On Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. He has a lot to answer for: his wasteful spending of taxpayer funds on private phone booths and raises for his friends; his sweetheart deal on a condo owned by the wife of a lobbyist who had business before the EPA; and his countless other conflicts of interest.
Pruitt is the embodiment of the culture of corruption that is rampant throughout the Trump administration. And while Pruitt must answer for his egregious misdeeds, he also must answer for the assault he’s launched to corrupt our health and safety. On the same day of his hearing, Pruitt is closing the comment period in his effort to repeal the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. It’s clear that Scott Pruitt listens only to corporate polluters, not people whose health is on the line.
People across the country have a message for Scott Pruitt. Here are just some of them:
Pam Freshney, LA
“One of the big reasons that we had such bad flooding in New Orleans during Katrina was because oil companies had put in pipelines to and from the Gulf of Mexico that would go through the swamp towards wherever they wanted to go to. It allowed the water to back up straight into the city a lot faster than anyone anticipated.
When I hosted Katrina refugees, they were mostly worried about surviving. A lot of these people were living in their cars. I work part-time at the library here, and we had a line around the block to use phones. They couldn’t access their bank accounts, couldn’t contact their relatives, couldn’t find their grandmothers, their pets. They were grieving.
These partnerships with Scott Pruitt’s EPA and oil companies…it’s really scary. It frightens me that big businesses and corporations seem to believe that in this Administration, anything goes, and the consequences don’t matter. They all forget the people. That really scares me because we are helpless in the face of that.”
Barry Zuckerman, NY
“My wife, my son, and I all have asthma. Particularly during extreme heat and in thick pollution, our asthma controls what we do and where we go. For me, if there is concentrated fuel in the air, I stop breathing and I start coughing. I’ve gotten stuck behind buses whose engines have not been regulated and the emissions trigger a bronchospasm throughout my lungs.
The clean car standards that exist now help reduce the pollution that harms the millions of Americans with asthma. When you roll back safeguards that protect our air, it literally limits our every movement.
From what I can see, Scott Pruitt is complying with what the fossil fuel companies want him to do, and he has the power to do it. He’s choosing auto industry lobbyists over people like us, who just want to live normally — people like me, my wife, and my son.
Scott Pruitt is unfit to be the Administrator of the EPA, and he should step down immediately.”
Paula Gordon, MT
“When I lived in Atlanta, my doctor told me to start walking every day. I had no allergies, so starting in April, I would get up early to walk. At that time, the weather had started getting hot. By September, I had full blown asthma.
This was in 2000, when George Bush had taken the caps off the fuel emission of trucks, and the two interstates that merged into one, blocks from our home, were parking lots of fuel and diesel. Twice a day. Add to that even more microparticulates the power company pumped out. And the airport. My pulmonologist said he was getting a ton of business because of all the people getting asthma. He was confident the air pollution was directly contributing to it.
Most people don’t understand — when you have asthma, your whole system is under attack. You have to do whatever you can to mitigate it. In addition to health costs, there were big financial ones starting with my asthma drugs. I was not eligible for Medicare, so I was paying a fortune. I had to take steroids for asthma inflammation — and those are never good things to have to put into your body. And of course, all the other ongoing meds that are associated with asthma.
Scott Pruitt is responsible for aggressively anti-environmental regulations. It’s evil and immoral. It’s unjust and we’re all having to pay for it. Add corruption to the costs. These people are corrupt beyond everything I’ve ever seen before. Scott Pruitt himself — and the people he represents — are public health hazards.”
Ginny Dudek, NC
“I feel enraged by what Scott Pruitt is doing. I’ve seen it before.
In the 90s I spoke at an EPA hearing about coal emission and its contribution to mercury pollution in North Carolina. At the time, the coal emissions made mercury fall into the streams and the fish would ingest the mercury.
I remember these three guys in suits kept saying: ‘We just need to tell pregnant women that they can only eat fish once a week’ instead of tightening regulations on coal emissions.
What they didn’t think about were the pregnant women that could only afford to eat fish. I had been in homes where, instead of a washer or dryer, they had a freezer to store all the fish they caught to eat. These people that lived in poverty had fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because it was free. What would those pregnant women eat for the other 20 meals in their week?
Pruitt is just like those three guys in suits. Instead of protecting the environment for Americans, he just expects that they can afford to avoid the consequences of the hazards he creates.”
Hannah Banks, MA
“I grew up in Chicago in the 1960s, not far from the steel mills in Gary, Indiana. Air pollution was a constant fixture in my life — it was orange and it was scary. In the summers, frequent thermal inversions trapped the pollution. It smelled metallic and sulfuric and like rust. It filled your nose and burned your eyes.
I’m afraid of going back to where we were before. I fear that under Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, we will. This is a man who uses his connections to polluting industries for his own personal profit at the expense of the American people. He shows total disregard for his responsibility to protect the environment and the health of our communities. If he refuses to do his job, he should resign.”
It’s Scott Pruitt’s job to listen to people, not polluters. By using his role as EPA Administrator to give himself and his friends perks, he’s putting people like Barry, Pam, Paula, Ginny, Hannah, and millions more like them across the country at risk.
If Pruitt won’t do his job, he should go. Add your name here if you agree.