Merkley Slams GOP Vote to Rush Through Pruitt Before Emails Exposing Ties to Oil and Gas Industry Are Released

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after Senate Republicans pushed through the confirmation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt by a narrow margin. The vote came just days before thousands of emails containing Pruitt’s correspondence with the fossil fuel industry will be released next Tuesday per a judge’s order.

Earlier today, Merkley forced a Senate vote on delaying the final decision on the confirmation until after the emails were released, but Republicans voted the motion down.

“What happened today was an egregious cover up, and a total abdication of the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to vet nominees before voting.

“As Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt has protected polluters over the public at every step of the way. He has opposed clean air and clean water standards again and again, even when our children’s health is at stake. And he has worked hand-in-glove with the fossil fuel industry—even copying and pasting their own words—to undermine responsible efforts to take on the climate change that is already wreaking havoc on communities in Oregon and across the country.

“It was wrong to hold this vote today, before Senators and the American people have had the chance to see the full truth about Scott Pruitt. This is a terrible blow against transparency and against the responsible execution of the Senate’s advice and consent duty under our Constitution. And a lot is at stake – the proper protection of our water and air by the EPA. Today is a dark day for our country and for our planet.”