Posts Tagged ‘Scott Pruitt’

Kathy Castor one of six Democrats calling on EPA IG to probe potential conflicts of interest with Scott Pruitt

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Tampa Representative Kathy Castor is one of six Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who reached out to the EPA inspector general earlier this week, calling on him to investigate the agency’s conflict of interest policies and procedures in the wake of reports of a close relationship between industry groups and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
The letter to Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr comes in response to Pruitt’s rejection of scientific evidence that human activity is a significant contributor to global warming, as well as reports that he coordinated closely with the oil and gas industry while serving as attorney general of Oklahoma, and the fact that he has sued the government because of environmental rules in the past.
“It is critical that EPA and all federal agencies maintain effective conflict of interest policies and ethics requirements in order to ensure government operates in an honest and transparent manner,” the letter said. “Your investigation will help us better understand the role your office will play in ensuring strict adherence to such rules and guidelines, and how EPA and its new management will address these concerns.”
In addition to Castor, the letter was signed by New Jersey’s Frank Pallone, the ranking member of House Energy and Commerce Committee; Illinois’ Bobby Rush, the energy subcommittee ranking member; New York’s Paul Tonko, the environment subcommittee ranking member; Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Diana DeGette of Colorado and Maryland Representative John Sarbanes. 
As part of the investigation, the Democrats say that they want the answers to these questions:
What conflict of interest policies, procedures, and laws exist to ensure Pruitt and all other current political appointees do not have conflicts of interest with their positions at EPA or with EPA enforcement actions?
Do these policies specifically consider whether Pruitt or other political appointees or their spouses maintain any financial holdings (including but not limited to stock holdings or mutual

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Bill Nelson to vote against Scott Pruitt’s nomination for EPA Secretary

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Citing his close ties to the oil industry, Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said Thursday that he will be voting against Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
“It’s been well documented that the president’s pick is a friend of the oil industry,” Nelson said on the floor of the Senate. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but this is an industry that has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions to Mr. Pruitt and the PACs supporting him over the years.
Pruitt has received more than $200,000 in individual and PAC money from energy industry companies and employees since 2010.
As Oklahoma Attorney General, he went to court to fight more the 14 times, including President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. And according to a letter from more than 400 former EPA workers last week, issued more than 50 press releases celebrating lawsuits to overturn EPA standards to limit mercury emissions from power plants, reduce smog and haze, clean up the Chesapeake Bay and control greenhouse gases.
In his confirmation hearing, Pruitt notably said that he did not believe that climate change was a hoax. But Nelson says he also said that his views on climate change are immaterial to the job of the EPA administrator. Not so, said the senator.
“I can’t think of a more relevant issue for our EPA administrator to be concerned because Florida is ground zero when it comes to the effects of sea-level rise,” Nelson said, adding that “it’s critical that we have an EPA administrator that understands there are things that are happening because of climate change. It’s not immaterial to the job of the EPA administrator. It’s very relevant.”
On Wednesday, Maine’s Susan Collins became the first Republican Senator to announce her opposition to Pruitt’s nomination.
A final vote is expected before Friday evening.
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The post Bill

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Environment Florida wants Bill Nelson to reject Scott Pruitt as EPA head

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Scott Pruitt is one step closer to being the next leader of the Environmental Protection Agency.
On Thursday, Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 11-0 to confirm Pruitt, who serves as Oklahoma Attorney General.
Democrats on the committee boycotted the vote.
Pruitt, a climate change skeptic, was one of 14 attorneys general suing the EPA over regulations to limit carbon emissions put in place by the Obama administration.
The entire Senate will vote on his confirmation next week and the advocacy group Environment Florida is calling on the Sunshine State’s two senators to reject his nomination.
“This country needs an Environmental Protection Agency Administrator whose top priority is protecting our air and water and our families’ health,” says Turner Lott, Environment Florida’s campaign organizer. “We need somebody willing to enforce and defend our bedrock environmental laws and a leader guided by science when creating and implementing policy.”
The organization is one of several environmental groups criticizing Trump’s choice at EPA.
While Environment Florida is calling on both senators to oppose Pruitt, Marco Rubio already declared his support.
“The next EPA administrator should be someone who understands the important balance between protecting our air, water and environment without needlessly hurting workers with excessive regulations,” Rubio said in a Jan. 10 statement. “Attorney General Pruitt ‎is the right choice to bring a much-needed dose of common sense to a department where overzealous, out-of-touch regulators have been allowed to operate seemingly unchecked. I look forward to working with him on the many important environmental issues facing Florida.”
Florida’s senior Senator, Bill Nelson, is getting lobbied from both sides to either support or oppose Pruitt. The Florida Democrat pleased liberals Wednesday by announcing his opposition to Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.
“I will be joining my Republican colleagues Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski in voting ‘no’ against Betsy DeVos,” Nelson declared in a statement.
“Floridians and all Americans deserve an EPA administrator who will fight to protect the

