Skip to main content

tv   EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Testifies at Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  January 18, 2017 10:00am-12:46pm EST

10:00 am
[inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation]
10:01 am
[inaudible conversation] >> good morning. i call this hearing to order. we have a full house today. i welcome the audience. this is a formal senate hearing
10:02 am
and in order to allow the senate to conduct their business we will have a quorum. that means if there's demonstrations by the audience the person will be escorted from the room. since this is the first hearing of the session i would like to welcome our new members. thank you very much and congratulations and joining the committee. i would also like to welcome senator tom carper in his new role as the ranking member of the committee. you are here even if you have a scratchy throat. forty years from you were treasurer of delaware, member of congress, governor, member of the u.s. senate has not missed a day. you are cal ripken junior and the iron man so thanks being here. i look forward to working with you. he deserves applause. with regard to procedure, we will follow the earlybird role in terms of the member questions. members who are here at the start will be placed in the line based on your seniority on the
10:03 am
committee. members who arrive after will be added to the line in the order they arrive. with respect to today's hearing, we will abide by the committee's five minute rule. the five-minute includes not not just the questions but the nominees answers. i asked our members to leave enough time for the nominee to answer your question. today we will have many rounds of questions as are necessary so member questions are answered. today's hearing is to consider the nomination of scott pruitt to be the administration of the environmental protection agency. he has been a distinguished public servant as well and we will hear the same from his fellow oklahomans today p he served eight years in the oklahoma state senate before elected atty. general of oklahoma in november 2010 where he still serves. there are numerous statements from his peers in the people he has helped over the years that stand as a testament to his strong qualifications to run the environmental protection agency. twenty-four state attorneys
10:04 am
general wrote to both ranking member carper and me saying that we understand the need to work collaboratively to address threats to our environment that cross state lines. we also understand the importance of a federal counterpart and epa administrator possesses the knowledge, experience and principles to work with our states to address issues affecting our environment. we believe no one exemplifies these qualities more than scott pruitt. he has taken on polluters including the oil industry when there was cause. randy ellison, an award-winning reporter with the oklahoma newspaper praised him for his ability to take on industry. the paper highlighted the work of atty. general pruitt to hold a large oil company accountable. this is well and stated, he said he demonstrated he will take on industry when they overstep, when he sued oil company like bp who double dipped by collecting reimbursement for collective action that they polluted.
10:05 am
this is why i believe president-elect trump nominated him to serve as the administrator of the epa. the epa, under the leadership of a qualified and responsible administrator is a vital tool that must be used to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the communities where our families live. it is truly a sacred trust. colleagues on on both sides of the aisle say attorney general scott pruitt has the right expense for the position. he understands the need to protect the environment while allowing the nation's economy to grow. the agency needs a leader who will follow the laws created by this committee. during the last eight years, epa administrators created rod and legally questionable new regulations which have undermined the american people's faith in the agency. these regulations have done great damage to the livelihood of our nations hardest working citizens. the regulatory zeal of the past eight years have violated a
10:06 am
fundamental principle of environmental stewardship which is due no harm. this failed environmental leadership has contributed to two of the worst government created environmental disasters in decades, the gold king minds bill and flint michigan water crisis. those disasters hurt people, many from low income families who can least afford it. i've addressed with scott pruitt, we have abundant supply of coal, crude oil and uranium. these provide thousands of good paying jobs. we are one of the most beautiful state in the nation. we are home to yellowstone and grand teton national parks and many parks and wild waterways. we have thriving populations of grizzly bears, elves and -- elk and bison.
10:07 am
wyoming has strike a balance between our environment and economy and it shows. for eight years we suffered under the epa but didn't believe in striking a balance. regulations crushed energy jobs, state revenue fell that pays for state programs. this includes paying for our vital environment of programs. clearly a wholesale change is needed. any new administrator of the environmental protection agency needs to protect the environment in a responsible way that doesn't ignore the good work that states do to protect their air, land and water as well as their economies. i would like to ask ranking member senator carper for an opening statement. >> thank you for bringing us here today and your kind words as well. we begin by welcoming our nominee and his wife and children to this very important hearing. i rose at don and went
10:08 am
throughout the long run that took me through a beautiful state park. i reach the park at sunrise as the sky was turning up brilliant lou. the winter air was crisp and blue and wildlife was all around. in a word, it was perfect. as i ran i set up prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of this moment. later that morning my wife and i went to church and we joined our congregation singing a hymn that began with these words, for the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies, lord of all to be, we raise this our hymn, a grateful praise. those words filled my heart with emotion then and they do so again this morning. in more than 48 hours donald trump will place his hand on the bible and take an oath to defend our country and constitution.
10:09 am
that bible reminds us repeatedly to love our neighbors as ourselves and it makes us ask who is our neighbor. there's another obligation that those of us who live on this earth are expected to meet. we are to serve as stewards of this planet. i believe we have a moral obligation to do so. a great many of my colleagues in the senate agree and so do most americans. we need to be convinced that you embrace it as well, not not just with your words, but with your deeds at much of your record suggests otherwise and today and in the days that follow, we need to find out where the truth lies leading the epa is hard work. that agency is created by president richard nixon and a bipartisan congress 46 years ago and it's test with implementing the nation's most important clean-air, clean water and save chemical laws. epa is required to use science to protect our environment and our public health. by and large the epa has done this successfully for decades
10:10 am
while our economy has continued to grow. many in this room may not remember a time before the epa. a time when states had to work individually to protect citizens in the community in which they lived. a time before the clean water act and clean air act were signed into law. a time when businesses operating throughout the u.s. were faced with the myriad of state and local laws affecting our health and environment. the choking smog insert a half-century ago seemed unfathomable and out rivers on fire and deadly toxic plume sound like something from another world. we have the luxury of largely forgetting the circumstances thanks to the efforts of the epa , its employees, its partnership with state and local agencies and with companies across america. in fact epa and its many partners have been so successful that it's easy for some of us to forget why this agency is so critical. for some it's also reason to presume that not much more for the agency to do, and that that
10:11 am
could not be further from the truth. the environmental threats we face today are real and they don't respect state boundaries. as we consider nominee to run our nation's foremost agency, it's worth reminding everyone here why the mission of the epa is so critical and just what is at stake. over time i state of delaware has made great strides in cleaning up our own air pollution but our work only goes so far. delaware look, like many states, sits at the end of what is known as america's tailpipe. 90% of the air pollution in delaware comes from outside the state. from kentucky, ohio and across the midwest. as governor of delaware, if i eliminate every source of air pollution with my state, stopped every combustion source and ordered every motor vehicle off the road, delaware would still faced deadly doses of pollution. should children and others be forced to live with this decision made by polluters
10:12 am
hundreds of thousands of miles away who gained economically from our disadvantage? i don't think so. the epa has recently implemented a good neighbor rule to make sure all states get their fair share of clean air. every has the right to believe clean-air regardless if they are in a downwind or upwind state. that is why we have the epa. i remember fishing with my dad as a boy. we brought home the fish we caught to be. today that pastime comes with a warning label. that river along with other countless rivers and streams in all 50 states have advisories cautioning people against eating the mercury laden fish. that comes from air pollution that settled in our waterways. we know mercury is powerful and toxic and it accumulates in the human body over time threatening the health of this environment
10:13 am
for decades to come. bpa issued health protections to clean up the toxic air pollution from our dirtiest coal plants allowing families to once again eat their fish from the river, lakes and streams without concern of mercury poisoning. that is why we have the epa are too often when state and local communities are pinched for cash they try to save money by shortchanging clean air and clean water protections. they're often ignored, corners are cut, solutions are adopted and they save dollars now but inflict costly and unnecessary damage later. as we saw most recently in the city of flint michigan, these can have a terrible and tragic impact on the health of the most vulnerable in our society, especially the youngest among us. today the citizens of flint still lack clean drinking water. a new generation has been exposed to high levels of lead face an uncertain future. that's why we have the epa. delaware is the lowest lying
10:14 am
state and our nation. the highest point is a bridge. back on the reality that our climate is changing is not up for grabs or up for debate. families and business owners face the reality of climate change everything the day. tackling that challenge is not just the right thing to do, but it is a matter of survival. take a ride with me sometime, some 30 miles south of dover air force base heading toward the delaware day on prime hook road and you will see what i mean. there was a time not long ago were just before you reach the delaware bay, you came to the parking lot. today the parking lot is underwater. stand there looking to the east and you will see part of a concrete bunker sticking out of the water at 1:00 o'clock. recently someone showed me a photo taken of that bunker in 1947, the year i was born. it was on dry land 500 feet west of the water's edge. our little state alone cannot stem the flow of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere that is causing our climate to change
10:15 am
and sees to rise. we must safeguard our climate and neighbors. that is why we have the epa. production of pollution by others can found in many states. [inaudible] that's why we have the epa. some of my colleagues describe me as covering governor. i believe they receive the ability to pick their leadership team. i've given them that deference in most situations. since coming to the senate in 2001 i've only opposed one epa administrator. subsequently every administrator i supported demonstrated they were committed to protecting our health and environment. i'm also amended to a fair
10:16 am
confirmation process. having said that i have shared with mr. pruitt that too much of what i've seen of his record and his views about the role of the epa are troubling and in some cases deeply troubling. even former republican administrator with whom i've served for seven years recently said she can't recall ever having seen an appointment of someone who was so disdainful of the agency behind with the agency does. it's hard to imagine a more damning statement, and from one who served not long ago in that position of trust. today is your opportunity to show she has gotten it wrong. to be honest with you, i fear she has gotten it right. think you. >> thank you very much senator carper. in a few minutes i would like to turn to senator in half and langford from their home state of oklahoma.
10:17 am
before i do that i want to say up a few words about senator in half and his career as chairman of the public works committee. first i want to thank my friend for his leadership at this committee. his dedication to protecting the environment, rebuilding our nation's infrastructure, strengthening the economy were clearly evident throughout his time. this committee hurt held 68 hearings. thirty-two bills passed out on the committee were signed into law. chairman in half oversaw the first long von -- long-term transportation bill. he worked with barbara boxer to pass badly needed water resources to enact legislation.
10:18 am
the supports flood control projects that protect million of people. for the first time in 40 years the toxic substances control act was modernized under his tenure. he also worked to keep the administration accountable. he worked to ensure there was oversight of overreaching administration concerning clean power plant, waters waters of the u.s., the buffer rule, and many more. i'm very glad that he will remain on the committee and i look forward to working with him to bolster our nation's economy. thank you you for your hard work, your dedication and your leadership. you are now recognized to introduce and talk about mr. pruitt. >> thank you very much. i was looking forward to working at a very senior position on your committee and this is the
10:19 am
committee that gets things done. i think you chairman for also and senator carper and i am honored to join my fellow senators in introducing not just the attorney general scott pruitt, but my good friend, and to offer my support for his nomination to be the next administrator of the epa. though neither of us were born in oklahoma, we got here as quickly as we could. he is also a neighbor. the attorney general said he was born in kentucky and he showed what he was made out of and ended up a great baseball player and was able to get a scholarship and go to the university there. then he came to oklahoma i went to law school at tulsa and did
10:20 am
all kinds of things, specializing in constitutional law. in 1998, general pruitt ran and was elected to the oklahoma state senate where he served six years and became a leader. success has followed him throughout his lot practice to the senate to become the co-owner and manager and managing general partner of the aaa minor-league baseball team. and he is currently oklahoma's attorney general. through the course of his career, he has to doubt as a champion of state and individual rights and has fought against federal overreach, he has earned a reputation as a defender of the rule of law and has worked to keep the role of the federal government in check. as head of the epa, he would ensure that the agency fulfills
10:21 am
the role by the laws passed by congress, nothing nothing more nothing less. oklahoma's energy and agriculture statement shows we are a state that knows how to protect the environment. as atty. general he was instrumental, this is a big deal , we've had an ongoing litigation for 100 years. it was the state of oklahoma. this guy comes trotting along and resolves it overnight after hundred years of failure trying to get this done. he also worked with the environmental quality and water resources. they don't know that we in oklahoma have freshwater sure mine. >> i would ask senator to
10:22 am
suspend his remarks for a few moments. >> thank you senator in half. they obviously don't like to see rivers, but we do in oklahoma. anyway, they partnered with other states, new mexico colorado and kansas to bring together state officials conservation groups, energy and egg industries to address the challenges addressing one of the problems we have their which might become an endangered species. it saw success its first year. this is working with four different states, despite endorsing the plan they moved forward with listing the species as threatened. it endangered the cooperation
10:23 am
reach and sued the wildlife for violating the agreement and he won. he wins these things. he has fought the oil companies, the outgoing administration on many fronts. all of these suits were brought to protect state and local interest from overzealous and activists executive agencies. over the last eight years, the obama administration has advanced a radical and environmental agenda and exhibited a deep distrust of state government and private landowners and has worked to obstruct the fossil fuel industry and agricultural producers. these are industries and interests that oklahoma relies on an far from being an enemy of the environment, scott has has proven himself to be an expert
10:24 am
at balancing economic growth with environmental stewardship. it's my belief that attorney general pruitt will return the environmental protection agency to its proper role as a start for the environment acting within the rules prescribed by congress. >> thank you for allowing me to be here today and introduce my fellow oklahoman and for senator inhofe and i to stand with him in what we believe will be a tremendous nominee as an administrator for the epa. over the past six years scott has been a leader in the state of oklahoma, strongly committed to enforcing the law and adhering to the constitution. he is a statesman, a dedicated public servant.
