed.
Capito’s asked about states’ rights in the case when a state isn’t doing enough to protect its people. Pruitt agreed that the EPA has a duty to step in.
Senator Merkley resumed by commenting on Inhofe’s submission of “Climategate,” introducing a Union of Concerned Scientists debunking of Inhofe’s favorite myth. Merkley then noted that the National Black Chamber of Commerce is funded by the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil, and that the NAACP actually endorses the Clean Power Plan. Merkley then submitted documents showing Native Americans and Latinos are very concerned about Pruitt’s nomination.
Pruitt acknowledged that the endangerment finding and Mass v. EPA would compel him to act. But, asked Merkley, does Pruitt actually accept this or will he only do the legally obligated minimum? Pruitt’s response failed to alleviate Merkley’s concerns.
Senator Mike Rounds from South Dakota asked how Pruitt would make agency transparency and record-keeping better. Pruitt indicated that he would do better, but he doesn’t say how. Rounds asked about the role of the administrator.
Senator Booker then attempted to clarify the Illinois River issue, with a poster-sized blow-up of the agreement between Arkansas and Oklahoma. To Booker, it looked like Pruitt suspended a binding rule of law for three years to allow for more pollution. Pruitt countered that he was concerned that Arkansas wasn’t going to live up to that standard, to which Booker responded that “literally six days after your so-called historic agreement,” the chicken producer Tyson wrote to the EPA that it was “delighted” that Pruitt suspended implementation of the regulation. Booker drove home the point that Pruitt’s win probably wasn’t a win for people or planet because, he said, “Industry is really happy about this.”
After Pruitt attempted to defend himself, Booker remained unmoved in his opinion that Pruitt represents polluters not people.
Markey later presented a bottle of Trump water and asked Pruitt to confirm that he will act to protect clean water supplies, particularly for low-income communities. Pruitt committed to that, and to making minority communities a priority.
Senator Sullivan’s final question dealt with infrastructure, and Pruitt agreed that water infrastructure would be a priority.
Senator Whitehouse used his final question period to ask about Pruitt’s “@me.com” email address, in addition to his “oag.ok.gov” address — possibly setting up a FOIA request.
Later, Whitehouse looked at the list of Pruitt’s cases, none of which were brought by Pruitt on behalf of the environment. Pruitt tried to pass the buck, suggesting underling was responsible for environmental action. But Whitehouse, a former attorney general, had none of it.
Senator Booker remained fixated on the Illinois River case involving poultry producers. Booker mapped out how Pruitt stopped the standard, disbanded the Oklahoma attorney general’s environmental unit, and supported a “Right to Farm” law that weakened local laws to regulate farming, leaving Booker “worrying about which side [Pruitt is] on.”
Carper then pointed out that Pruitt hasn’t yet answered the questionnaire that Carper sent him. Pruitt’s response was that the chairman told him not to answer. Carper moved on to ask if Pruitt would commit to regulating mercury under section 112 of the Clean Air Act. Pruitt agreed it’s something the EPA should regulate.
For his last question, Carper pulled out a big chart of cross-state pollution. Given Pruitt’s states-first approach, how does he see the role of the EPA? Pruitt affirmed that the EPA should deal with interstate pollution.
Finally, the hearing came to an end. What have we learned? Mostly that Pruitt has taken a lot of steps to protect polluters from regulation, and basically none to protect people from pollution.
After six and a half hours of questions, did Pruitt move any Democratic votes in his favor? Probably not. Will that mean he won’t be the next EPA administrator? We’ll see.
As Pruitt was leaving, it sounded like he was approached by a woman who spoke about the hearing being draining. She said that in her time in the ER caring for a child clinging to life during an asthma attack, she’s never been out in less than six hours.
Phil Newell writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture.