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John Walke @jwalkenrdc
, 70 tweets, 28 min read Read on Twitter
Heads up: I will be live-tweeting @EPAScottPruitt's appearance at this hearing by @EPWGOP & @EPWDem, starting now: epw.senate.gov/public/index.c…
's written Senate testimony begins w/ the same 3 wooden talking points he has used in public appearances starting w/ his Senate confirmation hearing >1 year ago--the last time he appeared in EPW Committee, & in innumerable speeches since. epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/…
's 3 primary goals: (1) refocus EPA on "core mission"; (2) restore power to state through "cooperative federalism"; & (3) improved process & adherence to Rule of Law.

In his 1st year, he flouted all of these principles. Let's examine.
(1) EPA's "core mission": @EPAScottPruitt has executed a rollback agenda that proposes the greatest increase in air pollution & water pollution of any EPA in an administration's 1st year.
Using EPA's own figures, @EPAScottPruitt's rollbacks would cause air pollution increases totaling well over 500,000 TONS of smog-forming air pollution, & over 300,000 TONS per year of sulfur dioxide (SO2) air pollution.
's proposed rollbacks would allow nearly 7,000 premature deaths that the clean air protections he is rolling back would have prevented.

No EPA in history has proposed to roll back life-saving protections of this magnitude.
has not proposed & has not adopted any clean air rules that would reduce air pollution by more than the status quo he inherited from the prior administration.
EPA catalogued significant regulatory air & water pollution actions from '17; all were DEREGULATORY w 1 water exception: publication of Obama EPA mercury effluent guidelines for dental offices--which they had tried obstructing, illegally, until @NRDC sued. There were no air rules
This unrelenting deregulation, with no improvements in air quality, water quality or public health is what @EPAScottPruitt means by refocusing EPA on its "core mission." It's a fraud.
says it's a top goal to "restore power to the states through cooperative federalism."

Pruitt supports states that want to roll back stronger safeguards--like approval of a dirtier Arkansas air pollution scheme yesterday.
But Pruitt's EPA is making noises about blocking California's ability & legal right to achieve greater reductions in air pollution that causes climate change, health hazards & environmental damage.
says his 3rd goal is to "lead the EPA through improved process & adhere strictly to the rule of law."

@SenatorCarper is slamming Pruitt on these falsehoods now, noting violation of ozone legal deadlines & purging of EPA website of climate change information.
is systematically shredding @EPAScottPruitt's stock talking points, false claims of achievements, mischaracterization of Obama EPA views 7 actions.

It's like this, but worse.
to @EPAScottPruitt: You are repeatedly misrepresenting the truth about President Obama's record. ... it is galling. ... Stop doing it! ... Please spare us the kind of platitudes you frequently use."
begins his oral testimony with... platitudes. The very same platitudes, stock talking points & mindless rhetoric that @SenatorCarper JUST appealed to Pruitt to avoid. It's astonishing; Pruitt simply can't deviate from wooden, written talking points. Excruciating.
Even @EPAScottPruitt realizes, awkwardly, he is repeating the platitudes @SenatorCarper just urged him to avoid, because every time he repeats one of the platitudes from his written testimony, he references Carper's opening statement, like a verbal, uncomfortable tic.
is asking @EPAScottPruitt about @EPA's refusal to exclude VIOLATIONS of clean air health standards in Wyoming, upholding stronger protections. Here it comes, folks, an engineered rollback between Barrasso & Pruitt. Wait for it.... wait for it....
, amusingly, bemusingly, doesn't take @SenJohnBarrasso's bait & answers a different question. Well then.
lighting in to @EPAScottPruitt's failure to protect Americans & downwind states from transported air pollution; Pruitt's permission to industries nationwide to increase arsenic, lead, other air toxins.
refuses to answer @SenatorCarper's question whether EPA analyzed the health impacts, including increased cancer risks, from EPA decision last week to allow increased toxic air pollution.

Incredible.
refuses to answer @SenatorCarper's question whether EPA analyzed how many industrial facilities could increase toxic air pollution, and by how much, under EPA's decision last week to allow increased toxic air pollution nationwide.

Incredible.
refuses to agree to @SenatorCarper's request to withdraw EPA's decision last week to allow increased toxic air pollution nationwide, until EPA has analyzed its health, cancer & pollution impacts.

Unconscionable.
Let's be clear: @EPAScottPruitt's refusal to answer these Qs & his non-responsive, incoherent answers to @SenatorCarper's sensible Qs, make clear EPA did NOT analyze the health, cancer, or toxic air pollution impacts of his reckless, illegal toxic rollback last week.

Immoral.
Reminder that EPA officials during the Bush EPA concluded the toxic air pollution rollback just adopted by the Trump EPA & @EPAScottPruitt WOULD increase toxic air pollution, & that health costs would be borne by local communities. Learn more here:
responding to Q about rollback of clean water rule: "We are not deregulating in the traditional sense. We are providing certainty."