10:25 am
as a ministry of the epa i would fully expect scott to lead the agency and follow every environmental law and partner with states, local authorities and tribes to do what's best for our present and future. he stood shoulder to shoulder with more than half the states to make sure the federal government operates within the constitution and the bounds of the law. in an environment where chevron. [inaudible] it's important he also respects the importance of our federalist foundations and the pocketbooks of our working family. in previous testimony he has emphasized the importance of law like the clean air act, stressing that the intention for state and epa to work together under a model of cooperative federalism that protects the environment while considering economic costs. as attorney general, scott has been a defender of the rule of law for oklahomans.
10:26 am
in 2012 he sued british petroleum arguing they knowingly double dipped through the collection of funds despite having insurance coverage for environmental cleanup. he did not hesitate to stand up for his constituents and his state. mike is a former atty. general for the state of oklahoma on the former chairman of the party. let me readers short statement of his support. >> former democratic party chairman said scott pruitt is a good choice to head the environmental protection agency. i'm convinced he will work to protect our natural habitats, reserves and resources but his vision for a proper relationship between protection and prosperity makes him superbly qualified to serve as our next
10:27 am
administrator. he's an active member and deacon at his church. he is incredibly strong in his faith and strives to walk in integrity. he's a serious baseball fan as well. if you run out of environmental legal questions today, which i doubt you will, why do you ask me a few questions about baseball strategy and spring training which starts in just a few weeks. i have to tell you, scott is a friend. i prefer scott, i've seen him struggle with hard decisions that affect our states future. i have seen him listen to people to try to learn all sides of an issue and i have seen him take difficult stands on matter of law. i think he would be an excellent demonstrator for the epa. i think he will do very well today and bring you the confidence that he will work
10:28 am
hard for the our next president and the future of our country. >> thank you senator's. you are are welcome to stay, but you cannot stay in that seat. now i would like to welcome attorney general pruitt. welcome. i'm by you to introduce your family and proceed with your statement. congratulations and welcome. >> good morning chairman, ranking members of the committee. it is an honor and privilege to be before you to be considered for the position of epa administrator. i want to say thank you to senator in op and langford are opening comment. he has been and mentor and a friend for many years. he spent a lot of time introducing me to many of you and i appreciate his guidance
10:29 am
and help. senator langford was a friend before he entered congress but he's serving oklahoma and his country with great distinction. i am blessed that my family in attendance with me. my wife along with my children are in attendance. there's a little change going on in their life. mckenna is graduating from oklahoma university this spring and heading to the university of virginia law school and my son will graduate high school and had to oklahoma university to follow in his sister's footsteps spread there's lots of change going on in their lives and lots of change in my family's life and lots of change going on in the country. i think the people of this country are hungry for some change. with change comes an opportunity for growth. an opportunity to assess how we can reprioritize as a nation. when i ponder leading the epa, i get excited about the great work to be done on behalf of our nation and protecting and being
10:30 am
a good steward of the national resources we have as a nation. what could be more important than protecting our nation's water, improving the air and managing the land we've been blessed with while protecting the health and welfare of our people. if confirmed, i would would lead the epa with the following principles in mind, first we must reject the nation the false paradigm that if your pro energy your anti- environment. i reject that narrative. :
10:31 am
to fairly and equitably enforce the rules and not pick winners and losers. a regulator should not be for or against any sector of our economy. instead a regular auto follow the the law in setting up the rules, plan, allocate resources to meet the standards versus operating a state of uncertainty and duress. fourth, federalism matters pick up because congress says so. and because we need to achieve good outcomes as a nation for air and water quality we need a partnership of the states to achieve that. it is our regulators oftentimes best understand the local needs and uniqueness of our environmental challenges. plus our state regulars possessed the resources and expertise to enforce our environmental laws. fifth, public participation is key. we need you all voices as we make decisions on behalf of our country with respect to environmental laws. two final things personally. i seem to be a good listener, to listen and to lead. you can't do one without the other.
10:32 am
listen to those clear -- [shouting] listen to those career staff at the epa as i've done as attorney general of oklahoma and listen to you in congress with respect to the age of prospective state to listen to the voice of all americans as we seek to carry out our duties under the law. lastly and this is very important, i think serviceability oftentimes i'll post the makers you deal with contentious issues. i have as attorney general as well. we deal with weighty issues and there's passion of both sides of issues. we should not succumb to personalizing matters. we should encourage open and civil discourse. let me say to you, site tells us the climate is changing. in human activity in cement and facts that change. the ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact and what to do about it are subject to continuing debate and dialogue, as well as should be. with these principles in mind i
10:33 am
seek to answer your questions today and i am honored to be her today to be considered for the position of the epa administrator. thank you, mr. chairman. >> welcomed to your family and thank you and congratulations again. attorney general, you've answered the committee questionnaire, the united states office of government ethics has stated that your quote in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest. throughout this hearing and with a question for the record committee members will have an opportunity to learn more about your commitment to public service and our nation. asked about this in you please respond to the questions for the record. with that setup to ask the following questions the basketball nominees on behalf of the committee. do you agree if confirmed to appear before this committee or designated members of this committee and other appropriate committees of the congress to provide information subject to appropriate and necessary security protection with respect to your responsibilities? >> yes, mr. chairman,.
10:34 am
>> did a great testimony, briefings, documents and electronic and other forms of information are provided to this committee and its staff and other appropriate committees in a timely matter? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> do know any matters which you may or may not have disclosed that might place you in any conflict of interest if you are confirmed? >> no, chairman. >> iq. just a couple of quick questions before we go to back-and-forth there i would just as if you just please describe your environmental philosophy, of what you do to protect our environment. >> as i indicated in my opening statement i believe the role of a regulator and this may not sound too exciting but is to make things regular. one of the difficult challenges we see with individuals across the country is the inability to predict or know what's expected of them as far as their obligations under our environment laws. really believe, mr. chairman, it
10:35 am
confirm as administrative public participation, cooperative federalism, rule of lobbing the focus of how we do business at the epa is centered to restoring confidence and certainty in those that are regulated. clearly the mission of the epa as indicated in my opening statement to protect our natural resources, protecting water water quality, improving our air, helping protect the health and welfare of our citizens is key to leadership of the epa and while enforcement is necessary, a vigorous enforcement. i have done that as attorney general. i have taken very constructive steps against those that are violated the law. but we've done so in very decisive and meaningful way. with that in mind spirit one other question than a reserve the bounds of a tie for some interjection and questioned throughout. there's a number of environmental problems that i see in the country estate. cold war legacy pollution is a serious problem where chemical compounds are left deep in the soil from our military activity decades ago.
10:36 am
often they're not the tools yet failed to adequately address this pollution. if confirmed would you advocate increasing the epa's focus on innovative technological solutions to address these and other bimetal problems? >> yes, mr. chairman. this congress, this past congress as you indicated in your statement and senator inhofe recognized with the changes to the law, there are priorities this year, new authority that's been given to the epa administrator to order test of certain chemicals. as i've spent time with some of the members on this committee, senator gillibrand as an example mentioned a confirm -- a concern. so yes, mr. chairman, i believe there are priorities of the key to improving our environment across air quality with non-attainment and we seek to focus and prioritize those efforts. >> thank you. senator carper. >> mr. pruitt, we don't often have the kind that disruptions
10:37 am
in the show and in this building that we are witnessing here today. this is extraordinary. not unprecedented but extraordinary. people might ask why our folks so concerned? i will tell you why. you don't have to go back to march 3 up in detroit, michigan, where president-elect then candidate trump, donald trump said these words. we are going to get rid of epa in almost every form. we're going to have little tidbits left but we're going to take a tremendous amount after that's what he said during the republican primary. what did he say after the election? november 10, fox news with chris wallace he said, and bimetal protection, they do is a disgrace. every week they come out with new regulations. chris wallace asked him who's going to protecting private? he said, we will be fine with the environment. we will be fine with the environment. we are concerned we won't be fine with the environment. sometimes words do matter, and
10:38 am
one of the concerns that i have is keys the president can you would be his epa administrator. all the things he said in the campaign, do they just go away? in you he is put somebody in place who is actually defined in other bimetal protection unit within your own agency. and yet you have joined in a dozen or more lawsuits over the last six years ever since you have been attorney general and going after the epa. that's why, not just on that side of the dive spot on the side as well. you just took an oath, raise your hand to answer the questions that the chairman asked to give you one of them was a question to you with your willingness to respond to reasonable questions that are asked of you. one of the things i asked that you, i submitted a letter i think he received shortly after christmas, maybe december 20 close of business and asked a lot of questions. asked if you tried respond by
10:39 am
january 9. you didn't respond to one of them by january 9. not even one. today's hearing i just asked my staff have you respond to any of those questions in writing that it asked almost three weeks ago? to my knowledge no response as yet been received. that's why we had a concern. that's why we have a concern. mercury, i'm sorry, going to start off by talking about mercury. in 2011 the epa required dirty coal power plants to clean up emissions by issuing the mercury endotoxins standards rule. this rule will reduce the mercury of neurotoxin that contaminate our streams under oceans, pollute our fish and harms our children's health. as attorney general of lead you part of the leased 14 legal cases against the epa in at least three against the epa's rules to reduce mercury emissions from power plants. is that correct questions or no? >> we have been involved in litigation -- >> is that correct, yes or no?
10:40 am
>> yes, we have been a part of litigation spit my understanding is one of these cases against mercury rule is still pending, is that correct? just yes or no? >> i believe so. >> in the cases against the mercury will you question the epa's determination that mercury emissions from power plants are helpful to help and should be regulated. to be clear at the upper support a case the epa that claims quote human exposure to make resulting from coal-fired fireplace is exceedingly small? yes or no? >> that's not a yes or no answer. if i may -- >> there enough. this questions a decision in 2000 which agency determined at almost, almost a decade of the study that come a quote from them, mercury emissions from power plants pose significant hazard to public health and must be reduced close quote. which is a political case badges for in the past directly challenge the agency finding a yes or no? >> the challenges we have had -- >> yes or no?
10:41 am
>> if i may -- >> just hold your fire. just hold your fire. the position you taken on mercury seems to call into question the 2003 testimony from the epa assistant administrator under george w. bush right were you sitting today. this is what he said. epa is required to regulate mercury because epa determined mercury emissions from power plants pose an otherwise unaddressed significant risk to health and the environment and because controls, options to reduce this risk are available. this statement of mercury risk seems to the legal argument you supported in the pastor is that that correct, yes or no? >> i agree that something that's very dangerous. spirit are you aware the last three ministers at publix did the epa's record to regulate mercury from power plants because of health risk, yes or no? >> i believe mercury should be regulated under section -- >> my time is about to expire.
