It's time for the president to dump Scott Pruitt
It seems every day there is another disappointing headline for the beleaguered EPA administrator. There are the chartered airplanes and the unprecedented 24-hour security detail that none of his predecessors required. We’ve read about a secret privacy booth more appropriate for the CIA than the EPA. And then there is the sweetheart condo deal and his abuse of the Safe Drinking Water Act to dole out staggering pay raises to his political allies.
It is time for a reset. I can think of no better gift for the American people than for the president to dump Mr. Pruitt.
While Mr. Pruitt’s venality has dominated the headlines, what’s most disturbing to me and so many others is the cavalcade of bad public policy decisions rolled out on a seemingly weekly base. In his wake, the administrator has done more to damage the economy, our environment, public safety and American global competitiveness than any Trump Cabinet member.
Since taking office, Mr. Pruitt has questioned man-made climate change, scrubbed the EPA website of references to climate change, disputed settled scientific findings, and removed scientific experts from advisory boards, replacing them with industry representatives. He has withdrawn and reversed important environmental protections, including the Clean Power Plan and coal ash disposal requirements. Lest we forget, it was Mr. Pruitt who was the loudest cheerleader for pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. The administrator has even advocated slashing his agency’s budget by a third. All of these decisions jeopardize the American public.
Under the Obama administration, we were making investments in the 21st century clean energy economy and leading the global community in taking historic action on climate change. Mr. Pruitt, however, seems hell-bent on reversing that progress, and would rather pretend climate change doesn’t exist. Knowing he speaks to an audience of one, he has calculated that pushing these backward policies may be enough to protect his job.
America deserves better. The EPA is charged with an important mission: protecting public health and the environment. We need someone at the helm who is committed to that, not someone who is openly at war with it. Naming Pruitt was a mistake in the first place. Mr. President, with new scandals and revelations now daily, do America a favor. Dump Pruitt.
Connolly represents Virginia's 11th District and is the ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on Government Operations.