Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Cantwell, Murray back push for vote of no confidence in Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA chief

A record number of United States Senators have signed on to a resolution expressing no confidence in Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s anti-environmental Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chieftain, according to the offices of Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington.

“Under Administrator Pruitt,” the resolution says, “the Agency is hemorrhaging staff and experts needed to protect the health, safety, and livelihood of millions of people in the United States, with more than seven hundred employees of the Agency having left or been forced out of the Agency during his tenure as Administrator.”

The resolution adds: “Pruitt has continually overridden the recommendations of scientists of the Agency in order to provide relief to industry, leaving in place the use of harmful chemicals, pesticides, and policies that are directly impacting the health and well-being of millions of people of the United States.”

With thirty-nine cosponsors, the Senators say this resolution has achieved the distinction of bearing the largest group of names in United States history formally supporting a resolution calling for a cabinet official’s resignation.

The resolution lays out many reasons why Pruitt must go, including:

  • The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office determined that the EPA violated federal law by purchasing a $43,000 phone booth for Pruitt’s office – and then hiding that purchase from Congress.
  • Pruitt entered into a sweetheart housing deal to rent a Capitol Hill condo from the wife of a lobbyist – paying just $50 a night, and only paying for the nights he slept there.
  • Pruitt has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for luxury travel perks, including booking lavish first class and charter flights to Europe and elsewhere, staying in luxury hotels, and traveling with a huge entourage of staff and security.
  • Pruitt has reportedly reassigned or demoted EPA staffers who questioned his spending habits – at the same time that the EPA Inspector General is investigating him for giving unusual pay raises to favored aides.
  • Pruitt has deployed EPA enforcement officers to provide round-the-clock security with questionable justification.

There has never been anyone less qualified to run the EPA than Scott Pruitt, which is why it’s so awful that he was put in charge of the agency, which has a vital role in protecting America’s air, water, and soil, not to mention the public health.

Forget about the old adage about the fox guarding the henhouse… this is worse. Much worse. Scott Pruitt is a saboteur who happens to have control of the organization he’s sabotaging. He is actively working to destroy one of the United States’ most important public services from the top down with the blessing of his boss, Donald Trump. But, like Tom Price, he’s so much of a jerk that he’s even reportedly managed to irritate Trump, which is somewhat remarkable.

Scott Pruitt needs to be gone from the EPA, and yesterday. We’re glad to see so many U.S. Senators stepping up to forcefully say that.