This is (1) Orwellian; & (2) confirmation that for Pruitt, 'certainty' is synonymous w/ deregulation.
's "We are not deregulating in the traditional sense" has to be one of the greatest abuses of language & truth by a politician in recent memory.

So the Trump EPA is deregulating in the untraditional sense. Like boho deregulation? Maoist? Steve Buscemi? What?
asks Pruitt about 327 Superfund sites at risk from flooding due in part to climate change, notes Trump admin. official who testified (awkwardly, for Trump) 'we have to account for climate change.'
is asking @EPAScottPruitt about possibility of EPA lowering the minimum age requirement for children to handle pesticides, including cancer-causing chemicals. Booker references environmental justice executive order.
says, wanly, it's a proposal, offers no promises about protecting children from pesticides.

On environmental justice, Pruitt says something without saying anything.
congratulates @EPAScottPruitt for meeting with ordinary Americans.

Whut?? Pruitt has met OVERWHELMINGLY with industry representatives & politicians, going so far as to exclude ordinary Americans, reporters & potential critics from his events.
congratulates @EPAScottPruitt & the #EPABack2Basics agenda for helping Iowa's unemployment rate dip below 3%.

Where's the beef? I am unaware of a single shred of evidence to support that claim.
comes back to @EPAScottPruitt w/ a question he couldn't answer at his confirmation hearing, about the safe level of lead. Pruitt says zero & Duckworth happily agrees--until she points out that he doesn't plan to finalize the lead in drinking water rule until 2020.
refuses to agree to @SenDuckworth's request for a commitment to prioritize the lead in drinking water rule for finalization in 2018 rather than 2020. Duckworth says, archly, this doesn't sound much like a War on Lead.
refuses to agree to @SenDuckworth's request for a commitment to fully fund the EPA lead risk reduction program, after the Trump administration proposed to defund the program. He offered noncommittal platitudes instead.
Senator @JimInhofestarts his questioning, curiously by taking up the mantle of defender of African Americans, Hispanics and the poor.

Don't even know what to say about that.
engages on the EPA's flat-out lie that he 'stopped the practice of sue-and-settle' at EPA. This is one of his recurring lies: he & EPA have NEVER IDed ONE settlement that fits his own description of an improper settlement.

Not one.
Current, former @EPA attorneys even wrote @EPAScottPruitt demanding his retraction of the slanderous claim that EPA attorneys entered into improper, unethical settlements.

Pruitt refused & never responded to that letter. So he repeats the slanderous lie in Senate testimony.
asks @EPAScottPruitt about Pruitt's statement on an OK radio show that "I believe Donald Trump would be more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama and that's saying a lot."
continues with blistering questioning, reminding @EPAScottPruitt of his exchange with a radio host, who said the host's father said this about @realdonaldtrump: "He's dangerous."

@EPAScottPruitt replied: "You know, your dad is very astute."
did not manage a response or even any sound during the questioning by @SenWhitehouse.

The hearing room was deathly quiet, while Whitehouse calmly recounted one damning indictment after another by Pruitt of @realDonaldTrump before he was president.

Devastating.
returns to @EPAScottPruitt's reckless, illegal announcement last week to allow industrial polluters to increase emission of toxic air pollution. Markey leads Pruitt to agree that more arsenic, mercury, lead etc. is harmful, and Markey urges Pruitt to reconsider it.
addresses California's authority to regulate vehicle CO2 & smog emissions more effectively than federal law: "It's our hope that we can reach a resolution" with CA, but adds ominously, "Federalism doesn't mean that 1 state can dictate for the rest of the country."
realizes Trump EPA is vulnerable concerning its sweeping rollback of EPA limits on toxic air pollution, enters into record a letter from Republican CT agency supporting rollback. @SenatorCarper archly notes he will find out what Democratic CT governor thinks.
flatly mischaracterizes EPA's rollback of the toxic air pollution rollback by the Trump EPA, suggesting it's available to industries seeking only to reach better outcomes.

That is a lie. A bad lie. The EPA does prevent backsliding & fully allows increased toxins.
also flatly contradicts testimony to the Senate by the Trump EPA's own air head, Bill Wehrum, who signed the memo rolling back toxic air pollution. Wehrum admitted the approach allowed increased toxic air pollution.

