WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after the Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
“I asked Mr. Pruitt why he would use his office to oppose restrictions on dangerous methane pollution leaking from oil and gas wells, rather than working to protect his constituents from that pollution. He had no good answer.
“I asked Mr. Pruitt why he would use his office to try to block air quality action that would generate nearly six billion dollars in health benefits, prevent 230,000 asthma attacks among children, and help improve the lives of millions of Americans struggling with asthma and poor air quality. He had no good answer.
“I asked Mr. Pruitt why he would use his office to question the reality of climate change when we can already see the damage that is being done on-the-ground in places like Oregon, where our farming, fishing and forestry industries are being hit hard. Again, he had no good answer.
“The job of the EPA Administrator is to protect the public health and the public interest, not to stand up for fossil fuel profits. We must not allow the Environmental Protection Agency to be changed into the Polluter Protection Agency. For anyone who had questions about Mr. Pruitt’s priorities for this office prior to today’s hearing, Mr. Pruitt’s answers today did nothing to help resolve those profound concerns.”