10:42 am
thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator carper. senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i don't think you had adequate time to answer some of the questions that were asked. is anything you'd like to add to elaborate? >> hanky. i do want to say to senator carper is concerned with respect to president-elect's statements that the campaigns, i believe there's a very important role the environmental protection agency that affect you and i talked about that in your office. i believe that our air quality issues and water quality issues that cross state line, that the jurisdiction of the epa, it's involved in protecting our air quality, improving our nation's waters is action important. epa as a survey about the role. after all it was republicans who created the epa under executive or in the 1970s and this body has passed legislation since the 1970s to focus on improving our air and water quality. we have much to celebrate. the six criteria pollutants
10:43 am
since 1980 are down 63% beer we have made progress as a country as a country but we work to do and epa has a very valuable role and partner with the states to carry out those steps to ensure improving our air quality in protecting our nation's waters. senator carper, and helpful that in response your concern about the rule of the epa, i believe it's a very valuable role and it's something we should focus on and partner with our state. with respect to mercury, the litigation you refer to them there was a argument that we made from a state perspective that mercury is not a hazardous air pollution. our argument focused upon the cost-benefit analysis that the epa failed to do. the michigan epa case, the supreme court actually agree. it was more about the process again the epa was supposed to go through in regulate mercury to but certainty in workplace, not a state respect whether mercury should be regulate or not under section 112. thank you, senator inhofe. >> thank you, general. i'm glad you brought up this
10:44 am
thing about the clean air act. the amendments of 1990 i was one of the cosponsors. it's been incredibly successful. you mention we reduced those pollutants by 53%, 63%, but, but what you didn't add was that was in spite of that when 153% increase in our economic activity. that's a major thing. in my introduction i mentioned this thing that you did that no one can figure out how you did it, involved 100 year dispute between not just the state of oklahoma and the city of oklahoma city and the choctaws and others, the want to share with us how you did that? >> they tried for 100 years and you came in and did it in less than 100 days. >> less than eight months into my administration, we were sued with respect to water and 17 counties in southeast oklahoma.
10:45 am
many of you know anything about water litigation, it generally takes decades to saltwater litigation. we were able to go from augus august 2011 until 2016 and negotiate an historic water rights agreement with those two nations to provide certainty to those that are regulated to provide a voice to the tribes, with respect to water allocation and water quality. the state has maintained its position as arbiter of how those permits are allocated as well. it was a partnership. it was the way things ought to work when litigation occurs sitting across the table from individuals are working together to try to solve the problem. we were able to achieve that in record time and i'm very proud of what we did as a state and of the chickasaw choctaw nation together. >> also you got them all in one room, didn't you? >> yes, sir. >> you have been criticized and people been talking about your environmental record. i would like to be sure that people are aware of, a number of people, i have some here that i
10:46 am
will submit for the record but a guy named to inspect the vice president of scenic rivers and water quality. this is the person who has really been at the forefront of our scenic rivers program. he praises you saying i found general pruett has done right by our scenic rivers dickies and everything constructive that he told me he would do. the same thing comes from north carolina department of environmental quality. he wrote pruitt is committed to clean air and clean water and restoring the epa to its original mission of enforcing laws. jd start head of the water resources board said attorney general pruitt, and he goes on and praises you. i'd like to know why it is you have become such a hero of the scenic river people? >> as you know oklahoma has endured many decades of dispute with respect to phosphorus
10:47 am
levels. there's been litigation has been a part of that dispute for some time. there was a memorandum of understanding that arkansas and oklahoma entered into around 2002-2003 and that expired during my time as attorney general. there were many in government at the time that said we should wait on the epa to coming and addressed the issue. i chose a different path. i reached out to my democratic colleagues, the attorney general of the state of arkansas and were able to negotiate an agreement that had phosphorus levels set at point 0327, and for some both side sides of the border. for the first time in history. i think he is the head of the singular rivers commission. he's been sent on the stage for a number of years and i think he's good word relates to the work that we did in my office working with judge mcdaniel to achieve that could have come. >> i know my time is expired but i would like to enter into the record at this point in the record the statement right environmental deq that are
10:48 am
referred to. >> without objection. senator whitehouse. >> thank you, chairman. welcome to the committee, mr. pruitt, as we discussed when you and i met the oceans off of our ocean state are warming. due to fossil fuel driven climate change. it is crashing our fisheries like a lobster and winter flounder and making earning a living harder for our fishermen. i see nothing in your career to give those fishermen any confidence that you will care one bit for their well-being, and not just the well-being of the fossil fuel industry. in a process that you could replicate in an oklahoma high school science lab excess carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions is turning our seas more acid. rhode island shall fishermen and shellfish growers are concerned, and my colleague senator merkley state, they already had oysters
10:49 am
wiped out for businesses by a citified waters. i see nothing in your career that you would care at all about our rhode island shall fishermen. in rhode island we have bad air days, and because of epa's work, there are fewer and fewer of bad hair day as if they were people driving into work here on the reader that ozone from out-of-state smokestacks have made the error in rhode island dangers and that infants and the elderly and people with breathing difficulties should stay home on an otherwise beautiful day. because of those smokestacks are out-of-state we need epa to protect us, and i see nothing in your record i would give a mom taking her child in hospital for an asthma attack any comfort that you would take the slightest interest in her. and your passion for devolving power down to states doesn't help us, because our state regulators can't do anything about any of those problems.
10:50 am
they all come from out-of-state sources, in this respect we are very like delaware. one of the things i would like to ask you about here is the connection between you and some of the fossil fuel companies. this is, these are some of the companies that have supported you. these are some of the political organizations that you have raised money for. you have raised money for them for pruitt for attorney general, correct? >> yes, sir. i have a campaign committee, yes. >> devon industry, exxon mobil have all maxed out to that account spirit i'm not aware but i've should then be given to that committee spin oklahoma's strong pack on your leadership pac? >> it was. >> similarly they gave money, they maxed out to that or position as well which speedy i'm not sure about that stupid they contributed to it. >> i'm not even sure about that as well. i haven't looked at that. >> you closed your super pac,
10:51 am
liberty 2.0, but that took fossil fuel contributions as well, correct? >> that particular entity has been closed, yes. >> you helped raise money for the republican attorney generals association while you are a of its executive committee. they received $530,000 from koch industries, $350,000 from marine energy, $160,000 exxon mobil and $125,000 from devon energy, the company whose love you transport onto your letterhead and sent as an oklahoma attorney general document. did you solicit in your role at the republican attorney generals association in of that funding? >> i'm unable to confirm those amounts -- >> you were soliciting funding from them speak i attended fundraising events. along with other attorneys general with respect speedy did you solicit? did you ask them for money?
10:52 am
>> as a indicator i attended fundraising events with -- >> that's different. a can is one thing. did you them for money? >> that i specifically, i don't know if -- >> koch industries, exxon mobil, devon energy. >> i did not ask of coke or tested what with the other ones? >> murray interview, exxon mobil, devon devon energy. >> i'm not asking for money. spirit and that we have you said to the chairman that there is nothing that might place you in a couple of interest that you have not disclosed, yet you founded the rule of law defense fund which is a dark mining operation that supports the republican attorney generals association, and you have not disclose any of your solicitations for that entity. nor had he disclosed what money was rose -- this was a position that appears to have a million
10:53 am
dollars a year budget. so very substantial funds have been so severely you it's chairman. will you disclose your role in soliciting money and in receiving money for the rule of law defense fund pursuant to your solicitations? >> a point of clarification. i did not start nor initiate -- >> you lead it spirit i've been an officer of that organization for 2016. it was an executive staff, fundraisers back at the functions. there are many attorneys general that serve on that board. it's not a decision of one. it's a decision of those of being in power to make those decisions. >> you haven't told anything about that. you haven't told us what they gave, if you asked him. it's a complete black hole into which, police $1 million goes, and based on your record of fundraising it appears a great deal of your fundraising comes from these organizations who are in the energy sector and devoted
10:54 am
to fighting climate change speed and some of i've actually suit as well. but with respect to the rule of law -- exxon mobil. >> really? >> yes spent my time is expired. we will pursue this in further questions spirit as a indicator we are involved in office, we are involved in, cinder in off mentioned in his comments come a situation in oklahoma where multiple or i guess companies, and others had defrauded the state in cleanup with respects to spills occurred. >> that has nothing to do with the environment. >> i would speedy maybe we can reserve that for the second round speed he was coming back to me so i was responding. >> there are two articles i'll be introducing into the record. one from "the wall street journal" in september headlined hillary clinton raises more than donald trump from oil industry. the second article that i'll be introducing for the record is from politico from december 27,
10:55 am
america arising executive director brian rogers quote this is a partisan fishing expedition by six liberal democrats who combine have taken more than $1.2 million from million dollars from far left and far mentalist groups dead set against any reforms to an out-of-control epa. senator capito. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, attorney general for being here for your willingness to throw your hat in the ring to survey i like to quote the ranking member when he says it's hard work. because it is big the epa is hard work. one of the things you said that really struck me and i believe the rule of law does matter. i'm heartened by your passion for that. the regulatory overreach of epa has continued to economic devastation in my state of west virginia and my region. data from the mine safety and health administration shows 60,000 cold, cold jobs have been lost between 2011-2016.
10:56 am
thousands of these are in west virginia. we are in desperate situation in our state right now because of this. we had a field hearing in west virginia where our economist said the coal industry downturn have resulted in six of us other west virginia counties being integrated depression. for the past eight years the epa has given no indication at all about the economic impact of its policies. even though congress has said very clearly in the clean air act and other of our mental statutes expect jobs and economic factors to be taken into account. that's part of the law. in october the federal court held the epa had failed to evaluate the jobs impact the epa clean air act as required by 321a. in order the epa to submit a schedule for conducting these economic and the required jobs analysis. incredibly the epa told the court it would take two years, this was just this past, in the last several weeks, it would
10:57 am
take two years just to come up with upon how to do the analysis which in my view, if that's part of a lot of epa is supposed the following, they should already have the protocol set up to do an effective and accurate job analysis. so the court responded like this. this response is wholly inefficient, unacceptable and unnecessary. it evidences the continuing hostility on the part of the epa to the acceptance of the mission established by congress. so i would like to ask you to commit to me to ensure the epa will follow the law. it is charged with everything and do those ongoing evaluation of job losses and economic shifts due to the requirement of the act as required by the law spirit as you indicated i grew believe it's important that rule of law is a tricky because it inspires confidence in those that are regulated. i think oftentimes those that are regulated don't know what's expected. they look at a statute. they see the requirements and
10:58 am
then those that are regulating act in a way that's not consistent with that framework. they don't know what's expected of them and that causes uncertainty and paralysis to certain degree. rule of law something we should take seriously. it's been a part of the litigation that we have initiated as a state. a lot of times these cases, there is a policy or political kind of a attention is drawn to it but it is about process, will apply making sure the framework that his body, cogs has established is respected and enforced. i appreciate your comments. >> in looking for the balance we need to have at least a correct analysis in what the application are of regulations. it's so important and critically important we enforce our environmental laws, and to keep our air clean and get it clean and protect our waters. in january 2014 a storage taken charleston, west virginia, was corrupted and went into the river.
