Call in Maine for Removal of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator

By Ramona du Houx

On May 3, 2018 health experts, elected officials, businesspeople, affected citizens, conservation leaders, and others called for the removal of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Senator Angus King has said, “My fundamental problem with him is that he just doesn’t believe in the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

The group released a letter signed by more than 1,000 people to President Trump saying that Administrator Pruitt is “unfit to lead this important agency that protects our public health and the air, water, lands, and climate that are vital for our nation’s economy and the quality of life of all American citizens.” Copies of the letter were delivered to Maine’s Congressional delegation. Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingress has called on Pruitt to step down.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on our Gulf of Maine fisheries. Sea levels are rising faster than predicted. Tick-borne diseases, exacerbated by warming, are on the rise. Extreme weather is battering Maine more frequently and ferociously. Pruitt deneys climate change is happening.

"This is serious, the Gulf of Maine is warming and lobsters are moving north. This effects Maine's economy. We need someone to protect our assests not destroy them," said Rep. Robert S. Duchesne. "We've fought hard to protect Maine. The fight continues - Pruitt needs to be removed."

EPA chief Pruitt currently is the subject of 11 federal investigations for violating ethics rules, abusing taxpayer funds, and breaking federal laws. Some examples include the purchase of a $43,000 secure phone booth, a sweet-heart deal condominium rental agreement with an energy lobbyist, extravagant travel costs, and accusations that he demoted, reassigned, or fired EPA employees who questioned his actions. 

“Administrator Pruitt is flagrantly abusing his position, wasting taxpayer money, breaking federal law, and committing serious ethics violations,” said NRCM Federal Project Director Emmie Theberge. “But his war on ‘Environmental Protection,’ the mission of the EPA, is the primary reason why Scott Pruitt should be removed. Maine needs an EPA Administrator who will work to protect the clean air and clean water that are so vital to our economy, health, and quality of life. Mr. Pruitt is hostile toward EPA’s mission and is determined to weaken the nation’s most important environmental protections.”  

Mainers breathe polluted air carried here on prevailing winds and air pollution generated here, too. As a result, Maine people suffer with among the highest rates of asthma in the nation. Pruitt is fighting to block standards that would reduce air pollution from cars and from power plants. 

“While EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been plagued by ethics scandals, he has also tried to dismantle protections for our air, water, and climate that harm the health of all Mainers,” said Dr. Noah Nesin, MD, a family doctor. “We rely on the EPA to protect Maine people and communities from toxic chemicals, air pollution, and water pollution.For the health of my paitents, my children and all Mainers Scott needs to be replaced with someone who can and will.”

Speakers at a news conference focused on six areas in which Administrator Pruitt is violating the public trust and undermining the role of the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the group:

  •  Pruitt favors polluters over people
  •  Pruitt is dismantling environmental protections
  •  Pruitt cuts deals with industry cronies
  •  Pruitt wastes taxpayer money
  •  Pruitt operates in secrecy
  •  Pruitt has declared war on science

Based on these concerns, the group believes that Scott Pruitt cannot be trusted to protect our air, water, and health from polluters and that he should be removed from the EPA.

“Maine’s clean environment is the top attraction for the visitors who support Maine’s tourism industry. Our environment fuels tourism jobs like mine and thousands of others,” said Jim Glavine, a Tour Guide for Oli’s Trolleys in Acadia National Park. “Scott Pruitt’s actions undermine our clean air, clean water, and healthy wildlife and people, too. It is time for him to step down and for Maine’s elected leaders to ensure he does so.”

The letter was signed by many Maine scientists and includes their concern about Administrator Pruitt’s disregard for climate science and apparent belief that climate change may be good.

As stated in the letter:

“We are particularly alarmed by Mr. Pruitt’s recent suggestion that climate change may be good for humanity. No reading of the scientific literature can possibly lead one to this conclusion. The consensus view presented in the National Climate Assessment, prepared by our nation’s top climate scientists, paints ominous trends for humans and our planet…. We fundamentally dispute Mr. Pruitt’s notion that such impacts could be good.”

In recent weeks, 170 members of Congress have called on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to be removed from office. Senator Susan Collins also has said, “On policy grounds alone I think Scott Pruitt is the wrong person to head the EPA.”

“Scott Pruitt has failed to protect our environment and the health of the American people, which is his number one job,” said Theberge. “Instead, he has continued his long history of letting polluters off the hook and has packed the EPA with industry lobbyists to push his damaging agenda. Pruitt has failed to live up to the EPA’s mission to protect our health and environment, and instead has put us all in danger. It’s time for Scott Pruitt to go.”