During the State of the Union, Trump crowed about his “victories” – from winning the war on “beautiful clean coal” (which doesn’t exist) to rolling back more regulations that protect American families than any other President.
But earlier in the day, while the news was distracted by Trump’s impending speech, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt gave his own “State of Pollution.” And Moms were there.
As moms, we knew we had to be there. Pruitt’s regulatory rollbacks are threatening our children and our communities, red and blue alike. “People will get sick and die” as a result of Pruitt’s rollbacks, said Christine Todd Whitman, who served as George W. Bush’s EPA administrator. “It’s that simple.”
On Tuesday, Scott Pruitt appeared before the Senate Environment committee for the first time since his confirmation. The hearing was a long time coming. He faced tough questions about his close ties with industry, his campaign of regulatory rollback, his efforts to weaken and undermine bedrock pollution protections, and his ethics — including his exorbitant travel budget, secret meetings, and efforts to undermine scientific advisory boards at the agency.
There was plenty of fancy footwork on the part of the Administrator to avoid direct answers and fudge the facts during the two-plus hour hearing. I was there in the room with a dozen other Moms Clean Air Force staff, volunteers, and children, wearing our red shirts, making sure that Pruitt and his Senate cheering squad understand one important, undeniable, unfudgeable fact: Moms are watching.
What we see is decidedly not child-friendly. Pruitt has made it clear that he is willing to compromise our children’s health.
- He is happy to follow the bidding of the auto industry and put the brakes on tailpipe emissions standards for cars, content to lighten up on standards that save us money at the pump and reduce asthma triggers.
- He is thrilled to roll back the Clean Power Plan, letting power plants off the hook for the dangerous impacts of carbon pollution.
- And he is unfazed by the fact that a change in an air toxics rules issued by his agency last week did not account for the fact that putting more harmful arsenic, benzene, mercury, and lead into the air may harm the health of children.
Pruitt’s rollbacks and delays fly in the face of the mission of the EPA: To protect human health and the environment. That’s why it’s more important than ever that moms show up, and speak out.
If you walk into the EPA headquarters in Washington DC right now, you’ll see hallway signs touting the “Great Environmental Achievements for America” of the Trump/Pruitt EPA. The list of “achievements” includes two major regulatory rollbacks, as well as this interesting assertion: “Confidence for American families.”
Funny how the confidence Pruitt’s EPA provides is not likely to be what Pruitt’s image-spinners had in mind: I am increasingly confident that Pruitt’s EPA is driven to ignore our children’s health and future in its fervor to unravel bedrock health standards. At the same time, I am confident that there has never been so much riding on the power of moms.