10:59 am
it was right by the water flow of the major water source in my community. 300,000 people had to do without water for several weeks. it caused a lot of angst economically to small business. imagine a restaurant not be able to use water or you can't wash your clothes but you couldn't do anything with the water. but also and i share this concern about the health and the long-range implications of what's happened. several people multiple individuals and freedom industries have pled guilty to environmental crimes in federal court which i'm very pleased about. let's talk about tosca. i was able to support a provision that would say if you're storing in close proximity to drinking water just to take that into consideration when you're viewing potentially hazardous chemicals. cam account and you to work with history to makeshift bipartisan reform bill is fully implemented and efficiently and fully? >> absently. i would commend the work of this
11:00 am
committee with sand and house leadership in passing that update to the legislation. the first time in history as you know, the epa has the ability to order testing to address chemicals that are going to be entered into the stream of commerce and that's a very big substantive change that exist. there are many deadlines. >> i would add in tsca, i'm running out of time, in tsca would actually expanded the epa's reach. so when you ask, if you're wanting, you know, get rid of the epa or doesn't have a value, i voted to expand that reach at epa to make sure that i've clean water and if this bill happens in a community around this country what's happened in flint, michigan, doesn't have a far-reaching applications that it does. thank you very much. >> senator cardin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. pruitt, welcome to the committee. thank you for your willingness
11:01 am
to serve her country. i want to talk about the chesapeake bay program. we talked about that in my office and i explained and i will do quickly that this is a program that was developed at the state level. with the states better in the watershed including delaware. my colleague senator carper pickets the state of the locals have determined how best to reach of their pollution targets in order to help preserve the chesapeake bay, the largest estuary in the northern hemisphere. it's group important. it's complicated. it doesn't flush itself as many bodies of water does. it has reduction of oyster crops. there are so many problems. all the stakeholders have gotten together, they worked out a plan. the federal government is part of that plan. it's enforced to the team dl program. and it is been agreed to by the local governments. it was challenged, the tmdl, including you join the lawsuit, the supreme court refused to overturn the court of appeals,
11:02 am
supporting the use of the tmdl. if you are confirmed will you support the federal role in the chesapeake bay program as envisioned by the partners and stakeholders in forcing the tmdl if necessary? >> yes. as i indicated at the time we had together, i really commend the six states that joined together to get the chesapeake bay and to try to set a level of point source and nonpoint source are discharged into the chesapeake bay. there were concerns, though if he was playing initially but to the litigation epa has acknowledged the role is more informational and there was concern in all, about the mississippi river basin and the precedent was set in the matter and that's what spawned our litigation. but i really want to emphasize to you that process represents what should occur for states to join together an injury to an agreement to address water quality issues and evolve epa to serve the role is supposed to serve the something should be commended and celebrated. and it relates in forcing that
11:03 am
tmdl, i can commit to you i will do so spirit part of the partnership is to bike resources. there are several programs that find initiatives within the chesapeake bay watershed, probably the largest is the state revolving funds do with wastewater. will you support the federal government partnership through funding these programs that are critically important to make the advancements in the chesapeake bay watershed? >> yes, senator. i believe that the grantmaking role of the epa as we talked about in your office is very important to stitch across this country, whether it's revolving -- but grantmaking in general is very important and i will commit to you in that regard that i would do so with respect to the chesapeake bay. >> i want to continue on clean water for one moment. we've had significant problems with safe drinking water and clean water. let me ask you a preliminary question.
11:04 am
do you believe there is any safe level of lead that can be taken into the human body, particularly a young person? >> senator, that something i have not reviewed nor know about. i would be very concerned about any level of lead going into the drinking water or obviously human consumption but i've not looked at a scientific research on that. the clean water act provides for federal guidance as to acceptable clean water. it's enforced by the state. so my question to you in regards to clean water is what steps we take to make sure that our children are safe courts we saw in flint, michigan, the tragedy occur. where do you think the federal government needs to strengthen its regulatory roles to make sure that our children are safe from lead? >> with flint, michigan, is an example of the late response by the epa. there should've been more done on corrosion control programs
11:05 am
with the flint, michigan, system. as you know under the clean water act, and the safe drinking water act, if there's an emergency situation, the epa can enter an emergency order to address those kinds of concerns. i think there should've been a more fast response, a more rapid response to flint, michigan. i think with respect to water quality it is infrastructure. water infrastructure is aboard. as you indicate the states play a vital role in that process and there needs to be more cooperation between epa and the states spirit just i understand, you have filed or participated in several lawsuits against the epa's involvement saying that the locals should have the responsibility. if you are confirmed, will you support federal enforcement, particularly and multistate issues, where the only way we can get enforcement is at the federal level? >> i believe that is a vital role of vp. as i indicated with air quality,
11:06 am
water all the comp issues across state lines, there is an enforcement mechanism that is important and would seek to do so if confirmed as epa administrator. >> thank you. >> senator fischer. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you, mr. pruitt, for being here today but also for accepting the nomination. it is a service and a sacrifice not just for you but for your family as well to step forward to serve this country, so thank you, sir for being willing to do that. >> thank you, senator. >> for your testimony i do thank you, and i would like to first of all let you know that nebraskans, they've been really affected by the epa in many instances, and i will give you some examples of that. nebraska public power utilities are grappling with how they could ever comply with the epa's
11:07 am
carbon emission reduction mandates. the city of omaha is struggling with the agencies expensive cso mandate and drinking water affordability. nebraska farmers are waiting a new crops, technology products that are stuck in a broken regulatory process. our biofuel investors and producers are desperate for certainty under the rfs. homebuilders, transportation stakeholders and local county officials are concerned about the jurisdictional expansion to control our states water resources. communities and small business owners feared that the epa's ozone mandate will start potential economic development and growth in our state -- stunt. as result of the activist role comes the epa has played for the past eight years, families are concerned about the futures of their livelihood.
11:08 am
we all want clean air and we all want clean water. that is one point that end of each and every person here agrees on. but with the epa's tremendous impact on americans lives, each and every day, it is important that the agency the open, transparent, and answerable for its actions. given these concerns along with the many others that have been and will continue to be discussed today, what steps we take as the epa administrator to provide relief for american families that are face to live with of epa rules? >> senator, you mention open, transparent rulemaking. there are concerns that have been expressed recently with respect to regulation through litigation where groups initiate litigation against the epa and the next is government, and set of policy through something
11:09 am
called us to an subtle process. i think this body as well as the u.s. house have looked at those kinds of issues we talk about open transparency, there's a reason why the administered procedures act exists. it is intended to provide notice to those that are going to be impacted with rules to give an opportunity to offer, and to inform the regulators on the impact of those rules. it's their obligation of the regulators to take those things into consideration and finalize rules. otherwise the act and arbitrary and capricious way. it's important that process get here, to give voice to all americans in balancing the environmental objectives we have also the economic harm that result. the supreme court spoke about that consistently of late and i would seek to lead the epa in such a way to ensure that openness and transparency. >> a couple of weeks ago we had a very good conversation about our shared vision for the epa, to bring common sense and
11:10 am
accountability back to that agency. i think that's going to go a long way in restoring confidence in the agency by the american people. what issue we did discuss was the renewable fuel standard and its importance to my home state of nebraska. we are the largest ethanol producer west of the missouri river. our neighbors to the east, senator ernst home state, they do lead the nation and ethanol production. so honoring the congressionally mandated timelines and the following requirements that are critical from an investment point of view, and also from a panning perspective, i think that this is especially relevant, and especially during the current farm crisis that we are seeing in the negative impact on people and agriculture across this nation. in our meeting you did express your commitment to me to honor
11:11 am
the law, and you echoed president-elect trump support for the statute itself and a strong rbl. and for the record can you please once again express your commitment to uphold the congressional intent of the rfs? >> yes. you said it well, to honor the intent and expression of the renewable fuel standard statute is very important but it's not the job of the minister or the epa to do anything other than if there's of the program according to the intent of congress. i commit to you to do so. and i would say this. the waivers that routinely offered by the administrator recently another waiver was offered. it should be used judiciously. there's a reason why congress put in that statute the statutory objectives. the market has changed since 2005 and the waiver authority that's been provided by this body is important. but that should be used judiciously. the action be complied with any force consistent with the will of congress.
11:12 am
>> thank you, sir. i would ask that you also tell us publicly what you told us that you are the timelines on the volume levels that are mandated by congress. >> yes. >> thank you, senator fischer. senator merkley. >> thank you, mr. chairman. over a number of years information started pouring into the epa that the estimate of the amount of fugitive methane escaping gas and oil drilling have been deeply underestimated. in 2011 the epa put out its best estimates based on the information that was being presented. this is relevant because methane is a global warming gas, more potent than co2. gas companies didn't like this because, well, it presented a vision of natural gas being more damaging environmentally kind folks at previously understood. devon energy is one of the groups that sought to cast a doubt on the scientific
11:13 am
information, and they came to you to be the spokesperson at the will you be our mouthpiece and casting doubt and send a letter we drafted to the epa? and you sent that letter, and i just want to ask first, are you aware that making is approximately 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas? >> i am, send it. the impact on speedy that's the answer, yes. it's a yes no question. and on a one to 10 scale, how concerned are you about the impacts of fugitive methane in driving global warming? >> methane as you indicated -- >> one to 10 scale, highly, 10, one, not so concerned? >> the quantities and at the seer compared to co2 is less but it is far more potent spirit are you concerned? highly concerned? >> i'm concerned. >> thank you. do you acknowledge sending this letter to the epa in october 2011?
11:14 am
>> center, that was sent to the epa, yes. with respect -- >> you acknowledge and 97% of the words came directly from devon energy? >> i have not looked at the percentages. >> the statement that is been analyzed many times is that all of the 1016 words except for 37 words were written directly by devon energy? >> that was a step those taken as attorney general representing the interest of our state. over 25% -- >> i didn't ask that question to i just asked if you copied the litter virtual word for word and you acknowledge it in the record. people can count it, it's correct. so a public office is about serving the public. there is a public concern over the impact of methane on global warming. there is scientific research showing that its farmers devastating than anticipated and far more -- but the user office as a direct extension of an oil company rather than a direct extension of interest of the public health of the people of
11:15 am
oklahoma. do you acknowledge that you presented a private oil companies position rather than the position developed by the people of oklahoma? >> center, with respect i disagree. the efforts i took as attorney general representing the interest of the state of oklahoma. the concern about -- >> excuse me, i'm asking the questions. you said earlier you listened to everyone. in drafting this letter you took an oil companies position, and then without consulting people who have diverse views about the impact, you sent it all. how can you present that is representing the people of oklahoma when you simply only consulted an oil company to push its own point of view for its drive it profit? >> there's an obligation to the epa to follow processes as established by this body. the cost benefit analysis under section 112 is something they have to engage in. there was a concern about the overestimated percentages the epa put in the record. it a record based challenge.
11:16 am
that was the expression of a letter to the epa and it was represented in the interest of the industry in the state of oklahoma. not a company. >> what of the groups, environment other groups you consult so you had a full perspective before representing simply a for-profit oil company using your official office and your official letterhead? >> i consult with other and vibrant officials in local that regulate the industry and learn from that with respect to concerns about the estimates the refund provided by the epa spent can you provide information shall you consulted in representing this letter specifically for devon energy? the information in the public realm only shows that they simply sigil letter, asked you to send it and just sent it without question spirit we have seven or so individuals and officer involved in these kinds of issues and we will collect information and provided pursuant to the chairman direction spirit your staff expand substantially while you were in charge from 251. why do you need an outside old company to draft a letter when 250 people working for you?
11:17 am
>> center, as i've indicated that was an effort that was protecting the state interest in making sure that we made the voices of all oklahomans are on a very important interest to our state spirit you said obligors on behalf of a single voice, the oil company. thank you. spirit i still have some time remaining for my question. is it anything you like to add that you felt you haven't had a chance? >> the clarification that the letter that was sent to the epa was not sent on behalf of any one company. this is not particular to devon energy, not particular to other companies in our state. it wasn't particular to the industry. oklahoma as a oil and gas industry which is vibratory state come just like many of you have industries in your state. there was concern expressed by the industry, many folks in the industry about the overestimating that has occurred without methane rule. that was the communication to the epa. it was a busy at the state, not the position of any one company.
11:18 am
>> senator moran. >> chairman, thank you very much. general pruitt, welcome. i want to see if i can get through three areas in the five minutes that i have. first of all, waters of the united states, despite there being an injunction against enforcement of the wotus who i'm told region seven, the region which kansas is part, those regional inspectors of increased their inspection of smaller animal feeding operations, unlike many states kansas has a well-established state permit system for small facilities as well as the delegate authority of this clean water act. rather than chordate the ep, rather than courtney do with the state agency the epa is engaged in stone inspections and its own enforcement on the small facility. often conflicting with state permitting in the enforcement process. these actions epa is one jurisdiction over features like grass waterways, culverts under
11:19 am
county roads, unconnected to the feeding operation and not situated in or near any body of water. general pruitt, what would your direction b2b epa staff to region seven and others in regard to their actions in enforcing wotus? >> as you indicated that it do want to acknowledge the same concerns that have been accessed by those individuals in all, a different groups with respect to the wotus definition that is subject to 31 state challenge that was consolidated before the sixth circuit. there's been a stay enforcement against that particular rupert supreme court last friday took up a matter of jurisdiction on that case so that at some complexity to this. i think the role of the epa is to seek to provide clarity on what the true definition, what the best definition is with respect to waters of the trinity. there's much discretionary given to the epa.
