Jan 30, 2018

EPA chief in Senate hot seat: highlights

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt. Photo: Pete Marovich / Getty Images

Here are highlights from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s appearance Tuesday in front of the Senate, the first since his confirmation almost a year ago:

  • Pruitt said he didn’t remember predicting in a 2016 interview that Donald Trump would abuse the Constitution more than Barack Obama did if elected president.
  • Be smart: Pruitt joins a long list of conservative politicians who criticized candidate Trump during the campaign, but went on to pledge their support to the president following his election.
  • Pruitt said he was still considering some sort of public debate about climate-change science, but he didn’t provide many details beyond that.
    • Reality check: Most scientists agree human activity is the driving cause of a warmer planet over the last century. The debate should exist around what policies governments should impose to address the associated risks.
  • He wouldn’t say whether he would seek to review a scientific finding on climate change that Obama's EPA issued in 2009.
    • Reality check: Trump's EPA is working to write a pared-down rule cutting carbon emissions from power plants, a subtle indication the agency isn’t going to touch the finding, which legally underpins that rule.
  • Pruitt indicated he doesn’t support California’s fuel-efficiency standards driving stronger federal standards by saying federalism “doesn’t mean one state has the ability to dictate the rest of the country.”
    • Yes, but: He’s said things like this before, and the big auto companies don't want him to revoke that waiver, as it would create a regulatory mess for them.

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