On Jan. 18 of this year, Sen. Robert Casey announced that he will not support the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I want to thank Sen. Casey for advocating for the protection of our water, our air, our climate and ultimately our health.
Mr. Pruitt’s environmental record is clear: he is fundamentally opposed to the mission of the EPA, and instead promotes self-interest and corporate interests over the health of communities. Indeed, during his tenure as Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Mr. Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times, siding with pollution-producing industries and campaign donors over the collective good of the citizens of Oklahoma. Moreover, Mr. Pruitt consistently rejects and disregards scientific evidence as it suits his corporate agenda, fighting against policies intended to regulate the toxic mercury discharge released from coal-burning power plants, and routinely denying the anthropogenic nature of climate change. This is unsurprising, though, since Mr. Pruitt has deep ties to those companies that profit from the extraction and use of fossil fuels.
The mandate of the EPA is to “protect human health and the environment.” Scott Pruitt’s record of public service is in direct and fundamental opposition to this charge; his personal and political conflicts of interest, combined with his unwillingness to acknowledge the legitimacy of scientific data, ensure that he will act contrary to the promotion of human health and environmental stability. In short, he is unfit to serve as EPA administrator. As a scholar who has dedicated her life to the study of climate justice, and as a lifelong citizen of Pennsylvania, I am grateful for Sen. Casey’s efforts. I remain hopeful that Sen. Casey will continue to fight for the policies and institutions that protect environmental integrity and human health.
Sarah Kenehan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Philosophy