11:20 am
in a series of cases the lead up to the decision that have a provide treatment and medical or become the best thing the epa can do going forward is to reestablish that clearly so states and individuals know what's expected of them in compliance. >> thank you. i don't think i need to remind you in particular about the role that states play in clean water. but i would take a moment to highlight something that is all what i think for god in regulatory world of water, water quality. it is of the department of agriculture, a natural resource service in which land owners are assisted to the department of agriculture to improving water quality and quantity in a very partnership oriented, local effort that is individually different than the tremendous reach from the epa in washington, d.c. as compared to the local efforts i land owners themselves to work with usda to solve problems. let me move to my second question. it revolves the flint hills, a native grassland in our state.
11:21 am
the owners of those grasslands, these are thousands of acres of grass. they burn the prairie in the early spring for purposes of regeneration of that grass. it is learnt from the indians, lightning used to be the methods by which the grassland bird. less so now with the settlement that of part of our country. as a result of that annual burning, that is ecologically desirable, there is times in which a city, even one of her own, wichita, for example, is no longer, has been a nonattainment under the clean air act. i raise this issue to you in asking that you work, if you are confirmed, you work with the state of kansas in our local efforts to manage the burning of the national grasslands in the way that it's advantageous to wildlife habitat, as the same time an appropriate time an appropriate time separate search
11:22 am
of the air quality. but again not a heavy-handed approach that one size solution or a band fits the circumstance spirit if confirmed i look forward to working with you on that issue. >> finally, i want to highlight a small tent in kansas named pretty prairie. a typical name or perfect name for a dent in state. purdy perry is a published about 700 people. for several decades because of the need come because of high nitrates and water, cities water level -- because of high levels of nitrate in the city water system, the city has provided free bottled water to its citizens. and my question to you is, now the epa is disallowing the practice and requiring the city to spend approximately $2.4 million and raise the rates of our residents of that community by $80 a month while the community seemingly is satisfied with a solution of the city providing an alternative to the expense of a new water
11:23 am
treatment plant. i asked this question as again as an example of where a rigid decision as compared to a community-based decision that seems to prevail at the epa and would give you an opportunity to confirm to me what i hope you would say is that you work with communities. you as an oklahoman, we as a kansan and many members represent lots of community in which the population is insufficient to be able to pay for the costs of water or sewer treatment. we need financial resources to accomplish that but we also need commonsense solutions to the problem. >> i look forward to working with you on that issue as well as the other. there is a saying in delphi metal space, national standards, neighborhood solutions. i think it's important for the epa administrator, those in washington to learn as indicated as a state eye opening statement to listen and learn from those, from you with respect to the needs of your community and your state and collaborate with you
11:24 am
at a achieve good outcomes spirit i look forward to educating you on behalf of kansans. >> senator booker. >> good morning. i have a letter that i read that you sent to the committee last year and you said i am responsible for protecting the welfare of obama citizen. i assume that still correct and you believe that? >> yes, senator. >> entering the past six years in pursuit of that, if you look at the record of the lawsuit you filed against the epa, you joined or filed 14 lawsuits against the epa challenging clean air and clean water rules, yes? >> we've been involved in multiple pieces of litigation spirit i'm looking specific f-14 and i would like to put those 14 lawsuits into the record where you specifically challenge the epa on air quality. let me just go through some of those -- >> without objection spirit to refresh of election you filed two lawsuits challenging the epa
11:25 am
mercury and error toxic standard the 2015 national ambient air quality standards for ozone. you filed for lawsuits challenging the epa's clean power plan. you have sued to challenge the epa's 111b standards for carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants and you also sued challenge the epa's federal implementation plan for oklahoma under the regional haze rule. you are familiar with those i imagine? >> yes, senator spirit you filed a lawsuit challenging the epa cross state air pollution rules in new jersey were very concerned with. are you aware that rule which are lost in that suit, scientists estimate that alone prevents or hundred thousand asthma attacks naturally each of where? >> yes, your honor. this sender. >> i appreciated the promotion. let me continue to i don't have much time. each of these lawsuits i just went through and that we
11:26 am
analyzed all of them challenge attempt by the epa to reduce air pollution. in all of them except one you filed those lawsuits joining with polluting companies that were also suing the epa. and so in addition to finding those lawsuits, with some of the companies, you used a substantial portion of the letters from those companies, put them on your official attorney general letterhead. what was sort of surprising to me is that when you've been asked about this in the public, you basically represented that that's actually called representative government in my view, of the world. your testimony here says you were representing industry, representing the polluters. so with all of his lawsuit you filed and with all of these letters like this one went into the epa on behalf of the industries that are causing the pollution, it seems clear to me that the fact pattern on
11:27 am
representing polluters is clear, that you worked very hard on behalf of these industries that have their profits externalize, negative externalities are their pollution. and so i just have a question for you specifically about the children of oklahoma. do you not many kids in oklahoma roughly have asthma? >> i do not, senator. >> according to data published by the american lung association, more than 111,000 children in oklahoma, which is more than 10%, more more than one intent of all the kids in oklahoma have asthma. that's one of the highest asthma rates in the entire united states of america. now, this is a crisis similar data from where i was mayor. i can tell you firsthand, the devastating impacts that kids with asthma, asthma has on children and families affecting the economic well-being.
11:28 am
parents have to watch their children struggled to breathe. people enough to miss work rushing the kids to the hospital. one in 10 kids having a disease, missing school, is a significant problem. and so you have been writing letters on behalf of polluting industries. i want to ask you, how many letters did you write about this health crisis? if this is representative government, did you represent those children? i want to know what actions you have taken in the past six use in your capacity as protector of the welfare of oklahoma citizens to protect that welfare of those 111,000 children. did you ever let any of them write letters on your letterhead to the epa and did you even file one lawsuit, one lawsuit on behalf of those kids to reduce the air pollution in your state and help them to have a healthy life? >> center, i've provided a list to the gym with respect to enforcement steps were taken in multiple pieces of environmental
11:29 am
litigation. let me say to you with respect to some of the cases you refer to the estate has them in interest before it can bring those cases as you know. you can't just bring a lawsuit if you don't have standing. if there's not been some injury to the state. in each of those cases -- >> by time but if i could just say injury, clearly asthma is triggered and caused by air pollutants. clearly there is an air pollution problem, and the fact that you have not brought suits in any of the loan in which you have represented the industries that are causing the pollution is really problematic when you're going to take a position that is national supposed to be affecting this reality and asthma in a country is the number one reason why children in america, health reason, why children in america miss school. mr. chairman, thank you spirit i submit for the record for an article from the tulsa world from scott thompson, the headline is epa will be in good hands with scott pruitt scott
11:30 am
thompson is the executive director of the oklahoma department of environmental quality, talks about the excellent work done and ends with a quote epa will be in good hands with scott pruitt. i would point out between 2004-2008, we will submit this eight, we will submit this for the record, the most recent employers of obama administration senior epa officials sued the epa. .. the legal team has consistently shown deference to the legal
11:31 am
expertise at the department of deq. i cannot recall an instance where they did not allow us to pursue legal action when deemed necessary. finally, from mike turpin who is the former chairman of the oklahoma democratic party, the job of the epa is guaranteeing clean air and clean water. scott pruett has never compromised those with any actions he has taken. >> centered around. >> thank you. i noticed you didn't have the opportunity in the time allotted for senator booker's question. would would you care to finish your response with regard to the role that the states have in their ability to either participate in a suit and whether or not they have standing? >> thank you. as i indicated in our office when we spend time together, the
11:32 am
enforcement role in the state of oklahoma is different than other states. we have multiple agency that have frontline enforcement authority with respect to our environmental law. the role that we play in my office is largely a general counsel role. we provide guidance and in many cases we have initiated in conjunction with them but mainly they enforce action at their level. many of them have dozens of attorneys on their staff. you mentioned several of the cases. i believe the air pollution rule is a very important statute that epa should enforce. i believe if there is downwind states contributing to nonattainment, excuse me upwind states contributing to nonattainment there should be responsibilities. we have that issue with texas at times. the lawsuit was not questioning
11:33 am
the authority of the epa to regulate under the prostate air pollution role. it was more that they were trying to assess damages against certain states that were in excess of their allocated share. each of those cases, i would ask you to remember, i'm an advocate in behalf of the state of oklahoma. there's a state interest that has to be in play to say that any of those cases is about anyone company is simply not right. there is no standing that i have is attorney general to bring a case on behalf of a private citizen or company. there has to be a standing injury to the states interest to bring those cases. i would ask you to consider that as we go through those cases you mentioned earlier. >> thank you and thank you sir for your complete response. also, as as chairman of the subcommittee on oversight of the epa, i have had the opportunity to look at their bases for the way they make their decisions known and the logic they use in
11:34 am
getting to those decisions. we had a chance to talk about it in my office the other day. one of the items i brought up was the fact that we had received comments from the small business administration office of advocacy, a copy of what i've got and i would like to have it put into the record. >> thank you. >> with this, this was a letter that was sent to epa in october october 2014, requesting the epa withdraw the proposed waters of the u.s. role, the lotus rule, and reevaluate the impacts the role would have on american small business. this is a federal agency requesting the epa take a second look at a proposed rule. bpa refused this request and issued the final rule that we have today. what are your thoughts on this and would you, if you are approved and become the next administrator of the epa, would you take a second look at whether or not they had a valid reason for having the waters of
11:35 am
the u.s. rule considered again? >> i think the response of the six circuit and when we are presently with litigation, there are definitely need to address that on a prospective basis. historically, as you know, under the clean water act and even before it was passed, the waters of the united states equal navigable waters. we know from a couple cases that led up from the most recent case that the clean water act, it's something more but what that more is has to be determined and assessed. as i indicated earlier the most important thing is to bright divide certainty to make sure the clean water act helped those at the state level no where the boundaries are of where they have jurisdiction and where they don't so we can have regulations that are fair, equitable and uncertainty is not created.
11:36 am
>> in the losses you brought against the environmental protection agency on behalf of the state of oklahoma, would it be fair to say that a number of those are based upon the environmental protection agency paul failing to follow the own rules and the propagation of those roles. >> yes, senator, whether it's the clean powerplant case or the lotus case or the matt's case, the courts agreed that the epa exceeded its authority. the epa is not active within the framework that congress established in performing the role that it's supposed to perform. that's the reason i mention my in my opening statement that the process matters and rule of law and federalism matters. it matters because congress had said so. it's congress that gives authority to the epa. it's not a legislative body. it's important for that agency to act within the framework within the authority congress has provided in doing its job. in leading the epa, if confirmed , if i do that effectively, it will provide confidence, certainty to those that are regulated to know what's expected of them and improve our water near because of that. >> thank you.