Trump EPA is crosswise with itself.
points out that @EPAScottPruitt has taken 15 actions on air quality that weaken safeguards, and NONE that improve air quality. Merkley notes that neither @LungAssociation or @AmerAcadPeds supported ANY of the Trump EPA's rollbacks.
appears more restrained, even deflated, following the devastating line of questioning earlier by @SenWhitehouse. Pruitt plainly was not expecting those questions or prepared for them.
Amusingly, while @EPAScottPruitt is testifying, @EPA is madly tweeting feeble defense of his rollbacks that are facing withering criticism.
This one is telling: the Trump @EPA's 1st defense of the rollback of toxic air pollution limits is to DOUBLE DOWN on the rollback, calling those limits a "burden" for industry.
The Trump @EPA's 2nd defense of the rollback of toxic air pollution limits is the claim it "ensures stringent & effective controls on hazardous air pollutants." Unpack this: the rollback allows air toxins like lead, arsenic, asbestos to increase >10-20x.
The Trump EPA rollback of toxic air pollution limits grants hundreds of polluters nationwide AMNESTY from federal limits & controls, monitoring too, when toxins increase >10-20x. EPA calls this 'stringent & effective,' with sheer Orwellian falsehoods. See
In 2nd round of Qs, @SenWhitwehouse asks @EPAScottPruitt about a day he traveled to OK, when his schedule was redacted all day except lunch, & he was billed to talk at an industry political donor event. Pruitt backed out but his calendar remains blacked out to public & Congress.
vows to 'work with Congress' but very notably does not agree to show Americans or Congress what he did that day--at taxpayer expense--when he travelled to OK only to disclose a lunch he had.
returns to topic of @EPAScottPruitt travel, including 4 international trips that cost taxpayers $40,000. Duckworth notes it's not the job of @EPA to promote sale of natural gas in Oklahoma, unless--she notes archly--one is running for elected office in OK,
asks @EPAScottPruitt whether she should assume that, during his visit to Morocco or other African countries, he did not find them to be s---hole countries?

@SenJohnBarrasso cuts her off & says her time has expired.
asks @EPAScottPruitt about EPA's preposterous response (to a #FOIA request) that no documents or records exist concerning the work by EPA's 107-member Superfund Task Force. Pruitt seems to say he will deliver documents to her by Friday.

We shall see.
says "true environmentalism" means "using natural resources" & "stewardship" should be our aim.

No EPA Administrator has been this blunt describing his personal @EPA agenda as exploitation, not protection.
Harken back to this astonishing interview, @EPAScottPruitt disavows very name & mission of EPA he heads:

Garrett: And is the philosophy to protect the environment or protect business?
Pruitt: It's neither. I mean, our focus here should be on stewardship.
says flatly that public reports are untrue that the White House told @EPA not to pursue Pruitt's red team-blue team climate change reality TV farce.
asks @EPAScottPruitt for a commitment within 10 days whether @EPA can release a formaldehyde-leukemia-link report that EPA is working on. Pruitt agrees.
asks @EPAScottPruitt for a commitment to withdraw an Obama EPA proposal on in situ uranium recovery contamination of waterbodies. Pruitt commits to find out the status & get back to Barrasso.
Senator @JimInhofe objects to @SenatorCarper's request to have 5 minutes rather than 2 minutes for his final round of questioning of @EPAScottPruitt.

Carper appears taken aback by Inhofe's answer & objects strongly.
asks @EPAScottPruitt about proposed EPA rule carrying out new toxic chemicals law, TSCA, & reported delay in banning deadly chemicals like methylene chloride. Carper seeks commitment to ban within 30 days. Pruitt dissembles, says he will report back.
Republican @SenJohnBarrasso asks @EPAScottPruitt his goals/metrics for the next year, a plainly pre-engineered Q: Pruitt gives lengthy, dissembling answer without identifying even ONE goal/metric to improve Americans' health or environment, air quality, water quality, ANYTHING.
's answer so was devoid of any goal/metric concerning @EPA's mission that I actually re-listened to the video feed to confirm that he identified nothing. His response was like word confetti at a political parade on the process of process.
's empty answers, to a question from a REPUBLICAN Senator, about Pruitt's goals & metrics this year are so remarkable they deserve to be heard for yourself. Start at the 2:38:48 minute mark here: epw.senate.gov/public/index.c…
And @SenJohnBarrasso gavels this excruciating hearing to a close.

Top 4 moments that captured it: (1) @EPAScottPruitt's inability--or refusal--to ID a single goal/metric for EPA this year when asked by a Republican Senator; (cont.)
(2) @SenatorCarper leading @EPAScottPruitt to disclose by implication & refusal to answer that EPA has not analyzed the health, cancer, pollution magnitude or location impacts of rolling back limits on toxic air pollution for 100s to 1,000 of polluters nationwide;
(3) @SenJeffMerkley confronting @EPAScottPruitt with the Trump EPA's 15 deregulatory air pollution actions in its 1st year, & NO meaningful actions to improve air quality, & Pruitt having no response to that; and
(4) @SenWhitehouse unleashing a blistering line of questioning to @EPAScottPruitt that revealed comments by Pruitt agreeing that @realDonaldTrump is "dangerous" & would be "more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama." Complete with audio.

That's all, folks.
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