Hold Scott Pruitt and the EPA Accountable
On December 7, Scott Pruitt appeared before the House for the first time since his confirmation in February. On January 31, he will testify in front of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Under Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA has silenced scientists, rolled back vital projects and regulations, and mischaracterized as “controversial” established scientific consensus on observable, documented phenomena such as climate change .
As science advocates, we must be concerned with Pruitt’s anti-science policies and his alarmingly close ties to industries known for the damage they can cause to the environment. His actions thus far are not only in direct contradiction with the EPA’s stated mission, they demonstrate incredibly ineffective and inefficient leadership and a lack of concern over wasting government time and taxpayer dollars. We must urge the legislators on this Subcommittee to stand up for science-based policy, and hold Pruitt accountable for his efforts to dismantle the EPA.
Why has he limited the role of scientists serving as science advisers to the EPA, instead replacing them with science denialists? Why is he continuing to question the scientific consensus on climate change, ignoring the findings of a recent report from the Trump administration that concluded that humans are the primary drive behind climate change? What are his continued plans to roll back regulations that protect our air and water?
Join us in asking our representatives to hold Pruitt accountable by asking hard questions and demanding real answers. We need him to explain his past actions and find out whether he has any plans to protect our future.
Learn more at marchforscience.com/pruitt
From: [Your Name]
We are writing today to ask you to hold Scott Pruitt publicly accountable during his hearing on January 31. We need answers on the decisions he has made as the administrator of the EPA -- and his plans for the future. The EPA mandate is to safeguard our health and environment. It serves to keep our drinking water safe, shield us from air pollutants, and protect us from dangerous chemicals. Pruitt has repeatedly ignored scientific evidence around these issues and has replaced scientists and academics on the Scientific Advisory Boards with individuals with ties to the industries the EPA is designed to regulate.
We ask that you ask him the below questions and demand that he provide real answers:
(1) The Trump administration released a comprehensive report last month that concluded that human activity as the primary driver of climate change. Have you read the report? Do you still question this consensus, supported by federal agencies and the National Academy of Sciences in a report produced by the administration that appointed you? Why are you wasting taxpayer resources to rehash this “debate," an issue with almost unanimous scientific consensus?
(2) Are you concerned about the potentially major impacts of the staff buyouts on agency functionality, particularly in offices where a large number of staff members have departed (e.g. Regions 3, 7, 5, and 6)? How do you plan to ensure the EPA can continue to do work in critical areas such as enforcement given these large departure numbers? What justifies your efforts to incentivize leaving the agency in this manner?
(3) You have dismissed scientific experts and academics from your Scientific Advisory Board in favor of individuals with industry ties, including those who minimize the health consequences of pollution and secondhand smoke. Are you concerned about the conflict of interest in having, for example, lobbyists from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) serve in positions meant to protect the public from harmful chemicals?
(4) Similarly, are you concerned about the dismissal and blocking of scientific expertise from advising agency decisions? How can the EPA be guided by best-available scientists if some of the country’s most qualified scientists, whose projects have earned EPA funding by merit and potential impact, are banned from giving guidance?
(5) You have moved to rescind Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would have reduced planet-warming carbon emissions and harmful air pollutants from coal plants. Given the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change, what research justifies this action?
(6) EPA employees have reportedly been blocked from communicating their research and/or doing their jobs. What justifies blocking communication of publicly funded scientific research, e.g. canceling EPA presentations at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed Workshop?
On December 7 and January 31, I'll be watching not just for Pruitt's answers but to see who asks the questions that hold him accountable.
Thank you for your time,