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Scott Pruitt Confirmed as New EPA Administrator

Posted on 2/21/2017 by Roger Marks

In a 52-46 vote last week, the Senate confirmed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Pruitt stressed the importance of rule of law during his confirmation hearing, stating that fair, equitable enforcement of the laws enacted by Congress creates confidence in the regulated community. When businesses know what is expected of them, Pruitt argued, they can manage compliance without needless confusion or anxiety. As Pruitt put it, “Regulators are supposed to make things regular.”

“Regulators are supposed to make things regular.” Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator

In addition, Pruitt sees cooperative federalism as the core of EPA’s major programs like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and RCRA hazardous waste rules. A proponent of rule of law with respect to environmental rules, Pruitt says that US EPA must carry out its mission by working within the framework of the laws enacted by Congress.

Pruitt and Climate Change

Pruitt was also pressed on whether he, like the President of the US, believes that “climate change is a hoax.”  

“Let me say this to you,” Pruitt responded, “Science tells us that the climate is changing and that human activity in some manner impacts that change.”

Legal Battles with US EPA 

During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt faced repeated questions about his role in cases brought against US EPA during his six years as Oklahoma’s AG—in particular US EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) regulations. Pruitt rejected what he called a “false paradigm” that one cannot be both pro-energy and pro-environment. Pruitt argued that the cases brought against EPA are brought on the basis of EPA’s failure to conduct a satisfactory cost-benefit analysis as part of the creation of the new regulation. 

He also argued that while he did in fact bring legal cases on behalf of oil and gas industry in Oklahoma, he also has a record of enforcing environmental statutes against some of those same entities.

Asked if he would recuse himself from issues facing EPA that he himself argued against as Attorney General, Pruitt stated that he will defer to the judgement of EPA’s ethics counsel to determine whether recusal is necessary.

Soon we will have a clearer vision of how US EPA environmental compliance and enforcement programs will be run under Pruitt’s watch. To help you keep your site in compliance, Lion News will continue to report on significant developments on EPA’s air, water, and chemical programs. 

Convenient, Effective Online EHS Manager Training 

Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air Act and CERCLA to EPCRA, the Clean Water Act, TSCA, FIFRA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field or need an update on changing EPA rules, online training is a convenient way to build in-depth expertise. Check out the latest EPA compliance training options here: 
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The 2017 nationwide schedule for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop is now available. Collaborate with other managers to identify the requirements that apply to your facility, ask the right questions, and make the right decisions about EPA compliance. 

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