EPA Staff Try To Derail Confirmation Of Climate Denier Scott Pruitt


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Pruitt at an earlier confirmation hearing in January of this year. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Just in case you hadn’t heard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been silenced by the Trump administration. It’s also being threatened with massive funding cuts and, thanks to some Congressional Republicans, its complete destruction.

All the while, throughout this mess, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is coasting towards his confirmation as the EPA’s head. Remember, this man is a climate change denier who has spent much of his career helping states and fossil fuel conglomerates sue the EPA for trying to cut America’s carbon footprint and keep its air and waterways clean.


Make no mistake, this is a profound shitshow that gets worse by the day.

Pruitt is set for his final confirmation hearing today, Friday 17, in the Senate. Rather bizarrely, it looks like two Democratic senators are going to vote in favor of his confirmation, with one Republican voting against it. This means that his nomination will pass, although just barely.

In one last desperate attempt to fight against this, employees of the EPA are phoning and emailing their senators, pleading with them to vote down Pruitt at the hearing. As reported by the New York Times, the idea of an administration that wants to neuter and destroy their work actually succeeding is the epitome of terror.


“Mr. Pruitt’s background speaks for itself, and it comes on top of what the president wants to do to EPA,” said biochemist John O’Grady, a member of the agency since the Bush Sr. administration and president of the union representing the many tens of thousands of EPA scientists and experts up and down the country.


Pruitt, if his confirmation is successful, will not be able to immediately seek revenge on these particular EPA employees trying to stop his ascension thanks to rigorous Civil Service laws. However, the mere idea that the proverbial lunatic will be put in charge of the asylum, so to speak, is threatening enough as it is.

In another stunning development, a state judge has ruled that the controversial attorney general must release thousands of documents and emails sent back and forth between himself and fossil fuel companies he worked with. The implication is that Pruitt was never exactly transparent nor objective in his earlier skirmishes with the EPA.

This, of course, should come as no surprise to anyone who’s looked at the 24 non-profit groups that are currently defending Pruitt’s nomination as EPA chief – all of them are climate change denying organizations, and almost all of them are funded by the Koch brothers, two of the wealthiest fossil fuel magnates in the world.

All things considered, Pruitt will likely be confirmed this week. If you’d like to make your voice heard, though, join the upcoming March for Science or phone your senator.


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