Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced today that she will oppose the confirmation of Scott Pruitt to become Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Her full statement follows:
“After careful consideration, I have decided to oppose the confirmation of Scott Pruitt, the nominee for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I have met at length with Mr. Pruitt, who is an accomplished attorney with considerable knowledge about environmental laws. We discussed many important environmental issues about which I care deeply—from EPA’s enforcement of landmark environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, to climate change and the Clean Power Plan, to protections from harmful pollutants such as lead and mercury. I also have reviewed testimony from his confirmation hearing.
“In keeping with my past practice, regardless of which party is in the White House, I will vote for cloture on his nomination so that every Senator can have a clear, up or down vote on this important nomination of a member of the President’s Cabinet. But I will vote no on Mr. Pruitt’s confirmation.
“The fact is, Mr. Pruitt and I have fundamentally different views of the role and mission of the EPA. That does not mean that I agree with every regulatory action that EPA has taken. At times, the Agency has been difficult to work with and unresponsive to bipartisan congressional concerns. But the EPA plays a vital role in implementing and enforcing landmark laws that protect not only our environment but also public health.
“Specifically, I have significant concerns that Mr. Pruitt has actively opposed and sued EPA on numerous issues that are of great importance to the state of Maine, including mercury controls for coal-fired power plants and efforts to reduce cross-state air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. His actions leave me with considerable doubts about whether his vision for the EPA is consistent with the Agency's critical mission to protect human health and the environment.
“The state of Maine, located at the end of our nation’s “air pollution tailpipe,” is on the receiving end of pollution generated by coal-fired power plants in other states. Reducing harmful air pollutants is critical for public health, particularly for Maine which has among the highest rates of asthma in the country. Controls for mercury, one of the most persistent and dangerous pollutants, are especially important for children and pregnant women. Moreover, there is no doubt that the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change pose a significant threat to our state’s economy and our natural resources, from our working forests, fishing, and agricultural industries, to tourism and recreation.
“The opposition to the nominee expressed by Friends of Acadia is grounded in concerns about the importance of emissions reductions for lessening the impacts of climate change that affect this gem of a national park. The changes we are already seeing in the aquatic life in Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine, for example, are cause for alarm. The incidence of Lyme disease in northern Maine and high asthma rates throughout the State are also linked to environmental changes that threaten the health and well-being of too many Maine people.
“These are among the reasons why I have voted to uphold the EPA rule governing mercury and air toxics standards from coal-fired power plants and the cross-state air pollution rule, as well as the Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution from existing and new fossil fuel-fired power plants.
“I reject the false choice of pitting the environment against the economy because for much of the state of Maine, the economy and the environment are inextricably linked. A strong commitment to protecting the health of our nation’s environment is critical for protecting Maine’s natural beauty, the state’s economy, and the health of those of us fortunate enough to call Maine home.
“Due to my concerns about Mr. Pruitt's commitment to the mission of the EPA, I will cast my vote in opposition to his confirmation.”