Durbin to Oppose Nomination of Scott Pruitt to Lead EPA

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that he will oppose the nomination of Scott Pruitt to become the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Halting the catastrophic effects of climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. But instead of debating the best way to do it, President Trump and his EPA nominee want to debate whether or not the science itself is real. In fact, Scott Pruitt has spent much of his career in office working to weaken environmental regulations. I have no confidence in his commitment to the mission of the agency he’s been nominated to run,” Durbin said.
“When asked if there was any safe level of lead that can be taken into the human body, Pruitt said that is something he has not reviewed.  But the answer is simple: no amount of lead is safe for our children.  Right now, we need a strong leader who knows that lead is dangerous and who is committed to removing this hazard from our water and our homes. 

As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt participated in 14 lawsuits against the EPA, including one to block the rule restricting how much mercury can be emitted by coal plants—disputing EPA’s findings that mercury poses public health hazards. Concerns have also been raised about Pruitt’s conflicts of interest with the oil and gas industries. A 2014 New York Times investigation revealed that Pruitt was part of a secretive alliance between state attorneys general and a number of fossil fuel companies, organized to combat Obama Administration regulations.

As he filed lawsuits against the EPA, Pruitt received approximately $350,000 from the fossil fuel industry for his campaigns and raised at least an additional $3.5 million for the Republican Attorneys General Association. Pruitt also refused to commit to recusing himself from the ongoing cases, only stating that he would do so if directed by EPA ethics attorneys.


“The Environmental Protection Agency was created to protect the environment—the thought that its next Administrator might disagree with that is deeply disturbing. I will oppose his confirmation and work to ensure that Congress provides rigorous oversight of the Agency under this Administration,” Durbin said