Friday the Senate voted to confirm Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environment Protection Agency. Pruitt was confirmed with a vote of 52-46.
Pruitt, a self-proclaimed “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” is an avid climate change denier, fossil fuel supporter and collaborator with oil and gas companies.
Prior to his confirmation many EPA employees, including lawyers, policy advocates and scientists, launched a nationwide effort asking the Senate to oppose his confirmation. Last week, employees held an “anti-Pruitt” rally, during which they called for an EPA leader who would actually uphold the mission and values of the agency.
Democratic Senators unsuccessfully called for a delay of his confirmation vote after an Oklahoma County district judge yesterday ordered Pruitt to turn over public official documents to the Center for Media and Democracy, a watchdog group currently bringing a lawsuit against Pruitt for violating the Open Records Act. Pruitt has failed to comply with their 2015 request to release correspondence between himself and Koch Industries, as well as other mining and drilling corporations.
Pruitt claims to be a firm believer in expanding state’s rights to make their own decisions on environmental regulations and has made it a staple of his career to do what he can to eliminate federal efforts to save the environment. During his time as Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt led efforts to reverse climate change protections and energy renewal initiatives made under the Obama Administration. He has repeatedly sued the EPA and attempted to block regulations on mercury and air toxin standards for power plants, as well as abolish the Regional Haze Rule, which protects the air surrounding national parks.
The appointment of Pruitt to run the EPA is part of a greater movement of the Trump Administration to do away with many of the environmental protections and reforms enacted during the Obama Administration. President Trump himself vowed to “get rid of” the EPA.
Evidence on global climate change as a result of human activity is overwhelming and has garnered wide-spread scientific consensus among leading scientific societies. 2016 saw some of the hottest months on record with average temperatures that had not been seen in 136 years. According to NASA, sea level rise, global temperature rise, the warming of our oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, declining Arctic sea ice, ocean acidification and declining snow cover are just a few among the many outcomes and signs indicting rapid environmental deterioration as a consequence of climate change.
Climate change has a profound effect on the female population around the globe. In developing nations, women account for over 50% of the agricultural workforce and the affects of climate change would have a detrimental impact on their livelihoods.
Media resources: FMF 10/8/16; CNBC 2/17/17; New York Times 2/16/17; Climate Central 9/12/16;NPR 2/17/17; UN Women Watch