Energy

Former Dem AG Calls Trump’s EPA Pick A ‘Staunch Defender’ Of Sound Science

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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Chris White Tech Reporter

A former Democratic attorney general in Arkansas suggested that President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the EPA historically relies on sound science to protect the environment.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt “was a staunch defender of sound science and good policy as appropriate tools to protect the environment of his state,” Dustin McDaniel, who served as Arkansas attorney general from 2007 to 2015, wrote Wednesday in a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment.

Pruitt, who has sued the EPA more than 14 times during his time as attorney general, faced pointed questions during Wednesday’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He is poised to become Trump’s first EPA administrator.

McDaniel, a Democratic National Committee member and self-appointed climate change warrior, said Pruitt should be commended for keeping water pollution levels down in the Illinois River during his tenure (while avoiding litigation). The river’s phosphorus levels were higher from 2003 until 2013 due to pollutants from poultry producers in Arkansas.

The two attorneys general, according to the Arkansas Democrat, appointed scientists to establish proper water quality rules, and create a binding standard without relaxing phosphorus measures. He added that the media have repeatedly distorted Pruitt’s scientific bona-fides. Pruitt and McDaniel served as attorneys general in their respective states at approximately the same period of time.

He was referring to Democrats who have criticized Pruitt as a “climate denier” and anti-science.

Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, is on such outspoken opponent of Pruitt and believes the Oklahoma Republican could be a Trojan horse hell-bent on destroying the agency.

“Any individual charged with leading the EPA who wants to ignore science or look out for special interests at the expense of public health can expect a fight with me,” Carper said in December about Pruitt’s nomination process.

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