11:37 am
>> senator marty. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this morning, nasa had declared 2016 the hottest year on record that has been capped. donald trump has called global warming a hoax caused by the chinese. you agree that global warming is a hoax. >> i do not, senator. >> so donald trump is wrong. >> i do not believe climate change is a hoax. >> okay, that is important for the president to hear. >> mr. pruitt, you have made a career working on behalf of the fossil fuel industry to protect public health and the environment. you have seen sued the epa 19 times to stop cleaning on water protections. eight of those cases are still ongoing including litigation that challenges critical rules that reduce levels of hazardous smog, mercury and carbon
11:38 am
pollution. as epa administrator, you would be in a position to serve as plaintiff, defendant, defendant, judge and jury on these ongoing eight lawsuits, and that would be wrong. in your ethics agreement, you have said you would not participate in any matter that is ongoing litigation within one year, but isn't it true that these lawsuits may very well continue for much longer than one year. >> senator i have the letter from the ethics counsel at the epa. the one year time period is intended to address covered entities that i serve in chairmanship or an officer capacity. the seminary, the windows ministry, those are covered entities. if there's a matter that arises before the epa in one year time period, a matter or case that involves those entities than the recusal would be in order but that's really the focus of the one year timeline. >> will you agree to recuse yourself from those lawsuits which you brought as the attorney general of oklahoma
11:39 am
against the epa, not just for one year, but for the entirety of the time that you are the administrator of the epa? we commit to doing that. >> for clarity, i think it's important to note that the one your time. again is for the covered entities that were highlighted in the epa letter. with respect to pending litigation, the epa ethics counsel has indicated with respect to particular matters and parties there will be an opportunity to get counsel at the epa from that point to the permanent what steps will be taken -- >> are you saying you will not recuse yourself from the actual matters which are suing the epa on right now as attorney general of oklahoma for the time that you are the head of the epa. >> i'm not saying that at all senator. >> you are saying that. will you recuse yourself. >> i'm saying that the epa ethics counsel has indicated those cases will require review by the ethics counsel and
11:40 am
recusal may potentially be in order and i will follow the guidance. >> this is a clear line for the american public given your record in suing of the epa on all of these matters that if you don't agree to recuse yourself, then again you become plaintiff, defendant, defendant, judge and jury on the cases you are bringing right now as attorney general of oklahoma against the epa. the epa is for all of the people of the united states, not just the fossil fuel industry of oklahoma. you are not committing, and i think that's a big mistake, to recuse yourself from those cases. it is critical, and moreover, you also are in a position to initiate regulations that could overturn a smog protections, carbon pollution protections that are right now on the books that you are suing as attorney
11:41 am
general of oklahoma to overturn. would you commit to not regulating, promulgating new regulations and any of the areas where you right now are suing the epa. would you make a commitment that you would recuse yourself from doing that. >> let me be clear, senator, we talked about this in your office. i very much enjoyed the conversation we had in addition to this area we talked about. i have every willingness and desire to recuse as directed by epa ethics counsel. if directed to do so, i will do so. there is a difference, as you know between pending litigation of a particular matter with specific parties and respective rulemaking. rulemaking goes through the process. >> what the american people are expecting is the epa doesn't turn into every polluters ally. the only way to ensure that is for you to recuse yourself from the cases you have brought because most of them are to
11:42 am
overturn the clean air, clean water smog regulations. to create an appearance of independence, it's critical you recuse yourself otherwise, honestly, people are going to think it's not just the box guarding the hen house, it's the fox destroying the henhouse because you haven't distanced yourself from the actual litigation that you have initiated from most of the key issues that you are going to have responsibility for protecting, in terms of the public health of the entire country. >> senator i can say say to you i will recuse as directed by the epa ethics counsel. >> what i'm saying to you is you should start out saying i'm going to recuse myself from anything that relates to any litigation that i have initiated as the attorney general of oklahoma that questions the clean air, clean water, climate change or smog warmer creep protections which are right now
11:43 am
on the books that the epa is honored to protect. if you don't do that we will have a fundamental conflict of interest presented by your presence as the administrator of the epa. it just gets down to being a matter as simple as that. >> the senator's time has expired. for clarification, will you fully follow the advice of the epa ethics counsel. >> yes, mr. chairman. >> additional clarification regarding conflicts of interest, i note the letter to this committee on january 4, and i'm cementing to the record, this is the office of government ethics, we believe this nominee is in compliance with ethical laws and regulations governing conflict of interest. there was also a letter yesterday from the director office of government ethics spotting to a letter from senator carper and democrats
11:44 am
regarding his potential conflicts of interest and they say, if the office of government ethics has transmitted a certified financial disclosure report and an ethics agreement to the senate, which they have, it means the office of government ethics is satisfied that all financial conflicts of interest have been identified and resolved. senator herbst. >> thank you mr. chair and attorney general pruitt. i enjoyed our conversation both one-on-one and in a group setting as well. i would like to go back and revisit our discussion on the rf f. as you know, iowa is home to 43 ethanol refineries. we are the largest producer of ethanol west or east of the missouri river. president-elect trump reiterated his support for biofuel while he was campaigning across iowa and all across the midwest.
11:45 am
those areas of the country over overwhelmingly supported his candidacy and led to his victory thank you for stating once again that you would honor his commitment to biofuels by carrying out the rfs as intended by congress. policy certainty is key for economic growth and this is something we discussed in my office. unfortunately, as a result of uncertainties surrounding the epa renewable fuel volume targets in 2014, 2015 and 2016 second-generation biofuel investment decreased and proposed projects moved overseas. fortunately the epa has recently changed its course and released updated volume targets to meet the levels prescribed by congress. if confirmed, as administrator, what would you do to continue to provide certainty so investment
11:46 am
can continue to happen right here at home in the united states. >> senator as as you indicated in our meeting, the importance of the infrastructure investment that has occurred relies upon the law that was passed in 2005 and updated and updated in 2007. as i indicated earlier, the latitude discretion that has been given to the epa administrator with respect to waving the statutory target should be judiciously used. it shouldn't be automatic. it should be something the epa administrator seeks to comply with and adhere to because of the will of this body. i think those waivers are in order, but with respect to market conditions, we have less consumption today, more fuel-efficient vehicles and market conditions have changed since 2005. despite that the that the epa administrator should not use that to undermine or put into question the commitments made by this body. >> thank you for your commitment
11:47 am
to the rfs and the intention of congress. i also want to touch on an issue you mentioned in your testimony which is the level of fear and distrust many folks have of the epa. when i am home in iowa, i host town halls all across the state, and i just want to hear what's going on in their communities. what i hear, without fail at these town halls is that folks are frustrated with the epa and the gotcha mentality that has stemmed from the agency. my constituents tell me the epa is out to get them rather than work with them. there is a huge lack of trust between many of my constituents and the epa. if we take a look specifically at the lotus rule, iowans truly feel that the epa ignored their comments and concerns, through them under the rug and men just moved forward. we know that the epa relied on
11:48 am
gimmicky mass emails and social media events to prop up their message and then they used those tactics to insinuate that anyone who had reasonable concern about the lotus rule are somehow in favor of dirty water, which is absolutely ridiculous. this type of culture that was created under the obama administration has no place here. mr. pruitt, what what you plan to do in your first days as the administrator to improve the relationship epa has with the hard-working folks across the country? >> senator as i indicated in my opening, the paradigm that if your pro energy your anti- environment and vice versa, we have shown for decades that we can grow our economy and be a good steward of our air land and water and we need to get back to that. federalism is at the heart of
11:49 am
many environmental statutes that have been passed by this body and the reason for that is it's the states that have the resources, the expertise and understanding what the unique challenges are for the environment in improving our water and that it's not that they don't care about it. they indicated an authority to the states would create a problem, that's not what i'm advocating, and i think we here in the marketplace marketplace that we need a partnership between the epa along with the states in performing their roles. if we have that partnership opposed to punishment, as opposed to uncertainty and rest that we currently see in the marketplace i think we will have better air quality as a result. >> i think i look forward to that partnership and transparency. >> senator duckworth. >> thank you. >> mr. pruitt, i want to clarify your response to senator ernst on this in congressional intent
11:50 am
when it comes to the rfs. what i want to know and what the people of illinois, we are also a great producer of ethanol, what we need to know is where exactly you stand on rfs. are you the attorney general who sided with big oil three years ago to slam the rfs. you said it was unworkable and also that it was a flawed program. i'm a little confused that what you're saying today because are you that mr. pruitt or are you the scott pruitt today who is saying all the right things in this confirmation hearing and in meetings to try to reassure rfs states by repeating nice sounding but ultimately vague and hollow mantra that if confirmed you would enforce the rfs law as written by congress as you and i are quite well aware of such a statement essentially dodges the critical issue for biofuel producers and workers because under the law, the epa has considerable discretion to addressed the renewable obligation in a manner
11:51 am
that you would argue is contrary to congressional intent yet may be compliant with the explicit letter of a statute. as epa administrator you can still technically be in compliance with congress with the law, but actually be working against it, and your answers today have not clarified that. my question to you is this, which specific actions as epa taken since 2007 while administering that you are not compliant with. >> the administrator and the epa routinely misses the targets and it creates great uncertainty in the marketplace. in fact, some years they missed the timeline by over a year or two years. >> so let me ask you this, yes or no, do you believe congress intended for the rfs to increase
11:52 am
the amount of renewable fuel blended in our nation's liquid transportation supply. >> without question. >> all right. >> my second question then is with yes or no do you believe congress intended for the rfs to be a stable policy that drives private investment in the renewable industry. >> yes. >> finally, if confirmed will you commit to opposing any and all proposals to move the point of obligation under the rfs program from her finders to lender. >> as you know the epa is involved in a comment. and to prejudge the outcome, i would not be able to do that. there are many aspects of the program from the trading program to the monitoring of fraud in the system that need to be better administrated by the epa. these have been administration issues. the epa has uncertainty. we talked a minute ago with the senator about the amount of investment that's gone into the infrastructure because of the 2005 law. law. those individuals need to have
11:53 am
certainty and confidence that the rfs will be enforced and administered pursuant to the desire of congress. >> but if you were to do that you would actually have to answer yes because to move the program from refiners to blenders is one of the ways you can actually undermine the rfs standards as intended by congress which you just said was intended to increase the amount of biofuels blended into the fuel supply of the united states. this is my problem. on one hand your track record shows you someone who opposes the rfs were here in front of congress and in meetings with senators, you are giving these bag answers that sound right but really opens all sorts of back doors for you to oppose renewable fuel standards. that is troublesome because all across the midwest, for those of us who have fought to strengthen national security by lessening our dependence on foreign oil, i'm incredibly concerned about the future of biofuels produced
11:54 am
under a scott pruitt epa. i'm also wondering what you're going to do in terms of protecting the environment. in your answer about what the role of the epa, one of the first questions you got, you spent five minutes talking before you said protect the environment. you talked all about reducing epa influence overstates for a good five minutes before you actually got to the environment. from my farmers, my corn and soybean producers in my biofuel industry, the rfs is critical in order to continue that and i would rather burn american-made, american grown corn and soybean in my gas tank that i would oil from the middle east. i've already been to war fought over oil in the middle east and i don't intend to allow it to continue to do that. that's why this is so critical, not just for jobs in illinois
11:55 am
and agriculture but for our national security when it comes to where were going to get our energy supply. i'm out of time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator duckworth. >> senator let me me say to you the role of an administrator of the epa is to enforce and administer the rfs program to carry out the objective of that statute. those targets that have been put in by this body need to be respected. the discretion authority the waiver authority administrator needs to be judicious we used to address those content concerns that we talked about and so i don't you to have any concern about the intense, objective or or will if confirmed of carrying out the rfs mandate or the statute. >> that very answer concerns me because you've not actually said you going to stick with it. >> i would like to submit for the record a letter from the american farm bureau federation which strongly supports the nomination of scott pruitt as administrator of the u.s. environmental protection agency and urges a vote in favor of his confirmation. the second is a letter from the democrat attorney general of the
11:56 am
state of arkansas, former mcat atty. general dustin mcdaniel has this to say about his work on this damn phosphorus level in the illinois river waters. recent press accounts unfairly miss represented the work that was done by mr. pruitt and his team pay he was a defender of science and good policy and has appropriate tools to protect the environment of the state. i saw hands how he bridged clinical divides and managed multiple agency agendas to reach an outcome that was heralded by most wettable observers as both positive and historic. senator boseman. >> inky mr. chairman and thank you atty. general general pruitt for your willingness to serve and your family. not everyone realizes these really are family affairs that affect everyone. in recent years epa has made an increasingly difficult for arkansas to manage its delegated national pollution discharge
11:57 am
elimination system. too often the permit rulemaking's or other actions for review are returned with demands far more restrictive, additional expensive data collection is required and other costly requirements. new leadership has an opportunity to correct this coercive federalism and instead restore cooperative federalism as intended. the states have the expertise and local knowledge necessary to administer environmental programs. epa has the opportunity to play significant role in supporting a move back to cooperative federalism. can you please explain how you plan to change the epa state dynamic. my experience with epa being on transportation of the house, being ranking member on water member there and ranking member
11:58 am
of the senate, the epa, their attitude as we are with you unless you come out with a finding that is contrary and then we are going to do it our way. can you address that. >> i think two things. one, as we indicated earlier rule of law making sure that the authority granted to the states under implementation plans delegation under certain clean water provisions, that's respected. also, i think the epa needs to provide more assistance to the state and working partnership and be proactive. those administrators we have across the country need to be seen as partners are not adversaries. i think restoring that confidence, restoring that relationship and seeking to do so is very important in carrying out this partnership that we know exists under the various environmental statutes. >> triggered. >> for the past eight years epa
11:59 am
has acted as a protocol are of the obama administration time and again. we have seen rules develop not based on science but political ideology. when rules are being released, states states and private sector and even congress have had trouble getting epa to show the signs science that develop these rules. can we expect epa to be more transparent? in other words how the rules are being developed in the science behind them. you continue to allude to this and i think it's so important that as administrator of the epa, can we count on you to base all of your decisions based on the rule of law, not on on the administrators or even your own political ideology? >> absolutely sen. in response to your question, public participation is important. there is a reason why rulemaking , that you involve those that are impacted by
12:00 pm
rulemaking because you want to understand the impact environmentally and otherwise to make sure you craft rules and regulations that take all those things into consideration. hearing the voice of all americans, responding to those comments in the record before rules are finalized, transparency, objectivity, commitment to process is very important in my view of restoring the confidence of the american people. >> so again, releasing the scientific data behind the would be something that you would very much support. >> yes senator. >> thank you. a problem that the committee faces with the current administration is lack of communication. time and again epa did not respond to questions from committee members, or at the very least, it took took months to respond. under your leadership, can we expect epa to get committee members answers in a timely fashion. >> yes, senator as i indicated
12:01 pm
in my opening statement, listening is an important role of leadership and listening to the voices of folks here in congress, as i went through and met with many of you through this process, there were issues particular to your state that you made me aware of, and i, if confirmed seek to be very active in listening to the needs with respect to your state and respond to this body question. >> money just comment on the arkansas oklahoma issue. i was the congressman in that district so i inherited that in 2001 and i've been working on this for 15 years. i appreciate you and atty. general mcdaniels doing a very good job of getting things done. on the other hand, the idea that somehow you were soft, in fact i would argue that the agreement that was reached was way too restrictive and is probably one of the most restrictive watersheds as far as
12:02 pm
requirements of any place in the united states. >> as you know senator, in that process we actually selected a biologist from the university to engage in a scientific study on what the phosphorus level should be in air quality of the water and it was determined at the end of that process that .037 was the right standard and is enforceable on both sides of the border for the first time in history. >> i understand and i understand and i commend you on the process. the implication here is somehow, you came up with a deal that was too soft. if anything i would argue it was perhaps a little bit too harsh, but i do appreciate the process and i know that you and our former atty. general were able to do something that have been going on for decades. >> thank you senator. >> you've been added now for about two hours. if you can stay with us until we
12:03 pm
finish the first round of questioning, we have about five or six additional questions coming. senator harris is next and we will break after. >> i would like to ask and sent to signet for the record a legal brief against mercury six rule which he supported and stated in that brief that i will just quote it says human exposure to mercury resulting from coal electric generating utilities is exceedingly small that's a quote i also asked for consent to submit to the record and article "a forty-year employee of the department of oklahoma quality that has him saying these words. he has advocated and stood up for businesses, companies or the energy industry and other pollutants at the expense of people who have to drink the water or brief the air. other statements have been introduced for the record saying quite a different thing.
