Scott Pruitt: Everything You Need to Know About an Unfit EPA Nomination



The nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency is unprecedented. Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, it is a travesty—because Pruitt has vigorously used his office to derail and obstruct clean air safeguards that are broadly supported by Americans in red and blue states alike. This nomination threatens our children and families.

Moms are outraged about this most cynical choice. We do not want an Environmental Destruction Agency. 



Pruitt, Oklahoma’s top legal officer, has been against every single clean air protection we have gained. He has sued to stop vital safeguards that protect us from mercury, arsenic, acid gases and other emissions. These protections are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association, and the American Public Health Association.


Pruitt is against standards for reducing soot and smog that cross state lines and pollute neighbors’ air. Pruitt is against standards that improve air quality in our national parks. In 2014, Pruitt led an “unprecedented, secretive alliance” with large energy companies to attack clean air rules. This included using a letter written by an energy company as his own to challenge EPA’s science-based analysis of the oil and gas pollution levels in our communities.


When it comes to climate science, Pruitt has exhibited a profound disregard for the truth.

  • He is against any and all plans to cut the carbon and methane pollution that is dangerously altering our atmosphere.
  • He says the science on climate change is not settled. This is a lie.
  • He claims that human activity has not changed the atmosphere. This is a lie.
  • He claims we can do nothing about a natural phenomenon that has always occurred. This is a lie.

He has sued to protect corporate polluters—and his campaigns have been funded by polluters. He has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel companies—to protect their ability to pollute.


He has led lawsuits to undo clean air protections. But he has never, not once, advanced a single solution to any of the problems that the Clean Air Act must, by law, address.

  • Pruitt does not offer solutions to mercury coming from coal-fired power plants, mercury that damages fetal and infant brains.
  • Pruitt does not offer solutions to soot and smog pollution.
  • Pruitt does not offer solutions to the wasted methane that escapes from fracking operations.
  • Pruitt does not offer plans to cut the emissions that are dangerously throwing our climate off balance.

He is operating with outdated understanding of economics, markets, and job growth. He is lying about science. He will not help position America globally as an innovative energy leader.

Pruitt’s entire career has demonstrated that his priority is obstructing clean air safeguards for our children.

The Clean Air Act was signed into law by a Republican president, and it was strengthened twenty years later by a Republican president. It is a vital demonstration that some things must transcend partisan politics: the protection of clean air and clean water chief among them.

President-elect Trump was not given a mandate by the American people to stop protecting us from air pollution.



Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

“President-elect Trump has selected someone who, as Oklahoma Attorney General, has fought on the side of big polluters and special interests over the health of the people of his state. He has sued the EPA to overturn common-sense public health protections, and he stands with climate deniers. There can be no doubt that Mr. Pruitt is the wrong choice because he will continue to try to roll back our landmark environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and that is disastrous for the American people.”

Tom Carper (D-DE)

“Since the EPA was created by President Nixon forty-six years ago, this country has seen cleaner air and cleaner water for all Americans. This progress has been made while growing our economy and putting Americans to work. Despite all our successes, we know more must be done to safeguard public health and ensure we leave a better environment for our children and grandchildren. This is especially true when it comes to tackling climate change.

“The task of leading the EPA is no easy one. The agency is not only charged with protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink, but also protecting public health. These should not be partisan issues. Across the political spectrum, I know we can agree on many things – we want cleaner air, a stronger economy, and to leave a healthy Earth for our children and grandchildren.

“Over the coming weeks, my colleagues and I will have the opportunity to look closely at Mr. Pruitt’s record. I am interested in examining his vision for the agency, and while I am committed to a full and fair confirmation process, I am troubled by reports of the aggressive stance Mr. Pruitt has taken against the EPA and its efforts to protect public health and the environment during his tenure as Attorney General. Let me be perfectly clear: I’m not interested in rolling back the significant progress we have made over the past eight years. I’m not interested in attacking the clean water or clean air standards meant to protect public health or in denying the science of climate change. Any individual charged with leading the EPA who wants to ignore science or look out for special interests at the expense of public health can expect a fight with me. I look forward to the upcoming confirmation process and hearing from Mr. Pruitt directly on these incredibly important issues.”