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GOP pushes 2 top Cabinet picks through to full Senate

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Republicans jammed two of President Donald Trump‘s top Cabinet picks through the Senate Finance Committee with no Democrats in the room Wednesday after suspending a rule that would have otherwise barred them from taking the vote. The tactic seemed a warning shot that they might deploy brute political muscle in the upcoming fight over the Supreme Court vacancy.
With a near-toxic vapor of divisiveness between the two parties across Capitol Hill, nasty showdowns broke out elsewhere as well. One Senate panel signed off on Trump’s choice for attorney general only after senators exchanged heated words, and another committee postponed a vote on the would-be chief of the Environmental Protection Agency after Democrats refused to show up.
Busting through a Democratic boycott of the Finance panel, all 14 Republicans took advantage of Democrats’ absence to temporarily disable a committee rule requiring at least one Democrat to be present for votes.
They then used two 14-0 roll calls to approve financier Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary and Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to be health secretary, ignoring Democrats’ demands that the two nominees provide more information about their financial backgrounds.
All the nominations will need full Senate approval.
Underscoring Congress’ foul mood, Finance panel Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Democrats should be “ashamed” for staying away from his committee’s meeting.
“I don’t feel a bit sorry for them,” he told reporters, adding later, “I don’t care what they want at this point.”
Trump won one major victory, as the Senate confirmed Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state. The mostly party-line 56-43 vote came with Democrats critical of Tillerson’s close ties to Russia as former Exxon Mobil CEO.
But the prospects that GOP donor Betsy DeVos would win approval as education secretary were jarred when two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, said they opposed her. Both

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Week 1: Cabinet picks contradict Donald Trump stands on some issues

Friday, January 13th, 2017

The lack of fireworks surrounding Senate consideration of President-elect Donald Trump‘s Cabinet picks may reflect a slew of statements his choices have made contradicting the billionaire businessman’s position on key issues.
Trump acknowledged the differences early Friday, posting a message on his Twitter account saying: “All my Cabinet nominee are looking good and doing a great job. I want them to be themselves and express their own thoughts, not mine!”
This week’s confirmation hearings produced an odd political chemistry where, for instance, one of the harshest examinations of a Trump Cabinet choice came from one of Trump’s fellow Republicans, presidential campaign rival Sen. Marco Rubio.
Despite Democrats’ dismay over some of Trump’s selections, the hearings were relatively tranquil, with Democrats generally restrained even in quizzing the more contentious picks. The reason, according to a few Democrats: The nominees are proving more palatable than Trump himself.
“As I meet members of the Cabinet I’m puzzled because many of them sound reasonable,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. “Far more reasonable than their president.”
That could change in weeks to come, because some of the most potentially explosive hearings are still pending, including the scrutiny of former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin for Treasury secretary.
Several of Trump’s Cabinet selections this week made statements this week contradicting policy stances espoused by their soon-to-be boss on issues ranging from Russia and NATO to climate change and Muslims.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, picked for attorney general, said he’s against any outright ban on immigration by Muslims, in contrast to Trump’s onetime call to suspend admittance of Muslims until U.S. officials could learn more about nature of the threat of extremism.
His secretary of state candidate, Rex Tillerson, took a relatively hard line on Washington’s dealings with Russia, even though Trump has been talking about improving relations between Washington

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Mitch Perry Report for 12.8.16 – Al Gore gets punk’d

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

For the #NeverTrumper Republicans out there, this Trump presidency might work out pretty well, after all.
Jeb Bush was seen doing cartwheels after Trump selected Betty DeVos to become his Secretary of Education.
“I’m so excited,” Bush said last week at the National Summit on Education Reform, sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which Bush founded and chairs and on which DeVos serves as a board member.
“President-elect Trump made an extraordinary choice with Betsy DeVos,” he added.
Similar hosannas are being thrown out today from the business community and Jim Inhofe’s of the world regarding The Donald’s choice of noted climate change denialist Scott Pruitt to serve as his EPA secretary.
Pruitt, the Attorney General of Oklahoma, wrote in National Review in May that “the debate is far from settled” over whether human activity has contributed to the warming of the earth.

I’m wondering how Al Gore is feeling today about that?
On Monday, the former Vice President traveled to Trump Tower to discuss climate change with Ivanka Trump, but instead got face time with the soon to be most powerful man in the world.
“I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect,” he told reporters afterward, describing the meeting as “a sincere search for areas of common ground.
“I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued. And I’m just going to leave it at that,” he added.
He didn’t quite leave it at that, going on MSNBC later today that Ivanka “is very committed to having a climate policy that makes sense for our country and for our world, and that was certainly evident in the conversation that I had with her.”
There have been other clues that Trump’s team will lean closer towards Pruitt’s view of the world that Ivanka’s.
The head of his EPA transition team is Myron Ebell, who has never believed in the idea of global warming.
Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders are talking tough about Pruitt when it comes to his confirmation

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