12:04 pm
i think it's only fair to go to someone who has worked there for 40 years that has quite a different view than the one hour witnesses express. >> without a doubt. thank you. >> as an attorney general, i know former atty. general of california, i know we as attorney general's have several duties which include representing our clients, state agencies and the discussion in power to initiate lawsuits in our independent capacity. would you agree with that. >> some states provide more latitude -- >> does your state. >> we do not provide a constitutionally -- >> have you never exercise your independent capacity as attorney general to bring illegal action. >> i would have to know more specifics about what you're referring to. in response to your question --
12:05 pm
>> have you ever exercised your independent capacity of attorney general of your state to initiate legal action. >> the litigation that we have been engaged in have been in consultation. >> largely, so you have exercise your independent capacity as attorney general of your state. >> i don't know -- >> you don't know if you have? you've been atty. general for seven years. >> six years ashley. >> i've read that you have initiated 14 lawsuits in your independent capacity of atty. general of oklahoma and apparently seven of the cases have been resolved, six of which you have lost. my question is, i hear you are a lover of baseball. what was your batting average. >> it was nearly about 300 which is good for a second baseman. >> my calculation is it's 142. moving on, would you agree as attorneys who have the responsibility for doing the work of justice, in particular as an attorney general, that we make decisions based on
12:06 pm
propriety and impropriety? we make decisions on what is not only an actual conflict but what is an appearance of conflicts. degree of that's important. >> i believe that's important. >> on this issue of whether or not you would be recused if you are nominated and actually voted in as the administrator of the pa, you have said you will recuse yourself from the cases your office has been involved with if the ethics committee advises this. do you believe you also have the discretion to recuse yourself. >> i believe the rules of conduct in addition -- >> you believe you have the discretion to recuse yourself from the cases you are involved in. >> i actually have an obligation in those instances as directed by this council. >> independent of any direction from ethics counsel, do you agree you have the discretion to recuse yourself from those cases. >> i believe it's important to maintain -- >> i'm asking about whether or not you have discretion and power to recuse yourself. >> there is discretion to recuse.
12:07 pm
>> clearly. you are familiar with the clean air act, yes. >> i'm sorry? >> you're familiar with the clean air act. >> i am. >> and the clean air act recognizes california authority to recognize california standards for new motorcycle above and beyond federal standards for the epa has recognized california's authority to issue new motor vehicle pollution standards that go above and beyond federal standards. in your opening statement, you write it is not epa's mission to be against sectors in general or a state. will you commit to upholding that same standard and recognizing california's authority to issue its own standards. >> as you indicated, california is regulating those standards before the pa was created which is why the california waiver exists under statute. >> you agree to uphold that same standard that has been held. >> i agree to review that as each administrator before me has.
12:08 pm
>> you agree to uphold it. >> agreeing and upholding are two different things. >> senator as you know, they have in the past, not granted the waiver and granted the waiver. >> what is your intention. >> i don't know without going through the process to determine it and one would not want to presume the outcome. >> in the 14 cases that have been previously mentioned, in each of those cases, regulated companies were also a party to your suit. as i cracked. >> in some instances. >> and most of them. can you name a few instances in which you have filed a lawsuit in your independent capacity against the corporate entity for violating state or federal pollution laws. >> i have a list here. >> can you name them. >> sure. there is a list -- >> can you name one. >> yes, the first is the egg farm and clean up large hand operation that affected water
12:09 pm
quality. >> did you file a lawsuit in that case. >> i did senator. >> what was the outcome. >> we received a good outcome against them. >> in the name of that entity was what. >> may hard egg farm. >> can you name any other cases where you have actually filed a lawsuit against the corporate entity for violating federal pollution laws. >> in fact that case was brought in conjunction with the pa. i want to address something, when when you say independent capacity, those cases you refer to were an extension of the deq in the state of oklahoma and agencies that have authority granted in them by this body. >> i understand that role, but that is you representing your client. i'm asking you about your independent capacity of attorney general of your state. let's move on. >> i would suggest the senators time has expired. >> thank you. i would like to introduce for the record a letter by jd strong who is the director of the oklahoma department of wildlife
12:10 pm
conservation who, in reference to the submission recently by the ranking member makes reference that a former employee who is retired from the state of oklahoma and currently serving as vice chairman of the oklahoma chapter of the sierra club so the references are from someone who is no longer a state employee but the vice-chairman of the oklahoma chapter of the sierra club. this letter from mr. strong talks about the efforts by mr. pruitt that says for the past six years he has been instrumental in many of our successes and has never asked me to compromise regulatory efforts to benefit industry. on the contrary, all of her projects projects in cases that involve his office more often than not resulted in more stringent production. he has been a strong ally in
12:11 pm
defending our ability to continue the progress we made in protecting oklahoma's environment. >> mr. chairman, let me ask, for the record, on behalf of of the articles for mr. pruitt's claim on litigation against possible companies, some were brought by his predecessor and some are fraud cases and the third point, the case against bp was filed and left dormant, and also he fought against the participation of state with the blowers in reference to we on action. >> thank you mr. chairman and general pruitt it's good to see you again. thank you for your willingness to serve you and your family, as you know it's a team effort so i want to thank them as well.
12:12 pm
i appreciated your open statement, in particular your written statement. i want to emphasize we all want clean air and clean water. my state of alaska has some of the cleanest water and air in pristine environment in the world. your emphasis on the ability to do both, to growing economy and develop resources and protect the environment is very important and i appreciate that focus. i believe the epa needs a serious course correction. as senator ernst talked about, there is a lot of anger and fear of this agency throughout many parts of the country and i believe you are the right person to provide that course correction and do something which is very important and that is regaining the trust of the american people that i think has been lost in a lot of places in america because of the overreach and lack of focusing on the law. there has been a lot of
12:13 pm
discussion about cooperative federalism. can you explain in more detail? is that you are term or is that a term you came up with that or is that something directed by congress. >> directed by congress senator. >> so in the clean air act and the clean water act, who was given what entity primary responsibility over clean air and clean water in the united states. >> as you know senator, under the clean air act there's something called state implementation plan that the epa and states review together but the states about responsibility. >> is it correct that it's actually in the baldness is the primary response ability under the clean air act and clean water act. >> it is. >> and who directed that. >> congress. >> when you're talking about cooperative federalism, that's not something scott pruitt invented, you are are focusing
12:14 pm
on the congress. >> probably more so than any statutes that have been adopted by congress. many pieces of legislation congress has been very explicit and specific in saying it's cooperative federalism and the role of the state should be considered. >> in the states and entities that sued to stop that rule, 32 states. democrats and republicans and independents, do you think this is an example of cooperative federalism, and if not, if you are confirmed, what what are you going to do to get back to what is not a scott pruitt idea, it's the direct direction of the congress of the united states. >> senator when you about the relationship between the epa and the states, the states states
12:15 pm
are not mere vessels of federal will. they don't exist to carry out federal dictation. there are requirements and obligations in authority, jurisdiction granted to the state under the statute. that is to be respected. when it's not respected, that is what spawned most of the litigation referred here today. it matters that the states participate in the way that congress has directed and they been unable to do so for a number of years. >> so cooperative federalism, you are carrying out the will of congress. >> that's right. the expertise, the resources, the ability the ability to fix resources at the local level is important for entire country. >> i'm a former atty. general myself who sued the epa and some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, judge booker's comments, i think you
12:16 pm
try to equate a little bit, suing the epa, not caring for oklahoma children. >> you care to care about oklahoma children. >> of course, i have some sitting behind me. >> 14 lawsuits, what has been the primary focus of those lawsuits. it's not that you don't care about the environment, is a. >> actually not. i care very much about the environment. it is to restore the relationship and ensure the relationship that congress has directed, the role of the state in improving our environment. there is an idea in washington that the states, those in oklahoma or alaska or other parts of the country don't care about the water we drink in the air we breathe. the farmers and ranchers, those in industry in the state of oklahoma, most of them are very committed. when they have not been we have taken enforcement action on them. >> just one final question, a lot of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle spent a lot of time vilifying the oil and gas industry, somehow bad
12:17 pm
actors, polluters, according to the american petroleum institute, 362,000 oklahomans work in the oil and gas industry or related service sectors. are these people bad actors? are they polluters? can you describe, you talk about the good people. who are these people and are you representing them? are the evil people. >> no senator they want to comply with the law. they want to know what's expected of them. they care about the air they breathe in the water they drink. they want to make sure epa is partnering with state agency and industry to make sure that occurs. >> are these hundreds of thousands of people part of that industry. >> absolutely. 25% 5% of our state budget is from the industry. this is a state concern. we have significant regulation over this industry. we have oversight over these
12:18 pm
issues we have regulatory bodies to ensure that the air we breathe in the water we drink is clear in the state of oklahoma. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman and mr. pruitt for be willing to serve this administration for your interest in public service and your past public service. >> thank you. >> i want to talk about some of the constituents in my state and the challenges we face. first we had millions of people's lives upended with super storms sandy. we had millions of people. parents who lost their children who drowned because of the surges of water coming through their home, through the street. the devastation was unparalleled in my state. it was just something we had never seen before. we are going to be looking to you to protect these families and protect these communities because we know with global climate change, the incident of
12:19 pm
super storms and violent weather impacts is changing. it's very different. we've already told folks that you believe climate change is real. you believe sea levels are rising. >> i believe the epa has obligations to address the co2 issue. in doing so they need to follow the processes set up by congress i think it's very important to do both. >> you studied this issue of sea level. you do realize they are rising and it's one of the reasons why the storm surges were so high and devastated communities all across new york state. i want you to be vigilant because lives are at stake. i think you have the purview to do that. will you be vigilant. >> we will have his address those issues that we talked about in your office and i appreciate your passion on this issue. >> one of the other issues that we talked about that i think is
12:20 pm
equally as concerning is the issue of mercury that has been raised in asthma rates and groundwater pollution. i've looked to your record. most of the lawsuits you filed as attorney general were related to businesses, specifically what was important for your state in terms of employers and businesses. the few lawsuits you did file about human safety were few and far between. as head of the epa, you will have a much more important role to play. i will talk specifically about mercury. if you you believe mercury is a threat to public health but oppose removing it from power plants because it's too costly, what then do you think you should do or what should be done to address the mercury pollution >> let me say senator mercury is
12:21 pm
something, it is a hazardous air pollution under section 112. it is something the epa has the authority to regulate and should regulate but it should do so in the framework established by this body. they did not follow the cost benefit obligations. it's not that the benefits outweigh the cost, it's just that they simply disengaged in a proper record based support for the rule. that goes back to earlier questions with other senators about the process mattering. being committed to the rule of law and the rulemaking authority that congress has given the epa in making sure that the rules are passed, that they can be upheld in court. >> but i need to also to be worried about human health. i understand there is a cost, but when you're talking about lives, when you're talking about children who can't breathe, i've been to the er at two in the morning with children who can't breathe. it's a horrible thing. we have had children die in new york city because no teacher or administrator knew what to do when a child has an asthma attack. it's a huge problem. i need you to care about human health and really believe that
12:22 pm
the cost when human health is at risk, when people are dying is far higher than it is the cost of that polluter to clean up the air and change the process. i need you to feel as if your children sitting behind you are the ones an emergency. i need you to know it. >> senator i would say if either criteria pollutants, they cause that in to the factor because human health is the factor. >> let's talk about this. we previewed this in my office. we have a horrible problem in new york state with groundwater that is polluted. we have pfo a in our water. we have the largest site in the hudson river. when families who don't have money fish in the hudson river, they eat those fish, they get sick. the contaminants are real and destroying lives.