Bob Casey (D-PA) 

“President-elect Trump’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency is very troubling. Attorney General Pruitt’s views on environmental protection are unambiguous–he’s against it. A 2014 investigative report from the New York Times detailed how, under Scott Pruitt, the Attorney General’s office in Oklahoma did the bidding of major companies that would pollute the air our children breathe and the water they drink. The job of the Administrator of the EPA is to fulfill the agency’s mission to “protect human health and the environment,” not to do the bidding of major polluters. Attorney General Pruitt is also leading the effort to overturn the Clean Power Plan, which is vital to getting control of our energy future and creating clean energy jobs. Pennsylvania has a long history of respect for the environment. Article 1, Section 27 of our state constitution says:

‘The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.’

“I do not have confidence, based upon Attorney General Pruitt’s record, that the EPA under his leadership would be willing to enforce our environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.”

Tim Kaine (D-VA)

“There are few agencies that depend more on careful review of science than the EPA. Every rule or regulation depends on an intellectually honest review of scientific consensus. And the consequences for the health and safety of the American public are critical. The nomination of an EPA Administrator who does not accept basic climate science is deeply troubling.”

Ted Lieu (D-CA33)

“Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote, has nominated anti-environmentalist Scott Pruitt to lead E.P.A. As Oklahoma A.G., Mr. Pruitt acted as a de facto lobbyist for the oil and gas industry by challenging President Obama’s E.P.A. rules to reduce planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions at our nation’s power plants. In essence, Mr. Pruitt has never met a federal environmental protection that he likes. It is deeply disturbing that Mr. Pruitt, who has spent so much time trying to undermine the E.P.A., is now being asked to run it.”

“Equally disturbing is the fact that Mr. Pruitt does not believe in climate change. As a Veteran and a Colonel in the Air Force Reserves, I wholeheartedly agree with the U.S. Military’s position that Climate Change is real and a threat to our national security. What does Mr. Pruitt know that the Pentagon doesn’t? The answer is nothing. Mr. Pruitt is the wrong choice to lead E.P.A.”

Ed Markey (D-MA)

“As its leader, Scott Pruitt would have EPA stand for Every Polluters Ally. Denying the science of climate change and carrying water for Big Oil and the fossil fuel industry make him unsuitable to lead the EPA. The EPA is our cop on the beat, protecting the American people and our environment from harmful pollution, hazardous waste and the impacts of climate change. As Attorney General of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt has tried to undermine the Clean Water & Clean Air Acts, putting the public health of millions of Americans at risk. He has dedicated years of his career to rolling back the bedrock laws and rules that protect our water and our air. We don’t need federal agency leaders who would drag us back to 19th century dirty energy sources and try to stop our 21st century clean energy revolution.

“I will vigorously oppose Scott Pruitt’s nomination and urge President-elect Trump to stop nominating science-denying, oil-soaked, climate change-causing polluter allies to his cabinet. The American people want clean air and water and to protect the health of their kids. Those are the time-honored American values that President–elect Trump’s cabinet should reflect.”

Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

“Once again, Donald Trump has picked a special-interest advocate to run an executive agency. Scott Pruitt has spent his career fighting to protect fossil fuel polluters rather than the public interest. As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt was caught red-handed taking arguments virtually word-for-word from fossil fuel lobbyists and putting them on his official letterhead as the position of the State of Oklahoma. Under Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency would become the ‘Polluter Protection Agency.’                                

“Pruitt has questioned the reality of climate change and sued the federal government to block action on the mercury, arsenic, and carbon pollution that poisons our communities and children. Instead of protecting our families’ right to clean air and water, Pruitt has demonstrated time and again that his main interest is protecting polluters. He is a dangerous and unacceptable choice to lead the agency tasked with leading our climate efforts and protecting clean air and clean water for all Americans.”

