February 16, 2017

Wyden, Merkley Demand Scott Pruitt Recuse Himself from All Issues Related to Lawsuits He Brought Against the EPA to Overturn or Weaken Clean Air and Water Pollution Rules

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, along with 28 other senators today called on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt to recuse himself from participating in any matter related to litigation that he pursued against the EPA as Oklahoma Attorney General.

In a letter to Pruitt, the senators specifically called on Pruitt to recuse himself from decisions on how the EPA will defend itself against the lawsuits he brought for as long as those cases are active. They also pushed Pruitt to recuse himself from any actions the EPA may make as a result of court action on litigation from which he is recused, as well as recuse himself from directing the revision or elimination of any regulation regarding issues on which he has sued the EPA. During his testimony at his confirmation hearing and in follow-up questions for the record, Pruitt refused to recuse himself from any of these matters.

The American people must have the utmost confidence that members of the Trump administration are exclusively serving our national interests,” the senators wrote in the letter to Pruitt. “Until you agree to recuse yourself from all matters (including regulation) related to your litigation against the EPA for the duration of your time in office, they will lack that confidence.”

It is also impossible for you – or any action you may take as EPA Administrator – to be viewed as impartial if that action consists of the repeal or weakening of environmental protections through regulation that you originally sought to accomplish through litigation,” the senators also wrote.

Other senators signing the letter include Edward Markey, D-Mass., Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Al Franken, D-Minn., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Tom Udall , D-N.M., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Robert P. Casey, Jr, D-Penn., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Cory Booker, D-N.Y., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Margaret Wood Hassan, D-N.H., Kamala D. Harris, D-Calif., Gary C. Peters, D-Mich., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.

A copy of the senators’ letter can be found here.