WASHINGTON, April 18, 2018 – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) led a group of 170 members of Congress in introducing companion resolutions in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives formally calling on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to resign. The resolution comes in response to Pruitt’s repeated ethics violations, misuse of taxpayer dollars, and actions that fundamentally undermine the mission of the EPA – favoring big polluters at the expense of science, our environment, and the health of children and families.
A total of 39 senators and 131 representatives joined Udall and Castor in introducing the resolution seeking Pruitt’s ouster. The 39 cosponsoring senators represent the highest number of senators in U.S. history to sign on to a resolution formally calling for a cabinet official’s resignation. The full text of the resolution can be found HERE. The full list of Senate cosponsors can be found HERE and the full list of House cosponsors can be found HERE.
“This historic resolution sends an unequivocal message to the administration: the American public has lost faith in Scott Pruitt, and it’s time for him to go,” Udall said. “During his time in office, Pruitt has waged all-out war on the bedrock protections that keep our air and water clean, prevent toxic chemicals from contaminating our communities, and safeguard the health of our kids and families. He has done lasting damage to public health and safety – gutting the EPA’s core mission – all to benefit his campaign donors and grease the wheels for his big polluter friends. And at the same time, Pruitt has completely violated the trust of the American people and the standards of his office, with a list of ethical transgressions that grows longer by the day. Pruitt is administrator of the EPA, but he’s behaving like the emperor of the swamp. His imperial tenure needs to end.”
“There is a slime problem at the EPA – and it is coming from the administrator’s office,” Castor said. “Scott Pruitt’s wasteful spending and conflicts of interest are serious, and his assault on clean water and air pose dangerous risks to the health of children, families and communities across America. Pruitt sides with special interests and political donors over the public interest. Pruitt’s numerous and costly ethical violations, and his failure to protect the public health and the environment demands action by the Congress now. We have no confidence in Administrator Pruitt and he should resign now. Administrator Pruitt, who is already subject to five investigations, has been using his publicly funded security detail on non-official businesses, including trips to Disneyland, Paris, Rome and the Rose Bowl. All the while, his lavish travel expenses and misuse of taxpayer money go unaccounted for — the damage that has been done to our economic and environmental health has proven to be too costly. I see the damage from the Pruitt EPA in Florida where our economy is tied to healthy and clean environment: According to a recent report by Environment Florida, industrial facilities have dumped excessive pollution into Florida waterways so many times that Florida is now in the top 10 states with the most exceedances reported by major industrial facilities because far too often these polluters faced no fines or penalties.”
“I voted ‘no’ on the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency because he shouldn’t have been near the EPA in the first place,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). “He has proved this while in office by violating the public trust and implementing a disastrous environmental policy designed to benefit polluters. The EPA should be led by a public servant who will uphold and carryout the mission of the agency to protect human health and the environment. The President should do the right thing and fire him, but since he refuses, it’s time for Administrator Pruitt to resign immediately.”
“Administrator Pruitt’s repeated ethical lapses follow a troubling pattern of secrecy, conflicts of interest and wasting taxpayer dollars to enrich himself,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr, (D-N.J.). “In any normal administration this legislation would not be necessary – Administrator Pruitt would have been long gone by now. Unfortunately, President Trump and Congressional Republicans refuse to act. It’s time to finally hold Administrator Pruitt accountable for his actions.”
“During his confirmation process 15 months ago, I warned my colleagues about Mr. Pruitt’s ‘unacceptably casual approach to meeting obligations as a public servant.’ Unfortunately, that warning fell on too many deaf ears in the Senate,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.). “I have believed that Scott Pruitt was unfit to serve as EPA Administrator since he was nominated. Over the last year, though, he has managed to be even worse than I expected, with regard to his harmful policy, his ethical failings, his wasteful spending and his lack of accountability to the public that he is supposed to serve. While it is astonishing that an individual chosen to serve the American people would use such poor judgement so consistently, the fact that Scott Pruitt is doing so should not be at all surprising. Mr. Pruitt’s ethically questionable and anti-environment record was clear from the day President Trump sent his name to the Senate. He was the wrong choice last year, and he has absolutely no business running this agency today.”
“Scott Pruitt has repeatedly abused his position to indulge in office perks, first-class flights, excessive security details, plush car upgrades and huge raises for his closest friends, all wasteful and unnecessary costs forced onto the American taxpayer,” said Representative Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.). “At the same time, his main agenda at the agency seems to be shredding protections for our air and water and undermining the role of science in policymaking. He has violated the laws and ethical standards of our government and failed as both a steward of American taxpayer dollars and our environment. Scott Pruitt has shattered the public trust. It is time for him to resign.”
“Believing in climate change should be a requirement for an EPA Administrator,” said Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). “Not only does Administrator Pruitt fail on this front, but he’s also proven that he cannot be trusted with taxpayer dollars. Coloradans, and all Americans, deserve more from a leader. It’s time for Administrator Pruitt to resign.”
The resolution follows numerous revelations about Pruitt’s ethical violations, widespread conflicts of interest, and repeated misuse of taxpayer dollars for his personal benefit, including:
– The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office determined that the EPA violated federal law by purchasing a $43,000 phone booth for Pruitt’s office – and then hiding that purchase from Congress.
– Pruitt entered into a sweetheart housing deal to rent a Capitol Hill condo from the wife of a lobbyist – paying just $50 a night, and only paying for the nights he slept there.
– Pruitt has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for luxury travel perks, including booking lavish first class and charter flights to Europe and elsewhere, staying in luxury hotels, and traveling with a huge entourage of staff and security.
– Pruitt has reportedly reassigned or demoted EPA staffers who questioned his spending habits – at the same time that the EPA Inspector General is investigating him for giving unusual pay raises to favored aides.
– Pruitt has deployed EPA enforcement officers to provide round-the-clock security with questionable justification.
As the lawmakers noted in the resolution, in addition to flouting the ethical standards of his office, Pruitt has done untold damage to the EPA and carried out a long list of actions to benefit his polluter friends – at the expense of the health, safety, and livelihood of American families, including:
– Under Pruitt, the EPA is hemorrhaging staff and experts needed to protect the health and safety of the environment and the American people.
– Pruitt has repeatedly overridden the recommendations of EPA scientists in order to provide relief to industry, like when he reversed the recommendation of his agency’s scientists to ban the use of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to brain damage in children.
– Pruitt has delayed the effective date of regulations, eased enforcement of existing regulations, and delayed the implementation of new regulations that are essential to protect public health and combat pollution.
– Pruitt has failed to exercise the enforcement authorities and duties of the EPA, which are needed to investigate and deter pollution violations.
– Pruitt has undermined the science at every turn, purging advisory committees of independent scientists and replacing them with mouthpieces for industry.