Frank Pallone (D-NJ6)

“President-Elect Trump’s choice of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be EPA Administrator confirms his critics’ greatest fears about the direction of our national environmental policy.  Pruitt’s record of close partnership with the fossil fuel industry to undermine commonsense clean air and clean water protections shows a willingness to ignore EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment.  His outspoken and aggressive opposition to the Clean Power Plan and close ties to the fossil fuel industry signal the Trump administration’s intention to undermine progress in addressing climate change just as the rest of the world has come together to respond to this threat.   The nation cannot afford to reverse course on climate action.  It’s unfortunate that Pruitt views environmental protection as the enemy of economic prosperity.  It is not.  A clean, healthy environment remains essential to social and economic prosperity.

“Pruitt is not the right choice for this position.  We need to find common ground on environmental issues in order to protect Americans’ fundamental right to clean air, clean water and a safe environment to raise their families.  I did not anticipate that President-elect Trump would nominate a life-long environmentalist to lead the EPA, but I was hoping he would not offer this important job to a known science denier and dedicated opponent to environmental protection.  I’m deeply disappointed and concerned about this nomination.”

Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

“At a time when climate change is the great environmental threat to the entire planet, it is sad and dangerous that Mr. Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA. Mr. Pruitt’s record is not only that of being a climate change denier, but also someone who has worked closely with the fossil fuel industry to make this country more dependent, not less, on fossil fuels. The American people must demand leaders who are willing to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels. I will vigorously oppose this nomination.”

Brian Schatz (D-HI)

“Climate change is real, urgent, and caused by humans. It is a scientifically proven fact that any EPA Administrator should accept.  That’s why I cannot support Scott Pruitt, a denier of climate science, to lead the EPA.

“The EPA has the enormous responsibility of protecting our environment and keeping Americans safe and healthy. Its administrator should share those goals, but Scott Pruitt’s record has shown us that he does not.  While the EPA is tasked with protecting our people and our environment from the impacts of climate change, he denies the science behind it.  And while the agency has worked to keep our air and water clean and safe, Scott Pruitt has worked to undermine the very rules that protect those resources.

“The health of our planet and our people is too important to leave in the hands of someone who does not believe in scientific facts or the basic mission of the EPA.”

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

“Climate change is a direct threat to New Hampshire’s environment, economy and way of life,” said Shaheen. “As New Hampshire continues to combat carbon emissions and provide clean, safe drinking water, we need a reliable partner in the EPA to achieve these goals. Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s environmental record is extremely concerning and his appointment would signal a capitulation to polluters. We owe it to future generations to build on the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and I will not support any nominee that is intent on rolling back this progress.”

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Sen. Debbie Stabenow said in a statement that she is “deeply concerned by the nomination. … The next EPA Administrator should be someone we can trust to protect the Great Lakes and the health of Michigan families.”

Tom Udall (D-NM)

“Global warming is one of the greatest threats to public health, our environment and our national security. And New Mexico is in the bull’s eye, as farmers and anyone who relies on water and weather know all too well. The American people accept that the science is real; the facts can’t be denied, and we need to take urgent action to stop the impacts from growing worse. Attorney General Scott Pruitt has spent years fighting in court on behalf of climate deniers. That doesn’t show the kind of leadership we need at the EPA to protect our air and ensure clean water. This is yet another troubling nomination by a president-elect who promised to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington, and I anticipate Attorney General Pruitt will face many questions about his work to help big polluters at the expense of the American people.”

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

“At every turn, Scott Pruitt has chosen his fossil fuel donors over the health and wellbeing of the people he serves.  He has fought rules that protect the American people from toxins that cause terrible harm.  He is an inveterate denier of settled climate science and led the opposition to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to address the climate crisis.  He is willing to mouth whatever message big fossil fuel companies want to convey – to the letter.  This record shows disdain for the EPA’s mission and ignorance of its importance.  Americans trust EPA and understand the critical work it does to protect the air we breathe and water we drink.  I expect the American people will be shocked that President-elect Trump has chosen someone with such disdain for their health as they learn more about Pruitt during his confirmation hearings.  Stay tuned.”