WASHINGTON - Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., went to the Senate floor Tuesday to express his opposition to the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
"Mr. Pruitt's career is defined by repeated attempts to weaken or eliminate health-based environmental standards, worker protections, air quality standards for toxic air pollutants, and limits on carbon emissions to take on the challenge of climate change," Wyden said.
"These rollbacks would hurt everyone, but they would especially hurt children, low-income households, communities of color and elderly individuals.
"Americans need to trust that the EPA will be able to defend their communities from air pollution or from water contamination. The EPA plays a critical role in ensuring clean and safe water - whether that water is running through a mountain stream or through a pipe to a Portland kitchen," the senator said.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Pruitt's nomination Wednesday. A Senate floor vote has not yet been scheduled.
Wyden also on Tuesday pressed Rep. Ryan Zinke, the incoming administration’s nominee to be the next secretary of the Interior Department, on a number of Oregon priorities, including upholding current sage grouse plans, boosting the recreation economy, finding sustainable forestry policies and protecting and managing public lands.
“Oregonians have long held certain things dear: open access to public lands and recreation opportunities, clean air and clean water and I intend to keep pushing the incoming administration to ensure it hears us. When it comes to creating jobs while also protecting our natural treasures, I’ve long called for collaborative approaches as a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee,” Wyden said.
“I pressed Rep. Zinke on the need to keep working in a collaborative way to protect and properly manage our public lands, create jobs in rural communities, uphold the current federal sage grouse plans and find balanced, sustainable future forestry policies while protecting the environment.”
Wyden questioned Zinke at the hearing today and in written questions he submitted for more detailed answers. The committee has not yet scheduled a vote on Zinke’s nomination.