President-elect Donald Trump says he supports “clean, beautiful and healthy air.”
This raises the question whether he knows that his nominee for EPA Administrator, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has fought repeatedly against clean, beautiful and healthy air.
To assist in understanding Mr. Pruitt’s frequent, severe attacks on healthy air protections, here is a sampling of his opposition:
- Mr. Pruitt sued to overturn an EPA smog and soot rule projected to prevent as many as 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks and 400,000 asthma attacks, while avoiding 1.8 million lost work or sick days, every year beginning in 2014. The Supreme Court ruled against Pruitt 6-2 in 2014.
- This same EPA rule that Mr. Pruitt fought unsuccessfully has been projected to avoid 240,000 incidents of lower respiratory symptoms among children aged 7-14, 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis among children aged 8-12, and nearly 10,000 emergency room visits by youth under the age of 18 with asthma.
- The clean air rule that Mr. Pruitt wanted to overturn achieved these impressive health benefits by reducing 3,803,000 million tons of harmful sulfur dioxide emissions—a 53% reduction from the electric power sector; and 199,000 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions—a 10% reduction from the electric power sector.
- Mr. Pruitt sued to overturn a second EPA clean air rule projected to prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks each year. These annual health benefits result from technology and other changes made to comply with these standards—preventing 1.4 million tons of harmful sulfur dioxide emissions, 40,000 tons of hazardous acid gases, 52,000 tons of deadly soot pollution and 40,000 pounds of the neurotoxin, mercury, every year. The Supreme Court also left these safeguards in force and they are delivering significant health benefits today.
- These first two clean air rules are projected to save up to 2,444 lives annually in Mr. Trump’s home state of New York. Yearly state-by-state life savings appear here and here.
- Mr. Pruitt is currently suing to overturn a third EPA clean air rule that strengthened the national health standard for ground-level ozone or smog pollution. Mr. Pruitt wants to retreat to outdated pollution limits that independent medical and science advisors to the government deemed unsafe and unprotective. These health standards will prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks among children and avoid hundreds of thousands of missed school days. Mr. Pruitt’s legal brief directly incorporated arguments by industry lawyers attacking the medical science supporting safer clean air standards.
This is not the track record of someone supporting clean, beautiful and healthy air. This is not someone that deserves to be EPA Administrator. Senators should not confirm Scott Pruitt.
Related IssuesHuman HealthClimate ChangeEquity & Justice