12:23 pm
they're also destroying the community. you can't sell your house or put in industries relying on tourism. it's a huge problem. so as an example of a chemical that needs to be tested, i need you to put it number one on your list to test it and if it is a carcinogen that many scientists say it is, it needs to be banned >> unite talked about this in your office, he needs to be addressed quickly even under the safe drinking water act as well. >> we you commit to doing that works. >> yes. >> thank you. >> i have a unanimous consent to request to submit for the record, this is the question raised by senator harris harris and mr. pruitt in his response to her question on whether he would ever filed a lawsuit against the corporate entity for violating state or federal pollution, apparently was not correct. i want to submit for the record a list of cases that have been active under his leadership and which ones were started by his predecessor.
12:24 pm
it shows that the case in which he mentioned as his exchange with senator harris, the egg case, that was actually initiated not by mr. pruitt but by his predecessor. >> without objection. >> i would like to submit to the record as well, having heard that some of my democratic colleagues have expressed my concern that he is not open to the finding of science as it relates to climate change, this is not so. i would like to call the committees attention to a a letter by the cornwell alliance which is signed by 130 scientists, economists, legal experts, and 200 other citizens urging his confirmation. the group includes david who is a phd in climatology and geography at the university of delaware. he praises him stating mr. pruitt has also demonstrated understanding of an open net unchecked mindedness toward scientific input toward environmental regulation.
12:25 pm
the founder and national spokesman calvin is quoted in the press release announcing the letter as saying the following, some environmental activists are determined to prevent his confirmation presenting him as a science denier or climate change denier. he is neither. he is a man who will bring much-needed reform to the epa. the letter will be submitted for the record. senator wicker. >> thank you. mr. chairman and mr. ranking member, i think it's been a good hearing so far. i think we have a lot of information that will be reassuring to the american people. one thing i do object to, it's happened for years since i've been a member of this committee and this is to list political contributions and suggest that somehow they make an individual 's aspect are not. my dear friend from rhode island
12:26 pm
showed a poster and some contributions and suggested that based on those contributions from companies like southern companies that his appropriateness for the job should be challenged. i'm glad that the chairman added to the record this article from the wall street journal that pointed out that hillary clinton raised significantly more money than donald trump from the oil and gas industry. they donated 149,002 mr. trump gop campaign compared with 525,000 to mrs. clinton. i'm glad you put this in the record and based on that
12:27 pm
argument, hillary clinton would be suspect were she to be nominated for the position of heading the epa. now mr. atty. general let's talk about states as partners. i enjoyed your exchange about the chesapeake bay program. as i understand you applaud the chesapeake bay program, in particular the way the epa works with states as partners. is that correct. >> i absolutely applaud the effort by the state to join together in a coalition to address the quality of the chesapeake bay water quality. that's what we did in arkansas with the river. it's already been talked about with senator boseman and others. i think the effort engaged in was something that other states should model and the epa came alongside.
12:28 pm
[inaudible] >> with regard to the clean power plan and the clean water acts, where did it go wrong in this respect. >> with respect to the clean power plan, the supreme court has actually said it was an unprecedented step that the supreme court took. never in history had they issued a stay against them. the clean power plan did not reflect the authority of congress given to the epa to regulate co2. as an example, there has to be significant findings. this poses risk to public health and welfare. those matters are about rule of law and the same is true about
12:29 pm
the role. >> i have not delved into this as an attorney but i can tell you that the department of environmental quality in my state told me very emphatically that the clean power plan would put us out of business because we would not have had an alternative to the coal that we use, and so i hope we can continue to make progress on this issue. let me ask you about wood products. the federal government buys a lot of lumber and uses a lot of wood in construction and procures a lot of wood. there are standards certifying that the forest are appropriate. one is the american tree farm system. another is the sustainable forestry initiative. epa seems to like a certification program called the fsc, the forest stewardship council. the problem is, with the
12:30 pm
certification program, it excludes 90% of the lumber grown in the united states of america. we have had a lot of activity on both sides of the aisle in challenging this, and i object also to a so-called interim recommendation made by epa in this regard. :
12:31 pm
as we discussed i am very concerned about the latter issue into making sure all options are considered, something the epa administrator should do, with respect to the interim step, there is a concern many have offered throughout the last several years that regulators in washington, using guidance, called formalmaking, congress obligated them to reform. all voices are heard and that is unfortunate when agencies do that because that beats the process. >> senator sanders. >> thank you, mister chairman. i apologize for being late but we were at a hearing with congressman price, the nominee
12:32 pm
for hhs. important nominating hearing that exactly the same time. i apologize for not being here earlier. my office has received a great deal of comments from people in the state of vermont which takes environmental protection very seriously as well as folks from all over the country and the fear is the nomination of mister pruitt is a nomination designed to protect the fossil fuel industry and not environment. i would like to ask mister pruitt a question. as i understand it, earlier in this hearing you said esther trump was wrong suggesting, stating over and over again that climate change was a, quote, hoax which is that the case? >> that is correct. >> let me ask you this. as you may know, 97% of scientists have written articles
12:33 pm
for peer-reviewed journals have concluded that climate change is real, it is caused by human activity and it is already causing devastating problems in our country and around the world. do you believe that climate change is caused by the emission, carbon emissions by human activity? >> as i indicated during my opening statement, climate is changing and human activity contributes to that in some manner. >> in some manner. 97% of scientists who wrote articles in peer-reviewed journals believe that human activity is the fundamental reason we are seeing climate change, you disagree with that ability to measure with precision the degree of activities is subject to more debate whether the climate is changing or human activity contributes to it.
12:34 pm
>> you are not certain the vast majority of scientists are telling us if we do not get our act together and transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, there is a real question as to the quality of the planet we are going to be leaving our children and grandchildren. so you are applying for a job as administrator for the epa to protect our environment, overwhelming majority of scientists say we have got to act boldly and you are telling me there needs to be more debate on this issue and we should not be acting boldly? >> as i indicated, the climate is changing. >> you haven't told me why you think the climate is changing. >> the job of administrators to carried out the statutes passed by this body. >> why is the climate changing? >> in response to the co2 issue the epa administrators
12:35 pm
constrained by statute. >> i am asking your personal opinion. >> my personal opinion is a material. >> really? you are going to be the head of the agency to protect the environment and your personal feelings about whether climate change is caused by human activity and carbon emissions is immaterial? >> i have acknowledged the human activity impact -- >> the scientific community doesn't tell us it impact, they say it is the cause of climate change, we have to transform our energy system. do you believe we have to transform our energy system to protect the planet for future generations? >> the epa has an important role in regulating the emission. >> you didn't answer my question. do you believe we have to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, the scientific community is telling us in order to make sure this planet is healthy for our children and grandchildren. >> i believe he administrator has an important role to reform and regulate co2.
12:36 pm
>> can you tell me, all of us know oklahoma has been subjected to a record-breaking number of earthquakes. scientists in oklahoma, scientists say oklahoma is almost certain to have more earthquakes with heightened risk of a large quake within a decade and the cause of this is fracking. can you point me, picking up on senator harris's discussion with you can you point me to any opinion you wrote, any enforcement actions you took against the companies that were ejecting waste fracking water. >> i am very concerned about the connection between activity in oklahoma -- >> therefore you must've taken action. tell me who you find for doing this. >> the corporation commission in oklahoma is vested with the jurisdiction and acted on that. >> you made public statements
12:37 pm
expressing a deep concern about this. >> we worked with -- >> you made public statements, a record-breaking number of earthquakes the of the attorney general. you have set up and said you will do everything you can to stop future earthquakes as a result of fracking. >> i have a lot of time concerned. >> acknowledged you are concerned. your status having record number -- if that is the kind of administrator for the epa, a record-breaking number of earth quakes, you acknowledge you are concerned, if that is the kind of epa had been a straighter you will be, you are not going to get my vote. change >> i ask at this point we reprint the wall street journal op-ed piece written by two outstanding scientists called the myth of the climate change 97%. >> without objection.
12:38 pm
>> i have a little time in my questioning, i want to talk about concerns about overregulation, the same concerns for the overregulation of us manufacturing over the last eight years, exported manufacturing jobs overseas, jobs that go with them in terms of manufacturing of those goods, places like china and india that produce those products in a less environmentally friendly way. do you agree with the notion this approach harms not just the environment but our own us economy? >> i believe the economic this advantage, all voices in the rulemaking process to these issues. >> i submit for the record an op-ed on cnn by jeb bush, scott pruitt is ready to turn around the epa, could not think of a person more suited to lead the environmental protection agency then attorney general scott pruitt. he has acknowledged human impact on the climate and supports
12:39 pm
robust discussion about its effects and with the government should or shouldn't do to address it and submitting a report i did as ranking member of the subcommittee on clean air and nuclear safety of this committee a couple years ago called red tape making americans sick, put this together as a physician where we talk about unemployment, long-term unemployment increases the likelihood of hospital visits, illnesses, premature deaths and communities due to joblessness, and, quote, scientists, the unemployment rate is a well-established risk factor for elevated illness and mortality rates and epidemiological studies since the 80s and additionally influence on mental disorders, suicide, alcohol abuse, spouse abuse, drug abuse, so regulations that come out of the epa cut into employment of hard-working americans and
12:40 pm
contributes to deterioration of comments, and unemployment. >> we have seen similar issues in oklahoma, prescription drug abuse occurs at rates that are unprecedented, similar concern we had. >> i appreciate your patience, your honesty, your forthright presentation. we will go to a second round. i have around 12:35, we will take an hour break and come back and resume a second round of questioning at 1:45. the committee is in recess. >> thank you, senator. [inaudible conversations]
12:41 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:42 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:43 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] or smack [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:44 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
12:45 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> as you heard the confirmation hearing for epa administrator in a break for an hour. we will resume live coverage on c-span2 when they come back. in the meantime we go live to new york to look at trump tower in midtown manhattan and earlier today, governor andrew cuomo

126 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on