Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, D-Delaware, joined 168 members of Congress, led by Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, and Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Florida, in introducing companion resolutions in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives formally calling on Environmental Protection Agency 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 polluters at the expense of science, the 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 text of the resolution can be found at bit.ly/2J7fWLS. The list of Senate co-sponsors can be found at bit.ly/2K0t1rE, and the list of House co-sponsors can be found at bit.ly/2vw73t8.
“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 Carper. “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.”
“When I voted on Scott Pruitt’s confirmation last year, I voted not just no, but no way,” said Coons. “He has polarized EPA’s work even on issues with strong bipartisan support, such as the implementation of our recently updated chemical safety law. We cannot afford to have an environmental regulator that the public doesn’t trust — this lack of trust is a concern for my constituents and for companies in my state, who all want strong, dependable environmental regulations. For the sake of our environment, our health and our country, Scott Pruitt should 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:
— 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 housing deal to rent a Capitol Hill condo from the wife of a lobbyist, paying $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 first class and charter flights to Europe and elsewhere, staying in luxury hotels and traveling with an 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:
— 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 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.