The confirmation of Scott Pruitt to be the next administrator of the EPA is worrisome for the State of Maine. The vote to confirm him was 52 – 46 in a party-line vote. Both Maine Senators voted in opposition to his confirmation. Collins in particular was subjected to intense lobbying by local groups because of her indecisiveness until just before the vote. In what should have been a “no-brainer” for Collins, she dragged out her decision announcement until just before the vote. Non-profits lobbying Collins here in Maine included the Sierra Club Maine Chapter and Environment Maine.
“This country needs an Environmental Protection Agency Administrator whose top priority is protecting our air and water and our families’ health. We need somebody willing to enforce and defend our bedrock environmental laws and a leader guided by science when creating and implementing policy.
“It’s clear that Scott Pruitt won’t protect Maine’s air, water or families and we are extremely disappointed that he will now be the next EPA administrator As attorney general, he put dirty energy interests and other polluters ahead of protecting public health, instead of taking steps to reduce pollution, he sued to stop the Agency he will now lead from enforcing critical clean air and water protections,” wrote Margie Alt, Environment America executive director, in a press release today.
“Scott Pruitt as administrator of the EPA likely means a full-scale assault on the protections that Americans have enjoyed for clean air, clean water and a healthy climate,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in an interview according to the Washington Post recently. “For environmental groups, it means we’re in for the fight of our lives for the next four years,” he added.
Maine has a proud heritage of protecting the environment. One of the state’s most famous environmentalists was the late Senator Edmund Muskie (D). Of Polish descent, he was one of the first Senators to serve with that as part of his political agenda. He was born in Rumford and graduated from Bates College. He died in 1996 at the age of 81.
Environmental issues in the late 1960s motivated President Richard Nixon to consider these issues more closely than had been done before. Eventually this led to the National Environmental Protection Agency that became the EPA.
Democrats had hoped to delay the vote until next week. That is when a judge, last night, ordered Pruitt to produce thousands of emails of his communications with the fossil fuel industry. This is a court order that he has denied to meet for more than two years.