Obama EPA chief: Pruitt must uphold ‘law and science’

Source: By DEVIN HENRY, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The last Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator under President Obama on Friday warned her Republican successor against undoing the agency’s climate and environmental work.

In a statement after the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, Gina McCarthy said she is watching his “every action very closely to ensure the Trump Administration upholds science and the law, respects its dedicated public servants and builds on the agency’s long track record of protecting public health and the environment.”

She added, “Now is not the time to rollback the agency’s work or weaken our long held protections, it’s time to work hand-in-hand with states, local communities and tribes to protect the most vulnerable among us and create the jobs of the future.”McCarthy was one of Obama’s chief allies in his push to combat climate change in the closing years of his presidency.

While she was administrator, the EPA released several of its most sweeping environmental rules, from the Clean Power Plan limits on power plant pollution to methane restrictions at drilling sites and a rule expanding federal jurisdiction over water.

Republicans opposed most of those measures. During the campaign, President Trump often said he would undo much Obama’s climate work, and Pruitt is expected to help him do so.

Shortly after she left the EPA at the end of Obama’s term, McCarthy said she hadn’t met with Pruitt to discuss his plans for running the agency. The Senate confirmed Pruitt on a 52-46 vote on Friday. Only two Democrats supported his nomination, and one Republican opposed him.

“The need for clean air, water and land does not go out of style and is not limited to any one party,” McCarthy said in her statement. “My hope is when Mr. Pruitt heads to EPA, he fully understands the grave responsibility of the agency he now leads and upholds it remarkably important and timeless work.”